Climate change on the agenda, South Africa in her heart
SHE MAY be a royal, but Princess Charlene is still a South African girl at heart – with rooibos tea and local skincare products on her shopping list.
Climate change and charity were high on the royal couple’s agenda when the princess jetted into Durban this week with Prince Albert of Monaco, who was due to address the COP17 climate conference.
Although they had been travelling for more than 12 hours and despite the Durban humidity, the couple looked relaxed and happy, posing for the media who thronged the entrance to The Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga on their arrival.
Currently setting international trends with her impeccable fashion sense and understated elegance, Princess Charlene was wearing muted grey teamed with a dusty-pink pashmina.
The princess, who recently attended Paris Fashion Week, takes advice from the likes of Karl Lagerfield and Giorgio Armani and frequently features in women’s magazines, from Vogue to Hello.
But she is also known for her down-to-earth attitude and love of sport – a passion which she shares with the prince.
Lunching with Durban friends on the veranda at the Oyster Box, there was ani- mated discussion over the rugby World Cup, while the princess mentioned she was hoping to get some shopping done, including a few boxes of rooibos tea to take home to the palace.
From Durban, the royal couple flew to Cape Town to attend the launch of the Polaris Climate Change Observatory on Thursday.
Prince Albert is the official patron of the Polaris Climate Change Observatory and the event was to introduce a hi-tech, futuristic building at the Waterfront which, when it starts operating in 2014, will act as a climate change observatory.
Things did not go smoothly for the media at the Waterfront, when journalists found themselves the victims of tight security.
Despite having been invited to the event, the media was held at bay behind a cordon, and barred from moving to interview guests – even before the royal couple’s arrival – by a burly security guard.
When some journalists, unable to hear the speeches from their position, moved forward, the security guard moved the cordon and placed it in front of them – once again separating them from guests.
The position of the cordon also meant journalists could not see the video presentation being made on screens around the outdoor venue.
Organisers said some of the screens, which had been posi- tioned to be in front of the crowd, had earlier in the day tumbled over the balcony in the fierce wind.
One security guard also threatened a photographer who had been taking pictures of the couple’s arrival.
Guests drank champagne and ate oysters before the couple’s arrival. While some of the snack platters were offered to the media, the oyster and champagne trays remained firmly on the other side of the cordon. A tray of soft drinks was eventually also sent over.
When the royal couple arrived, they posed wordlessly for photographs before being ushered to their seats.
Rumours have been circulating again this week that the princess is pregnant. However, if there is a baby bump, it was concealed beneath a sleek camel coat, buttoned up against the chilly wind.
A pale blue dress peeked out from beneath the coat. The prince wore a navy blazer and red tie.
In his short speech, Prince Albert said he had heard a “lot about climate change” at COP17 and hoped the observatory “would help people understand the workings of climate change”.
Earlier in the day, the couple met with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and handed him a cheque for R1 million for the Giving Organisation Trust, of which the princess is a patron.