Prince Albert Dishes on Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella's Next Big Step into Royal Life

Prince Albert exclusively tells PEOPLE how he's slowly introducing Monaco's royal twins, who turn 7 on December 10, into public service — next up, a big global event in Glasgow!

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

When Prince Albert arrives in Scotland for the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference, he'll be joined by a pair of VIP guests: Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella!

Monaco's royal twins, who turn 7 on December 10, will "have their own agenda," Albert tells PEOPLE exclusively.

"They're on holiday [from school]," he shares. "I didn't want to leave them alone in Monaco. This way, they will be with me before [Princess] Charlene comes back."

Fresh off their first official state visit to Ireland, 'Jacqui and Bella' will "fringe" on their father's four-day trip to the environmental summit, with "visits to museums and little places of interest."

"I think there's a lot of value, a lot of positives" to their participation in the trip, he tells PEOPLE. "Obviously at that age, 6 or 7, you can't take them everywhere because they'll get bored if it's too official. You have to bring them in slowly into public appearances and different ceremonies. If it's a trip, that has an official side to it, but also [they'll need] a private side and things to discover they can find it fun and amusing."

Of course Albert, 63, will hit the ground running when he lands in the U.K. "I've a Foundation event with the University of Edinburgh to present a new project. It's right as we land, and I'll have to rush over, so I think maybe I'll leave them at the hotel ... to freshen up," he laughs.

The new official photo of LL. AAAA. Ss. Ss. Prince Albert II and Princess Charl lène with Their Children Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella will be available from Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Monaco Royal Family. Eric Mathon/Palais princier

Albert himself experienced this type of gradual immersion into royal responsibilities, as did his sisters, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie, thanks to the guidance of parents Princess Grace and Prince Rainier.

"Our parents took us on official trips early, but we didn't feel they were official trips," he recalls. "When we were young, they would go off and do some sort of serious thing. Then they would be with us in the off time. There was a lot of value to that."

"Jacques and Gabriella are still at the age when there's an awful lot of discovery, right and left, on these kinds of trips," he adds. "It's fabulous to have these kinds of memories with them."

While their involvement in an official portion of the conference isn't certain, he feels its meaning won't be lost on the twins.

Like fellow eco-conscious royal Prince William — who recently revealed his son Prince George has started to become "annoyed" by litterbugs — the Monaco royal shares his own anecdote of the moment he realized how his children were taking in the ways that humans can impact the environment.

"Last weekend we were away, and we were waiting for a ferry to take us back to the mainland," he says. "The boat was late, and we were walking along the waterfront. Gabriella saw a little piece of plastic floating and she asked, 'Daddy can I put it in the trash?'"

He notes, "I hadn't seen the plastic. I didn't push her."

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The twins had tagged along for World Clean Up Day last year, he tells PEOPLE. "We discuss environmental issues in general and I do kind of point things out to them as we go along."

So, he says, "They've a sense of what's going on. They've understood. When [something like that] happens, you realize they're on a good track."

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