The Story of Grace Kelly, Who Spent Her Entire Life in a Golden Cage While Trying to Smile in Public
There is a legend that Charles-de-Gaulle contemplated invading Monaco, but changed his mind because he knew he wouldn’t be more popular than Grace Kelly. The amazing life of this successful actress, and later, princess, was like a fairytale and still moves people all around the world.
We at Bright Side decided to remember the story of this beautiful woman and we were surprised to find out that her life was very different from what magazine photos make it look like.
Grace grew up in a family that strictly enforced good manners. In her youth, her mother was a successful model and later, she became a famous athletic coach. Her father was in the construction business and was also an athlete — he was a triple Olympic champion, the first in the sport of rowing. Grace was quite different from the rest of her family. Unlike her 2 sisters and her brother, she was shy, a bit awkward, and chubby. So her very fit parents honestly thought she was an ugly duckling and that she’d never find a good husband. The had higher hopes for their other children. A friend of the family remembered Grace’s appearance like this, “Grace always had a bandana on, and had glasses and a sweater, nothing glamorous.”
When the future star failed her college entrance exams, her parents were convinced that they didn’t need to expect anything from her. But she said that she wanted to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and even though her father was against this decision at first, he came to terms with it later. Grace’s uncle helped her get into the Academy.
Destined to become a star
It is important to note that, at a certain moment, 18-year-old Grace turned into a beautiful girl, so when she went to New York, this tall blonde woman went to a modeling agency to become a photo model. Very soon afterward, agents from different magazines started stalking her and inviting her to photo shoots.
At the same time, Grace had auditions for many roles in different plays and she even managed to get a role on Broadway. After 2 years, at the age of 20, she was invited to star in a movie. Of course, famous directors quickly noticed the actress and invited her to be in their projects.
For her role in Mogambo, Grace was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. But she actually won her award one year later — for her role in The Country Girl.
Around this time, Grace Kelly was noticed by legendary director Alfred Hitchcock and she appeared in 3 of his projects, 2 of which, Rear Window and Dial M for Murder, are believed to be the best of his works.
Grace Kelly’s movie career was pretty short — it only lasted for 4 years, from 1952 to 1956. Despite this, the American Film Institute included the actress in the 13th spot on their list of the greatest film stars of all time, which includes 50 legends of Hollywood.
The fateful encounter that changed everything
Grace met Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, in Cannes during a movie festival. They had planned to do a photoshoot together, which, according to some people, the actress was trying to avoid because of her tight schedule.
It actually seemed that everything was against their meeting on that day. Both Grace and the Prince were in a traffic jam because of a worker’s strike. So, she was annoyed with the way she looked and he was in a bad mood. But when Rainier III saw her, he forgot about all of his troubles.
Afterward, they started writing letters to each other and 6 months later, the Prince came to the US seeking her parents’ blessing. He proposed to her right before Christmas and gave her a small ring that he eventually replaced with the famous one with a 10-carat diamond.
Of course, this high-level marriage was discussed by everyone and many people around the Prince wanted to make as much money as possible from the event. In the middle of the 20th century, Monaco was not as prestigious as it is today. At the time, it was a tiny country that didn’t have much money and that wasn’t very popular among tourists. One of the best friends of the Prince, billionaire Aristotle Socrates Onassis, told him that the best way to attract attention would be to get married to someone like Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly. Well, he predicted it: the marriage really promoted the reputation of Monaco for several decades. A huge number of tourists came to Monaco and billionaires started to buy property there.
It is not surprising that people started to spread rumors that the Prince married her just to get Monaco in the spotlight.
For Grace’s parents, this marriage was also a great idea, because it opened a path for them to the high society of New York. By the way, when they met the Prince, they thought he was from Morocco, not from Monaco. The future princess had to take a fertility test and an informal virginity test. She had no trouble with the former and they didn’t really care about the latter.
The wedding of Grace Kelly and Rainier III was rightfully called the event of the century. According to some estimations, this event that took a full week was more expensive than the wedding of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Tradition also called for two ceremonies: a Catholic wedding and a civil ceremony.
The bride docked the shore of Monaco on an amazing ship. As soon as she stepped on the pier and met the groom, a rain of red and white carnations fell on their heads. The wedding, according to some estimations, cost somewhere from $45–55 million, most of which was paid for by MGM, who worked with Grace, and who also had the rights to broadcast the wedding on TV.
Grace’s legendary wedding dress was decorated with pearls and vintage Brussels lace, and her ensemble even included a pearl-and-lace encrusted prayer book. But the bride didn’t really want all the attention she was getting. Grace once admitted that, while she enjoyed her craft as an actress, but didn’t like public appearances and became tired of all the attention from journalists.
Grace had to pay a big price for this marriage. From that moment on, she could only appear in one role — the wife of the ruler of Monaco. Kelly’s old film director Alfred Hitchcock felt pleased. He quipped that he was “very happy that Grace had found herself such a good part.”
Several years later, she tried to break this rule when Alfred Hitchcock offered her a part in his new film. And her husband didn’t even mind letting her go, but the people of Monaco were completely against it. So Grace didn’t pursue it. It was a real tragedy for her that she couldn’t return to the world of art.
After that, she pulled herself together and won the love of the inhabitants of Monaco. She became the person that started a new life in a new country.
The golden cage
Their marriage looked perfect. He was an amazing man. She was an Oscar-winning Hollywood star and a very attractive woman. But later, the public learned that the strong marriage of Grace and Rainier was nothing more than a perfect picture. It was really hard for Kelly because her new home was no paradise, instead, it was a golden cage. She couldn’t continue her career, and in Monaco, all of her films were prohibited. The princess decided to look for happiness by starting a family and she had 3 children: Caroline, Albert II, the current Prince of Monaco, and Stéphanie.
By the way, in the beginning, to hide her first pregnancy from the annoying photographers, she often carried an Hermès bag near her belly. Later, this bag became an important part of the look of Grace and Hermès named the bag “Kelly” after her.
It has been said that the actress really cherished her children, and apparently, she spoiled them. They didn’t really listen to their parents, which was a lot like Grace in her youth.
The life of Grace Kelly with her husband wasn’t perfect, either. Over time, it was clear that they were too different. Many people thought that Grace was a woman with a cold temper, but this image wasn’t created until later when she became part of the Royal family. Before, she was quite a hot-tempered girl. Alfred Hitchcock called her a “snow-covered volcano.” And Rainier III was a very calm person. He was often very bored at the events she organized and he made fun of her hobbies. And this image of the perfect wife was also difficult for Rainier.
There are rumors that during this time, she had a close friend — Austrian director Robert Dornhelm, who was 18 years younger than her. She allegedly wouldn’t be able to get a divorce if she wanted to because her children would be taken away from her. Near the end of her life, Grace also had an apartment in Paris, as well as a country home in Roc Agel.
On September 13th, 1982, Grace Kelly and her daughter Stéphanie were traveling by car. It is said that they were having an argument and Grace had a stroke. She was driving, so the car ran off the road. Stéphanie had a lot of injuries, including breaking her neck, but Grace died, even though the best doctors tried to save her.
Grace Kelly’s death was a huge blow for everyone. She was only 52 years old. Very soon afterward, there were rumors that the car crash was set up by someone, but there was never any proof.
The Princess was mourned by millions of people and celebrities from Europe and America came to the funeral. The Prince of Monaco never got remarried. After Grace’s death, he opened a rose garden in Monaco that any person could visit: Grace really loved flowers. At the moment, there is a statue of Grace surrounded by 4,000 roses. Rainier III died at the age of 81.
So the story of their love was the basis for several films because it still looked like a fairytale, even though it didn’t have a happy ending.
Do you think that this was a story about marrying for money or was it a beautiful story? Would you agree to sacrifice the thing you love doing, in order to get married and have a family?