Princess Charlene Celebrates 44th Birthday with Special Video amid Health Recovery

During Charlene's absence, the family speaks daily by phone and video calls

Princess Charlene of Monaco
Princess Charlene. Photo: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Happy 44th birthday, Princess Charlene.

As Monaco's reigning princess continues recovering her health after experiencing emotional and physical exhaustion, she shared a special birthday video created in her honor on Tuesday.

A video posted to the official Facebook accounts of Charlene's South Africa charitable foundation and the Palace of Monaco celebrates the royal's life story — from self-described "Benoni girl" (the Johannesburg suburb where she was raised) and Olympic swimmer to her royal wedding, motherhood and charity work.

The tribute also includes rare family photos of husband Prince Albert, royal twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, as well as personal friends, the late Nelson Mandela and the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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"We honour you for how much you always give of yourself to change people's lives around the world, your passion and dedication to saving and changing lives is truly an inspiration," a message accompanying the video reads. "We trust this video of your journey thus far reminds you just how loved and appreciated you are. "

The birthday wish didn't go unnoticed. The princess reposted the video on her own Instagram account, accompanied by the heart emoji.

Charlene typically shies away from public celebrations for her birthday. As Prince Albert told PEOPLE last year, "She doesn't like big celebrations." He described parties as "pretty much a family affair."

It has been a difficult year for Charlene, complicated by challenging health issues that caused a prolonged absence from her husband and two children.

After landing in South Africa in May for what was planned as a brief 10-day visit, complications from a previous ENT procedure grounded her. A series of painful corrective surgeries and a subsequent relapse postponed her return to Monaco until early November.

Upon her return, however, the princess exhibited signs of both emotional and physical exhaustion and in consultation with her doctors and family members, she decided to seek medical assistance.

Prince Albert II of Monaco, Prince Jacques of Monaco, Princess Gabriella of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco
Prince Albert, Princess Charlene and twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella. SC Pool - Corbis/Getty Images

For numerous reasons, it was determined a facility outside Monaco was preferential. Seeking treatment "elsewhere in Europe" was a solution that the princess already favored, Albert said.

Maintaining a request for privacy, the palace has since issued only one medical update, explaining her condition as "encouraging." The statement, however, cautioned "it may take a few more months before her health has reached a full recovery."

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During her absence, the family speaks daily by phone and video calls. At least one family visit was held over Christmas. Reports indicate Prince Albert has returned privately to visit Charlene on several occasions since the holidays.

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