Prince Albert of Monaco tells PEOPLE his wife, Princess Charlene, is "in good form and much better spirits" after surgical complications unexpectedly grounded her in South Africa since May

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Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco
Credit: PLS Pool/Getty Images

Princess Charlene will be back in Monaco "very shortly," according to her husband.

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE, Prince Albert says he anticipates doctors in South Africa will clear his wife to travel within days. Current plans, he says, call for her return in the coming weeks.

"She's in good form and much better spirits," he shares. "She will be here way before [Monaco's] National Day, November 19."

"Way before," he emphasizes.

The prince, 63, says he hopes his wife, 43, will be able to accompany him earlier on a planned November 13 trip to Dubai's World Expo, but he cautions, "we'll make that decision at the last minute."

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

Monaco's princess, who shares 6-year-old twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella with Albert, has been medically "grounded" in her homeland of South Africa since mid-May after experiencing a severe ENT (ear, nose and throat) infection that she said made her unable to equalize pressure and prevented her from flying above 20,000 feet.

"Obviously she misses the children," her husband tells PEOPLE of his and Charlene's private conversations. "And they miss her. We all miss her."

Her latest operation on October 8 was described by palace staffers as her "final surgery." According to her husband, the four-hour long procedure involved a sinus correction and "went well."

According to Albert, a sign-off from her medical team, expected in the next few days, is all that is required to allow her return to the palace home she shares with her husband and their children.

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

On Tuesday, Charlene shared an update of her own, revealing on Instagram that she was mourning the death of one of her beloved chihuahuas.

"My little Angel died last night, she was run over. I will miss you so much, Rest In Peace," she wrote, adding a broken heart emoji next to a photo in which she is giving the dog an affectionate kiss.

The princess's prolonged absence from Monaco led to numerous tabloid reports concerning the state of the royal couple's marriage. Both parties have consistently denounced these allegations as false.

Addressing these stories directly in August, Prince Albert told PEOPLE he was "appalled" by the rumors and that his wife was "ready to stow away on a ship to come back to Europe" if necessary.

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Hopes for an earlier return were delayed when the princess collapsed in early September after surgery and was briefly re-hospitalized. Just a day before that news broke, Albert told PEOPLE his wife was "eager" to return home.

She has subsequently recovered and earlier this month publicly repeated her intention to return to Monaco as soon as she is able.