Wednesday, April 20, 2011

THE Wedding of Monaco

Yesterday was the annniversary of the wedding of HSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Miss Grace Kelly of Philadelphia, USA. With all the excitement over the upcoming princely wedding of Albert and Charlene it is obvious once again that the wedding of his parents set the standard by which all other Grimaldi unions have been judged -and it was a high bar indeed. I'm sure everyone by now knows the story. Grace Kelly had been having trouble finding a man who her family approved of and Prince Rainier had been having trouble finding someone he truly loved who was princess material. He made a pilgrimage to Lourdes to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for him that he find a good, Catholic wife. Not long after came Grace's now famous photo-shoot in Monaco. The two met and Rainier III was immediately smitten, which is hardly surprising, I'm sure every man who ever met Grace fell in love with her instantly. There was a whirlwind courtship, Rainier turned on the old Grimaldi charm and Grace was swept off her feet. Soon he was coming to the States to 'meet the folks' and make the 'deal'. Grace finally had her parents at a loss for words, here was a man even they could find no fault with. He was young, handsome, a good Catholic and -a prince for crying out loud! Some women look for a man with a good job or a nice car, Grace found one with his own country. The parents could not object.

A friend remembered Grace telling her that she had finally 'found her prince' only to later discover that for Grace, her "prince" actually was a prince. Their match and marriage put Monaco on the map. People all over the world and particularly in the United States, who had never heard of the tiny principality before suddenly became obsessed with all things Monegasque. Prince Rainier designed his own special uniform for the big day and Grace was given an early release from her MGM contract on the condition that the studio be given exclusive rights to film the princely wedding and release it to the public. It was an excellent short film, showing not just the wedding but Grace arriving in Monaco, exploring the Princely Palace that would be her new home and getting a taste of the centuries of history of the Grimaldi monarchy she was marrying in to. Prince Rainier had plenty of logistics to handle as his tiny country was literally swarmed with press and Grace had to have felt pulled in every direction from the wedding plans to relocating to Monaco to quickly learning French (or at least enough to get through the ceremony, to be refined and completed later). The Princess said later the actual wedding was rather difficult, so intense and crushing was the media glare. However, true to form, one would never have suspected it as everything was carried off flawlessly.

Not only did the wedding day and wedding ceremony set a standard for class and excellence but so did the marriage itself. Rainier and Grace were absolutely devoted to each other and would remain so for the rest of their lives. The Prince of Monaco could not have made a better choice. Princess Grace brought world attention to Monaco, made it the premier vacation spot for the Hollywood crowd among whom she had many friends but, with the help of Prince Rainier, Monaco also became known to the average person and was welcoming to a new wave of middle class visitors rather than remaining the exclusive retreat of the super-rich. Much of the artistic and charitable dates on Monegasque social calendar even today go back to what was first set up by Princess Grace. Recently, in the United States, a poll was taken as to the most beautiful princesses in the world. Kate Middleton made the list, as did (not surprisingly) Princess (later Queen) Rania of Jordan, Diana Princess of Wales, but still topping them all was our own Princess Grace of Monaco. Clearly, she set the standard in more ways than one.


  1. Did Grace speak French fluently in the following years?

  2. She did, probably not 'perfectly' but certainly fluently. The snobby ladies at court just made a bit of sport of her at first for her imperfect French but she worked hard to learn it very fast. At home, of course, she still spoke English as she wanted the children to grow up knowing it.

  3. Princess Grace will always be dreamlike, a fantasy that transcends eras, nationalities, personal tastes. Open a copy of Vogue, for example, and you read terms such as "ethereal like Grace Kelly" or "Grace Kellyish" in describing exquisitely beautiful women. Come Oscar season, clips of Grace Kelly in 1954 are always broadcast or featured. Her influence in beauty, fashion and pop culture is eternal.

    May the principality forever continue to pay tribute to the woman who has brought her adopted country such immense interest and attention.

  4. Another contribution of Grace's will be the fact that on the same survey, her granddaughter was named the 5th most beautiful royal. And for the men, her grandson Andrea was considered the 2nd most handsome, and her son Albert the 9th.

    Many may consider the importance of looks as insignificant or superficial, but it does pay to look beautiful if your pictures will be displayed in coins, portraits, memorabilia, etc all over your country. A sure way to stir up nationalistic fervor. Thank goodness for those Kelly DNA alright.


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