Timeless Elegant Beauty
Princess Grace of Monaco 1929-1982
By Mariett Ramm
Elegant, Stunning, Simple, Charismatic, Smart, Timeless, and Iconic.
No Monaco Special Edition is complete without a valuable commentary about the life of the legendary and immortal Beauty of Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco. Her warmth and generous spirit were treasured by those whose lives She touched. Still and all, Her memory remains vivid in the small Principality and well beyond.
Grace Patricia Kelly, the Philadelphia born motion picture actress, later Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, had stared alongside great Hollywood names, like Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Bing Cosby, Cary Grant and William Holden and had appeared in the most iconic classic series of Alfred Hitchcock films before retiring at the age of 26 to marry Prince Rainier III. Her “Hollywood Royalty” was taken to a new level.
Kelly met Prince Rainier III of Monaco at a photo shoot in 1955 when She was leading the American delegation to the Cannes Film Festival, and the two started a whirlwind romance. Grace and Rainier had found in each other a soul mate.
Kelly returned to the States, but She and the prince corresponded until later that year when Prince Rainier went to the U.S. on a diplomatic tour. After spending three days with Kelly and Her family, Prince Rainier proposed on the 5h January 1956 with a10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond platinum banded engagement ring. Kelly wore this ring throughout Her final film feature “High Society”. At one point causing co-star Bing Crosby to quip, “Some stone, did you mine it yourself?
Kelly met the criteria of a princess, with Her beauty, poise, culture, and sophisticated manners. Importantly to the royal family of Monaco, She was a Catholic. But there was something else. It’s been reported that Kelly and Her family were supposed to provide the prince with a dowry of $2 million for the marriage to proceed.
On April 4, 1956 Grace departed from Pier 84 in New York Harbour for her royal wedding in Monaco. On board were her bridesmaids, family, Her poodle Oliver and over eighty pieces of luggage. Thousands of fans sent the party off on their eight-day voyage, and in Monaco, more than 20,000 people lined the streets to greet her.
The wedding was slated for April 19, 1956, and due to the Napoleonic Code of Monaco and the Roman Catholic Church laws, the event had both a civil ceremony and a religious procedure. The wedding was estimated to have been watched by over 30 million viewers on live television and was described by biographer Robert Lacey as “the first modern event to generate media overkill.”
Her wedding dress, designed by MGM’s Academy Award-winning Helen Rose, was worked on for six weeks by three dozen seamstresses. Joe Allen Hong designed the bridesmaids’ gowns at Neiman Marcus. The 700 guests included several famous people, including Aristotle Onassis, Cary Grant, David Niven and his wife Hjördis, Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner, Aga Khan III, and Gloria Guinness.
Although after Kelly became Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco and stopped working as an actress, Her old friend Alfred Hitchcock never gave up on trying to get Kelly to star in another one of his films. Hitchcock, who made three films with Kelly including the pinnacle of Kelly’s career “To Catch a Thief” (1955), allegedly planned to use 1962’s Marnie as Kelly’s big comeback to the silver screen, and the princess agreed to take part. In March 1962, Monaco’s palace spokesman announced that Princess Grace would play the role and then give up acting altogether. In April, Kelly announced that She was withdrawing from the production, ostensibly due to scheduling difficulties.
Princess Grace was active in charitable organizations and daily life in Monaco. Her dedication, determination, and discipline soon earned Her the sincere affection of its people. She became president of the Monegasque Red Cross in 1958. Instrumental in founding The World Association of Friends of Children, (AMADE), She was a committed honorary president. Under Her leadership, The Princess Grace Foundation, Monaco was created in 1964 to encourage local artists and artisans. Now chaired by Her daughter HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover, it continues to support specific projects throughout Europe and has become an avid global sponsor of humanitarian issues, primarily those involving children’s needs. Other initiatives of Princess Grace like the Monaco Garden Club and International Arts Festival have added immeasurably to life in Monaco.
As Her children grew up, Grace fulfilled Her yearning to be involved in theatre again. Her narration of the Children of Theatre Street, a film about the Kirov Ballet School in Leningrad brought Her close to Her love of the ballet. She restored a theatre in Monte Carlo later named the Théâtre Princesse Grace. Beginning in 1976, She made successful stage tours in Europe and the US reading poetry, donating any proceeds to Her Princess Grace Foundation, Monaco.
One of the most beautiful and elegant women that ever lived
Princess Grace is arguably the most beautiful and elegant woman that ever lived. She had an exceptional taste in the more beautiful things in life, including wearing Yellow Gold 26MM Rolex Lady Date watches and her ladies Rolex President bracelet. When Princess Grace broke Her arm, Princess Grace used a Hermes scarf as a sling. She had an art studio at Roc Agel where she worked on her pressed flower art.
Hermès Named a Bag After Her
When Princess Grace was pregnant with Her first child, she shielded Her growing bump from the paparazzi with a handbag. The handbag immediately became extremely popular—who wouldn’t want the same accessory as a Hollywood celebrity and princess? It became known as the “Kelly bag.” It was officially renamed as such in 1977.
She Has Flowers Named in Her Honour
It is no wonder that with all Her grace and beauty, there have been several flowers named for Princess Grace. The Grace de Monaco rose is a gorgeous pink Hybrid Tea rose and can be seen, among many others, in the Princess Grace Rose Garden in Monaco’s Fontvieille district, which was cultivated in 1984 by Prince Renier III of Monaco, two years after the death of Kelly.
Princess Grace is commemorated in a statue by Dutch artist and sculptor, Kees Verkade in the garden, who is also the creator of the bronze statuette of Princess Grace of The Princess Grace Statue Award.
Princess Grace Challenge Cup
In 2003, the Henley Royal Regatta renamed the Women’s Quadruple Sculls the “Princess Grace Challenge Cup,” which is an annual Henley Royal Regatta on the River Thames at Henley-on-Thames in England. Grace’s father John B. Kelly Sr. was an Olympic rowing gold medal winner, and her brother John B. Kelly Jr. won the Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley in 1947 and 1949.
In 1981, Princess Grace was invited to present the prizes at the Royal Regatta.
The Princess Grace Challenge Cup was first presented in 2003 by The President of the Australian Olympic Committee John Coates. In 2004 Grace’s son Prince Albert of Monaco gave out the prizes at the Royal Regatta.
Princess Grace Family Home
In 2012, Kelly’s childhood home built by Her father, John B. Kelly Sr. in 1929, located at 3901 Henry Avenue in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, was made a Pennsylvania historical landmark, and a historical marker was placed on the site. Princess Grace lived in the home until 1950, and Prince Rainier III proposed to her there in 1955. The Kelly family sold the property in 1974. Prince Albert of Monaco purchased the property, speculating that the home would be used either as museum space or as offices for the Princess Grace Foundation.