Charlene Lynette Wittstock was born on the 25th of January 1978 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe which is the former British colony of Rhodesia.
She is the daughter of Michael Kenneth Wittstock, a sales manager born in 1948, and Lynette Wittstock who is a is a retired swimming instructor born in 1957.
Charlene Wittstock has two brothers: Gareth born in 1980, a computer technician and Sean who was born in 1983 and working as a sales representative.
Charlene Wittstock moved to South Africa with her family in 1989 when she was 11 years old where she attended the Tom Newby primary school in Benoni and eventually she became an Olympic swimmer for South Africa.
Charlene Wittstock was part of the South African Women’s 4x100m medley swimming team which came 5th in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She also swims 200m breaststroke as well as 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke.
During her professional career, Charlene Wittstock has a achieved a number of swimming records in South Africa:
- 50m backstroke in 29:18 and 28 respectively in the long and short courses in 2002
- 100m backstroke in 1:00:16 minutes, short course at the 2001-2002 World Cup
- 200m backstroke in 2:08:72, short course in 2002
She left her team (the Seagulls) and joined the Tuks Swimming Club at the University of Pretoria. She did not enroll in any academic courses and consequently never graduated from the University. The swimming club sponsored her by providing free access to pools, coaching, accommodations and gymnasium access.
Charlene Wittstock left Pretoria in January 2005 and returned to Durban and joined a former Tuks Swimming coach, Brannislav Ivkovic. In 2007 Charlene Wittstock regained her title as South Africa’s 50m women’s backstroke champion completing the 50m backstroke final in just in 30:16 seconds at the Telkom SA National Aquatic Championship.
Wittstock has been quoted for saying that she want to get involved in charity work, and development work with athlete’s commissions and has recently commented that her swimming days are behind her so she can concentrate on her future role as Princess of Monaco.
Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert of Monaco
Charlene Wittstock first met Prince Albert II, the sovereign of Monaco, in 2000 while attending a swimming competition in Monaco. The couple has been seen together since 10 February 2006 during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.
They have been seen together at several events following the Olympics including the Monaco Grand Prix, “Bal de la Rose”, “Princess Grace Awards Gala” in 2009 and at the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling in Stockholm on 19 June 2010.
- Honorary President, Monte-Carlo Ladies Lunch (2009)
- Patroness, Born Free Foundation (2010)
- Patroness, Nelson Mandela Foundation (2010)
- Patroness, Special Olympics of Monaco and SA (2010)
- Charlene Wittstock participates in fund raising events for charities such as AmFAR
- Surfing is one of her favorite sports as well as hiking up mountains
- Reading biographies and ethnic poetry from South Africa
- Contemporary art