Princess Charlene unable to return home to Monaco after South Africa trip due to infection

By Heather Cichowski

Princess Charlene is South Africa where she has been raising awareness about rhino poaching, and has been forced to extend her stay due to an infection.

The Monaco royal was due to be the guest of honour at this weekend's Monaco F1 Grand Prix, but she will now be unable to participate in the event.

The Palace of Monaco released a statement to share an update on Charlene's condition and extension of her stay in Africa. The mom of two has an ear, nose and throat infection, meaning she's not able to travel at the current time.

Princess Charlene attends the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco on May 26, 2019 in Monte-Carlo. Photo: © Marc Piasecki/WireImage

"During a trip to the African continent as part of a wildlife conservation mission, SAS Princess Charlene contracted an ENT infection that does not allow her to travel," the statement read.

"Unfortunately, she will not be able to attend the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. SAS The Princess Charlene sends her best wishes to the Automobile Club of Monaco, organizer of the event, as well as to the drivers and teams involved in this great automobile competition."

Prior to the announcement, Charlene had been sharing images of her conservation efforts on Instagram. She most recently posted a series of images taken by photographer Christian Sperka showing a rhino having its horn removed.

The rhino had its eyes and ears covered and the princess was seen standing next to it and watching the process. The Monaco royal shared two other moving images, including one of a rhino walking freely after its horn was removed and another of her hugging a rhino with its eyes covered. "Thank you for not forgetting about us," read the quote from Charlene in the image.

It is believed that de-horning does not hurt a rhino. The act is done to prevent poachers from killing rhinoceroses for their horns because the poachers typically kill the animal in the act. Other methods to deter poaching include painting the horn. The preventative measures have been started to curb poaching, which has seen a significant rise in the last decade, in the hope it will protect these majestic creatures.

Protecting rhinos in the African continent is a cause that's likely very personal to the 43-year-old because she was born in what is now modern Zimbabwe and her family later relocated to South Africa.

Prince William, Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan and Princess Eugenie have all been involved in anti-poaching efforts. The Duke of Sussex still holds his Rhino Conservation Botswana patronage because it is privately held.

PHOTOS: Monaco royal twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella join dad Prince Albert at the ABB FIA Formula E Monaco E-Prix

The Monaco royals typically attend at the races. The former Olympian was seen at the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco in 2019 and 2018. She has also stepped out to the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.

Earlier this month, Charlene and Prince Albert's six-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, joined their dad at the ABB FIA Formula E Monaco E-Prix on May 8. They hadn't been seen at an in-person royal engagement since Sainte Devote celebrations in January.

We wish Princess Charlene well in her recovery.

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