has spoken publicly about the health battle that has seen her "grounded" in South Africa for months, separated from husband Prince Albert II and their children.

Charlene, 43, says she misses her twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella "terribly" and that she "can't wait to get home".

The royal gave new details about the infection that led to two surgeries, saying she was now "feeling much stronger".

She also clarified how she became unwell in the first place, revealing she was "unknowingly" sick before visiting South Africa for the second time this year.

Charlene first travelled there in March to attend the funeral of King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation, who died in hospital where he was being treated for diabetes-related issues.

The King, 72, was the leader of South Africa's largest ethnic group and an influential traditional ruler.

Charlene described him as "a good friend" and said they shared many special moments over the years".

In May, Charlene returned to South Africa to take part in an for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

One of the aims of the foundation is to protect endangered rhinos, with Charlene joining conservation efforts along with trained professionals.

It was the late King who encouraged Charlene to help save the animals and focus on anti-poaching efforts in South Africa.

But she was sick at the time and was then forced to remain in South Africa for treatment.

Soon after arriving, Charlene started to experience complications relating to a sinus lift and bone graft procedure she'd undergone prior to travelling, in preparation for dental implants.

"I came to South Africa to oversee some foundation projects," she said in a podcast, recorded at the home she has been staying in since May.

"I was unwell at the time, unknowingly, and I had an infection which was addressed immediately.

"Unfortunately, it grounded me for some months here in South Africa.

"I had my one procedure which was very successful. I'm well, I'm feeling much stronger."

Charlene was unable to fly under doctors' orders as the surgery had prevented her from flying, due to her inner pressure being unable to "equalise".

The interview — which was done for a podcast and on her personal Instagram page — took place just before her final surgery on October 8.

It's hoped she will be able to return to Monaco by the end of this month.

"I've one more procedure and then I can't wait to get home to my children, who I miss terribly," Charlene continued.

"I think if there is any mum out there that has been separated from her children for months, [she] would feel the same way I feel."

In August, Prince Albert and the couple's six-year-old twins during her recovery.

Charlene was born in Zimbabwe but moved to South Africa with her parents when she was younger.

She hopes to return again soon to continue her work in protecting Africa's wildlife, in particular rhinos.

"I'm determined to come back to the KwaZulu-Natal region and continue the work I have set out to do, as I have done in many countries over Africa and in South Africa," she said.

"Conservation, preservation, restoration and education - that is what my foundation stands for — we save lives.

"Right now we have a species that is on the verge of extinction. I cannot sit back and let this happen."

Charlene's absence from Monaco has sparked a number of rumours suggesting her 10-year marriage to Prince Albert has been in trouble.

She was forced to miss their anniversary in July due to her illness and has not been seen in public in Monaco since January.

Gossip within the principality has been unfavourable, with some suggestions she had fled the tiny nation for her former home of South Africa.

Recently, talk was reignited when Prince Albert was photographed attending several official , who was in Monaco to receive an award for her own environmental work.

Prince Albert was forced to defend his wife's absence, telling in September Charlene "didn't go into exile".

"It was absolutely just a medical problem which had to be treated," he said.

"She didn't leave Monaco in a huff. She didn't leave because she was mad at me or at anybody else. She was going down to South Africa to reassess her Foundation's work down there and to take a little time off with her brother and some friends."

He said rumours about problems within their marriage "affects her, of course it affects me".

"Misreading events is always detrimental. We're an easy target, easily hit, because we're in the public eye a lot."

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