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Charlene Heineken studied law at the University of Leiden. She married Michel de Carvalho, a financier involved in NM Rothschild and Citi businesses, graduate of Harvard University, former film actor (as Michel Ray), and former Olympic luger she met on a ski holiday in St. Moritz, Switzerland. They reside in London, England with their five children.
Upon the death of her father in 2002, she inherited a fortune worth approximately three billion pound sterling, which, by 2013 had grown to £7.3Bn, making her by far the wealthiest person with (shared) Dutch citizenship. She sits on the board of management of Heineken, and her husband is a member of the supervisory board.