Shannen Findlay

Relationships

Inside the love story of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco

Over the years, it has become a captivating, thrilling and devastating romance that has cemented itself as a story for the ages: the love affair between Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco.

All across the globe, newspapers and magazines spun the story of a match made in  heaven: A stunning, sultry movie star with a playboy prince of a small European principality. 

The televised wedding is still a heavy contender for one of the most splendid and beautiful of all time and it reports said at the time of Duchess Kate creating her own breathtaking gown, she asked designers to use Grace’s iconic wedding dress as inspiration.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Princess Grace of Monaco (@princessgracetribute) on Oct 4, 2019 at 9:30am PDT

While it is a fairytale for the ages, it did not begin this way. 

Grace met her soon-to-be husband when she was 26 and recognised as Hollywood’s next big star, after starring in Country Girl (winning an Oscar for best actress in 1954), High Society and Alfred Hitchcock's classics Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief.

Not many people could have predicted the highly acclaimed actress who went on to star in To Catch a Thief in 1955, would be acting for only a very short time just as her career was skyrocketing into something unbelievably iconic. 

With a hardworking nature, pure beauty and an obvious talent that guaranteed a limitless number of characters, Kelly was in hot demand. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Princess Grace of Monaco (@princessgracetribute) on Sep 13, 2019 at 5:31pm PDT

However, it was while on set to film her second last film ever in the south of Paris, where she met the charming young Prince Rainier III. 

While the prince had become “besotted” by the young and gorgeous actress, Grace herself was polite but “stand-offish” as she was dating French actor and war hero Jean-Pierre Aumont. 

To say the attraction was one-sided would be an understatement, but the Prince became relentless in winning Kelly’s affection. 

Eventually she succumbed after countless letters and a number of wildly costly gifts. 

The royal had the opportunity to court the future princess of Monaco, and they quickly became engaged a short time later. 

In order for the marriage to work, Grace would have to give up her US citizenship and never return to her Hollywood career. 

It was not particularly fitting for an upstanding royal to have anything to do with Hollywood, so Kelly never filmed another movie again until the day she passed. 

The Monaco wedding was one of the most stunning weddings the world had ever seen and was commended for its visual beauty. 

The couple wed on April 18, 1956 and the nuptials were split in two parts: a civil ceremony with over 3,000 guests and an intimate religious ceremony for which Princess Grace wore her iconic gowns. 

The service dubbed the royal as a “princess bride” and as broadcast around the world, over 30 million people tuned in. 

Princess Grace’s dress had a high neckline, several petticoats, antique Brussels lace of hundreds upon hundreds of tiny pearls – all in all it took 30 seamstresses and six weeks to make the gown. 

While the marriage between the royal couple has not been perfect, the couple shared 26 years of marriage together and three children: Caroline, Albert and Stephanie. 

Biographer Wendy Leigh wrote that Prince Rainier had at least three mistresses within months of the wedding, and that Grace was allegedly "humiliated".

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Princess Grace of Monaco (@princessgracetribute) on Sep 6, 2019 at 12:59am PDT

Tragically, Grace's life ended at the age of 52, in September 1982 when she was involved in a horrific car accident. 

While mystery still surrounds what exactly happened, it is believed the royal lost control of the vehicle she was driving while her 17-year-old daughter Princess Stephanie was in the car with her. 

The New York Times reported at the time her car burst into flames and Princess Grace suffered multiple fractures, including a broken thighbone, collarbone and ribs. 

Kelly and Prince Rainier’s youngest daughter, Stephanie suffered a concussion and fractured vertebra.

The loss of their mother and and Rainier’s wife left a lasting impact on the family and Caroline was forced to step into her mother’s shoes. 

Rainier never remarried. 

Scroll through the gallery above to see Princess Grace’s life before and after marriage.