Royals Prince Albert 'Appalled' at Princess Charlene Rumors: 'She Didn't Leave in a Huff, She Didn't Go into Exile' Prince Albert of Monaco tells PEOPLE about rumors of a rift in his marriage to Princess Charlene: "Of course it affects her, of course it affects me" By Peter Mikelbank and Lanford Beard Lanford Beard Lanford Beard has been with PEOPLE since 2015. In addition to serving as the Senior Digital TV Editor, she has edited for Lifestyle and News verticals across the site. Lanford previously worked at Entertainment Weekly, NBC News and Ralph Lauren, to name a few. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College and a Master's of Science degree from Columbia University's School of Journalism. People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 8, 2021 10:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Princess Charlene and Prince Albert. Photo: ERIC GAILLARD/POOL/AFP via Getty As Prince Albert awaits the return of his wife Princess Charlene to Monaco, His Serene Highness wants to set the record straight on rumors that have bubbled up in the midst of the Princess's extended stay in her native South Africa. "She didn't leave Monaco in a huff!" Albert, 63, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "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." He continues, "It was only supposed to be a weeklong, 10-day maximum stay, and [she is still there now] because she had this infection all these medical complications arose." Charlene, 43, traveled to South Africa in mid-May and soon began to experience complications related to a sinus lift and bone graft procedure she'd undergone prior to her arrival in preparation for dental implants. As result, she has since had several corrective procedures, including one in late June that caused her to miss her 10th wedding anniversary on July 1, and a four-hour long surgery on August 13. Albert emphasizes, "She didn't go into exile. It was absolutely just a medical problem which had to be treated." Princess Charlene on the 'Trying' Separation from Prince Albert and Children amid 'Painful' Surgery Recovery Christian Sperka But as his wife's time away from Monaco and their children — 6-year-old twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella — has gone on, it has sparked speculation about the state of the royals' marriage. Now Albert now sees he "probably should have addressed" the rumors sooner. "But I was concentrating on taking care of the kids," he tells PEOPLE. "And I thought it would just probably go [away]. You know if you try to answer everything that comes out then you're constantly [responding], you're wasting your time." He does acknowledge that the chatter has taken its toll: "Of course it affects her, Of course it affects me. Misreading events is always detrimental. ... We're an easy target, easily hit, because we're in the public eye a lot." HSH Princess Charlene/Instagram Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! Still, just weeks after a recent family reunion and in the immediate aftermath of a sudden visit to the hospital for Charlene on September 1, the royals are trying to remain positive and focus on the princess's recovery. "She's ready to come home," Albert previously told PEOPLE, even quipping, "She's jokingly said that she's ready to stow away on a ship to come back to Europe."