The princess "doesn't like big celebrations," Prince Albert shares

By Peter Mikelbank
January 22, 2021 03:22 PM
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Monaco Royal Family
| Credit: Eric Mathon/Palais princier

Princess Charlene of Monaco's upcoming birthday celebration on Monday can be best described as royally intimate.

The South African-raised royal will turn 43 with only a handful of well-wishers on hand.

"She doesn't like big celebrations," husband Prince Albert tells PEOPLE exclusively, revealing that this year's party "is going to be pretty much a family affair." 

Having his family be an example of social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions is important to Albert. The ongoing pandemic also changed the typical big birthday plans around the couple's twins' birthday last month. Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella turned 6 on Dec. 10.

"We can't have big gatherings because we're restricted even in private situations," Albert, 62, adds. "We can't be more than six."

Prince Albert, Prince Jacques, Princess Gabriella and Princess Charlene
| Credit: SC Pool - Corbis/Getty Images

The prince battled coronavirus last spring and recently shared the longterm effects he experienced.

"There were times during the day when it just hit, but not like the kind of drowsiness you feel after a heavy meal. It was really just an experience of physical fatigue, like the kind that comes on when you've done too much or when you're coming off an illness," he told PEOPLE in December. "This virus stays with you quite a while."

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco

There is one other notable change to Charlene's birthday this year. In the past, the prince, whose sister Princess Caroline celebrates her 64th birthday on Saturday, has said he's a "specialist in last-minute shopping." 

But things are different this year. "I already have Charlene's gift," he shares.

When asked what that gift might be, the royal proved he's good at keeping a birthday secret. "I cannot divulge that at this time," he says.

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Princess Charlene of Monaco
| Credit: SC Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty

Charlene recently spoke out in a rare interview about her jaw-dropping new haircut. The royal mom of two debuted a "half-hawk" hairstyle last month that has been met with some criticism.

"This haircut was my decision," she told French magazine, Point de Vue. "It seems that it has provoked all kinds of comments. But it turns out that I wanted it for a long time, the style pleases me. That's all."

She also added that once the shock wore off, Albert has grown to like it!