Princely fiancée Charlene Wittstock is back in her homeland of South Africa this week to compete in the Midmar Mile swimming race, which she is doing to benefit the Special Olympics. At The Holden Horse Hotel and Casino in Pietermaritzburg she presented a hefty check to the South Africa Special Olympics on Thursday. She has been able to meet with some members of her family on this trip home and the Princess-to-be could not avoid the press and took a few moments to answer the questions of a reporter. Charlene told Clyde Meela of the Benoni City Times (the town where Charlene grew up), “I am very happy about the wedding; Monaco is a beautiful country and I love everything about it,” and also mentioned the compatibility of herself and Albert II saying, “Some of the interests that the Prince and I share are sports, environmental and humanitarian causes.”
Charlene spoke of her love for Monaco and how she had, after these several years, become a part of life there but had to admit also that, “I miss my relatives, the friendly people and the Bunny Park,” but she is looking forward to making up for lost time with her friends in Durban. “I am really looking forward to a braai [barbeque], seeing my friends and, if possible, even going to a Sharks’ match.” However, perhaps showing how she has been coached on the priorities of a princess, she quickly steered the conversation back to the charity and matter at hand; the Midmar Mile, saying, “I am thrilled about the visit and while I have not had time for much training due to my commitments and I am not in Olympic condition, I am sure I will enjoy my first Midmar Mile,” and that, “It’s a fantastic, world-class event and, as I have been involved in the Special Olympics in Europe, I saw this as an opportunity to give back and raise funds for the Special Olympics in South Africa, while swimming the race at a social level.”
Of course, as reporters are coached to do, questions persisted on the subject of the wedding and Charlene was asked if she was living out a real-life fairytale (something often said of the marriage of the last Sovereign Prince). Taking a humble stance Charlene said, “If any woman can find someone who truly loves her and is lucky enough to marry him, then that is a fairytale to me,” which seemed to hit the right note. It is not expected that Charlene will be back to South Africa until after her marriage when she and her Prince will attend a meeting of the International Olympic Committee. If the local media are more interested in the wedding than the swimming race, we can perhaps be forgiving. The Midmar Mile is a regular tradition but Charlene will be the first South African to marry into Europe's oldest ruling family.