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Reflecting on his own upbringing under the guidance of his parents, Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco, Albert recalls that they ‘took us on official trips early, but we didn’t feel they were official trips,’ adding: ‘they would go off and do some sort of serious thing. Then they would be with us in the off time.’

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Of his own children, who turn seven in December, the royal comments: ‘I think there’s a lot of value, a lot of positives… Obviously at that age, six or seven, you can’t take them everywhere because they’ll get bored if it’s too official. You have to bring them in slowly into public appearances and different ceremonies.’

So for this visit, while there’s ‘an official side to it,’ there’s also ‘a private side… to discover they can find it fun and amusing.’ He adds that they’re ‘still at the age when there’s an awful lot of discovery,’ and that it’s ‘fabulous to have these kinds of memories with them.’

As for the theme of the COP26 summit, Albert notes: ‘We discuss environmental issues in general and I do… point things out to them as we go along… They’ve a sense of what’s going on… they’re on a good track.’

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Princess Charlene has been grounded in her former home country of South Africa for a number of months, following complications from an ENT infection and recuperation from an operation, which has left her unable to fly home. She has been visited by her husband and children, however, during her protracted absence from Monaco. Albert most recently told PEOPLE! that he expected his wife home ‘way before National Day, 19 November… if not sooner’.

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