A statement from her foundation published on Friday read : 'Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco will be placed under general anaesthetics for her final procedure taking place today.

In the last few weeks, Prince Albert has hit back at rumours of marital woes insisting Charlene 'didn't leave in a huff' and remains in South Africa only because of 'medical complications' following a 'severe ear, nose and throat infection '.

The mounting speculation about the couple's marriage comes after Charlene shared professional photographs of her reunion with Prince Albert online, saying she was 'thrilled' to have her family back.

The latest revelations come days after it emerged Princess Charlene's return to Monaco had been further delayed due to further surgery in South Africa.

The royal, who is originally from Cape Town, has been in her native South Africa for at least six months since contracting a 'serious sinus infection' making her unable to travel and forcing her to miss key events, including her 10-year wedding anniversary and her children's first day of school.

Lawyer Erich Grimaldi, who is acting on behalf of the woman, said he hopes the judge will reject Albert's plea and he is waiting for the case to come back to court, which he believes will happen 'imminently '.

In a statement from his Paris office, Albert's lawyer Thierry Lacoste said 'the claims before the Italian courts are totally unfounded' and sovereign immunity was 'perfectly classic for a head of state as part of the defense package. '

The latest revelations come days after it emerged Princess Charlene's, 43, return to Monaco had been further delayed due to further surgery in South Africa

The 34-year-old claimant – who can not be named for legal reasons – says she had a passionate affair with Albert, leading to the birth of their daughter – whose name is also classified – on July 4, 2005.

Albert received a handwritten letter from the child, who is now 16, in September last year reading :' I don't understand why I grew up without a father, and now that I have found you, you don't want to see me. '

Last December, legal papers were also filed, as lawyers for the claimant called on Albert to undergo a DNA test – just as he did before finally being identified as the father of two illegitimate children born in the 1990s and early 2000s.

'charlene has had a terrible year, with one family crisis after another including albert going down with coronavirus, and now she's gearing herself up for this hell. '

However they have denied rumours of a rift and said Charlene's absence from the principality is due to her contracting the 'serious sinus infection' making her unable to travel and forcing her to miss key events, including her 10-year wedding anniversary

The princess, whose maiden name was Charlene Wittstock, was an Olympic swimmer for South Africa when she first met Albert at a Monaco aquatic competition in 2000.

They began dating soon afterwards, before Charlene married into the House of Grimaldi at a star-studded wedding in July 2011.

Their twins – daughter Gabriella and son Jacques – were born three years later and are seen as the family's official heirs.

By this time, Charlene had come to terms with Albert's hard fought legal battles with women who eventually won financial settlements over children they had with Albert – even though he originally denied their claims.

Princess Charlene and Prince Albert with their six-year-old twins (Image: GETTY)

In May 2005, just before he was enthroned as Prince of Monaco, Albert confirmed he was the biological father of Alexandre, whose mother was Nicole Coste, a former Air France flight attendant from Togo.

The Brazilian woman says she travelled around the world with the Prince in the 2000s.

Lawyer Grimaldi said he had filed papers with specific details of his client's love affair with Albert, including trips to Brazil, the USA, France and Russia.

The line of succession instead favours Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, six, and who frequently appear in their parents' social media posts.

It was reported last year that the case would go to court in Milan in February, however according to Town&Country , the prince's lawyers pleaded sovereign immunity and the case has been delayed

The former Olympian underwent a 'four-hour operation under general anaesthesia' in August- although it was not made clear whether this was linked to the sinus infection.

The royal told People that the speculation over the state of his relationship with the Olympic swimmer has 'affected' them both, but that he didn't address it early because he 'was concentrating on taking care of the kids '.

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

French magazine Madame Figaro stated the images 'failed to convince the Monegasques' amid reports Charlene is looking for a house in Johannesburg.

It comes amid reports that Prince Albert (pictured) 'applied for sovereign immunity' in his court battle to fight claims he fathered a third love child before marrying Charlene

how long will the fight against rhinoceros poaching remain the princess of monaco's top priority?

Historian Philippe Delorme said that 'lots of people got the impression it was an arranged marriage' between Charlene and Albert, adding : 'Albert chose a wife who resembled his mother, and Charlene clearly felt very ill at ease in this Grace Kelly role they wanted her to play '.

Sorry my Bella I tried my best to fix it,' referring to her daughter's choppy fringe.

However a body language expert told FEMAIL Charlene showed 'no emotional bond' towards her husband Prince Albert in the images.

Neither Albert's daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, now 28, nor his son, Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, 17, can claim the throne of Monaco, according to negotiated financial agreements

Judi James said that rather than being the loved-up reunion photo one would expect of a couple surrounded by split rumours, the royals' poses suggested 'no signs of connection between awkward-looking Albert and Charlene '.

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