“Charlene has embraced the Catholic religion and is inspired by it,” a Monaco observer tells PEOPLE. “She is devoted to it and impressive in her fidelity.”
Shortly before her July 2011 wedding, Charlene, 37, who was born and raised Protestant, converted to Roman Catholicism “of her own free will and choice” in April of that year. In part because it was a question of succession and Grimaldi tradition she said last summer, but more because she found strength in it.
“Catholicism is the state religion [in Monaco]. But for me, it represents much more. The values of this religion profoundly touch me and correspond perfectly to my spirit
“In January 2013, Prince Albert took me to the Vatican to present me to Pope Benedict XVI, just as Prince Rainier did with Grace Kelly and Pius XII,” she recalled, adding, “that experience was extremely intense and moving for me.”
…Indeed, after her children’s premature birth, her first authorized exit from the maternity ward at Princess Grace Hospital was to attend chapel mass. “I prayed, as always, for everyone,” she told Paris-Match afterwards, “but I especially thanked the Lord. I have such luck, a happy husband, two children in good shape.”
…Charlene often attends Mass discreetly with her husband (and recently with their children) at one of Monaco’s five Roman Catholic churches. She also openly confides special appreciation for the peace of the country’s Notre-Dame-Immaculate Cathedral, going there often privately to lay flowers for Prince Rainier, Albert’s late father.
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