Prince Albert Visits Ireland with Twins (in Matching Shamrock Masks!) as They Await Charlene's Return

Prince Albert tells PEOPLE that parenting is a "team effort" as their twins return to school

Prince Albert
Prince Albert, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques. Photo: Éric Mathon/Palais princier

Prince Albert of Monaco brought his twins along for one last summer trip before returning to school.

Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, both 6, joined their father on his visit to Dublin, Ireland. In a photo shared to the Prince's Palace of Monaco's social media pages, the royal siblings held hands during their outing to Trinity College on Friday. Prince Albert, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella also all wore matching face masks honoring their host country, featuring a shamrock.

The visit marks Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella's first official visit to a foreign country — a sentimental choice, given that Prince Albert's own first official trip as a boy took place 50 years ago when he accompanied his parents, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, to Ireland.

During the visit, Prince Albert viewed photos of his visit as a youngster with President Michael Higgins and his wife, Sabina Mary Higgins.

Prince Albert
Prince Albert with Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins and First Lady Sabina Mary Higgins. Éric Mathon/Palais princier

The visit to Ireland comes shortly after the trio traveled to South Africa, where Albert's wife Princess Charlene is recovering from a surgery that occurred during a visit to her home country. Prince Albert tells PEOPLE that he's looking forward to Princess Charlene's return, sharing that parenting is difficult without his wife.

"The kids are back to school on Monday," Albert, 63, tells PEOPLE. "I'm looking forward to Charlene being back. Looking forward to her being back because she's part of my life, part of our lives, part of life in Monaco. I'm also looking forward to her helping me with the children and with different things as she has in the past because it's a team effort. When one of the team members isn't there, it's a lot more difficult."

Plus, he quips, "They're already starting to beat me on an iPad, so I have to be careful."

Charlene, 43, has been "grounded" in South Africa since mid-May due to a series of medical procedures intended to correct a previous ENT surgery and combat the infection she developed after the procedure.

"She's ready to come home," Prince Albert told PEOPLE exclusively last week, noting that her return date to Monaco "depends on what her doctors say." If her progress continues, she could plan her travel for as soon as this month.

"She's jokingly said that she's ready to stowaway on a ship to come back to Europe," he added.

And though Charlene did have a sudden visit to the hospital last Wednesday night, the palace shared a statement with PEOPLE on Friday, affirming, "Her Highness is being closely followed by her medical team, who say her condition is reassuring."

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Albert tells PEOPLE that his wife's well-being has improved since her most recent four-hour long surgery on August 13. "She was in good spirits."

The family recent reunion, however, was not without its own unexpected (and adorable) hiccups. Perhaps inspired by her mother's adoption of a dramatically shorter hairstyle, Princess Gabriella was modeling a strikingly similar end-of-summer look.

"Gabriella decided to give herself a haircut!!!" explained Charlene. "Sorry my Bella I tried my best to fix it."

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