Charlene Wittstock: the 'blonde lady' at King Zwelithini's memorial everyone wants to know about
The blonde in the crowd at late King Zwelithini's memorial had some social media users doing a double take.
The king's memorial took place at KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, on Thursday, after his burial in the early hours of that morning.
The 72-year-old, who suffered from diabetes, succumbed to Covid-19-related complications in hospital last Friday.
While many watched the memorial in his honour, the mystery of the “blonde lady” drew attention among social media users, who questioned who she was and why she was there.
Guys who is the white lady at isilo King Zwelithini's Memorial?— •BHUT'•LEGZ (@Captain_Zee) March 18, 2021
She is, of course, Princess Charlene Wittstock of Monaco.
The 43-year-old is a former Olympic swimmer who represented SA at the 2000 Games in Sydney. Her husband, Albert II, is the reigning Prince of Monaco. She was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and her family relocated to SA in 1989.
Princess Charlene described the king as her friend, saying they “shared many special moments over the years”.
“King Goodwill Zwelithini was an honourable man with a pure heart. We shared many special moments over the years, which I will forever hold dear to me. I will miss my friend and pray that the Zulu royal family finds solace and comfort during this time.”
Last week, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SA paid tribute to the King.
HSH Princess Charlene and HSH Prince Albert of Monaco are saddened to hear of the passing of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Beyond the collaboration with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, King Zwelithini was a close personal friend of Princess Charlene. pic.twitter.com/ZHhkRl1Z67— Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SAfrica (@PCMFSouthAfrica) March 12, 2021
Joining the nation in mourning the loss of His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini as he is laid to rest today, Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco flew in to attend the funeral. The Foundation wishes to convey our condolences to King Goodwill's family and friends. pic.twitter.com/mfO7wbRpyC— Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation SAfrica (@PCMFSouthAfrica) March 18, 2021
Those who knew who the princess was, applauded her for her presence and her “kind gesture”.
Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions.
What a sincere gesture for Princess Charlene of Monaco to attend the King's memorial service.— Sia (@lesiamolibeli) March 18, 2021
Princess Charlene of Monaco returned home to pay her last respect...ma2000 don't know her. The oldies know her as Charlene Wittstock, the South African olympic swimmer! 😍— Glamology ZA 🇿🇦 (@Glamology_ZA) March 18, 2021
Princess Charlene of Monaco seems to have been very well acquainted with the Zulu customs. Elegant and respectful. She was raised in South Africa after her family relocated from Zimbabwe. She is a former Olympic swimmer. Married to the Prince Albert II of Monaco. Samthandi❤️ pic.twitter.com/4ajZolkCzh— MaSobode (@Lwazikubeka) March 18, 2021