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Monaco princess to have surgery in South Africa

Princess Charlene of Monaco will undergo an operation in her home country of South Africa, officials said on Friday, as speculation grows over her absence from the principality and the state of her marriage.

“Princess Charlene will undergo Friday a four-hour operation under general anaesthesia,” said a statement from the office of her husband Prince Albert II, without giving further details of the procedure.

Albert and their children will join her there during her recovery, the statement added.

In recent weeks, lifestyle magazines across Europe have speculated feverishly that the royal couple could be headed for divorce.

Charlene has been in South Africa for months, with media reports suggesting she is looking for a house there.

The former South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock married Albert in 2011. Their son Jacques is now next in line to head the 700-year-old House of Grimaldi.

Albert is the son of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly, an American film star who died in a car accident in 1982.