When it comes to being portrayed in the European press, Princess Charlene of Monaco may have been getting a raw deal.
Often pictured as the dutiful wife who silently struggles behind the scenes while her husband Prince Albert fights off rumours of affairs and paternity lawsuits, she’s often in the firing line when it comes to her loyalty towards her adopted country and marriage.
Her resolve has been tested even more in recent months after finding herself stranded in South Africa while her family deals with the distance, especially her twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.
But according to a palace source, the time spent apart from her family has given her some introspective.
A close friend of the couple told PEOPLE magazine that Charlene, 43, had been a driving force behind Albert developing a closer, more engaged relationship with his 29-year-old daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi and son Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, 18.
Both Jazmin Grace and Alexandre are his children from previous relationships before embarking on a relationship with the Zimbabwean-born Olympic swimmer.
"Charlene was really the one that was trying to pull the whole family together,“ the friend told the publication, contrary to rumours of her not being supportive of her husband’s relationship with his other children.
While speaking to PEOPLE, Albert confirmed that the bond between his wife and his older children has "evolved with time. She is more acceptant now."
Prince Albert also addressed rumours of the couple’s impending divorce.
"She didn't leave Monaco in a huff!
"She didn't leave because she was mad at me or at anybody else. She was going down to South Africa to reassess her foundation's work down there and to take a little time off with her brother and some friends."