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American actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco in a spectacular ceremony on April 18, 1956.
Kelly, the daughter of a former model and a wealthy industrialist, began acting as a child. After high school, she attended the American Academy for Dramatic Arts in New York. While she auditioned for Broadway plays, she supported herself by modeling and appearing in TV commercials. In 1949, Kelly debuted on Broadway in The Father by August Strindberg. Two years later, she landed her first Hollywood bit part, in Fourteen Hours. Her big break came in 1952, when she starred as Gary Cooper’s wife in High Noon. Her performance in The Country Girl, as the long-suffering wife of an alcoholic songwriter played by Bing Crosby, won her an Oscar in 1954. The same year, she played opposite Jimmy Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.
While filming another Hitchcock movie, To Catch a Thief (1955), in the French Riviera, Kelly met Prince Rainier of Monaco. It wasn’t love at first sight for Kelly, but the prince initiated a long correspondence, which led to their marriage in 1956. Afterward, she became Princess Grace of Monaco and retired from acting. She had three children and occasionally narrated documentaries. Kelly died tragically at the age of 52 when her car plunged off a mountain road by the Cote D’Azur in September 1982.
Wedding of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and Grace Kelly
The wedding of Prince Rainier, Prince of Monaco, and Grace Kelly took place on 18 and 19 April 1956 at the Prince's Palace of Monaco and the Saint Nicholas Cathedral. The groom, Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, was the Sovereign Prince of the Principality of Monaco. The bride, Grace Kelly, was an American film star.
The wedding was watched by over 30 million viewers on live television, broadcast by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. The marriage was met with mass attention from the public, described as the "wedding of the century" and the "world's most anticipated wedding" by the media, as well as "the first modern event to generate media overkill" by biographer Robert Lacey.
Grace Kelly's death left husband Prince Rainier forever heartbroken, says Prince Albert
When Princess Grace Kelly suffered a fatal car crash on Sept. 13, 1982, no one was more affected than her husband and three children.
“It was a shocking moment, you’re not quite sure what to think, and of course, you think that things are going to improve and it’s not as bad an accident as you thought it was,” recalled her son Prince Albert II of Monaco to Graham Bensinger Tuesday. “And so those few hours there were very tense and very emotional.”
The Hollywood actress, who became a royal when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956, suffered a stroke while driving back to Monaco from the family’s country home with her 17-year-old daughter Stephanie. Consequently, she lost control of the car and drove off a steep mountainside.
The New York Times reported at the time her car burst into flames and Kelly suffered multiple fractures, including a broken thighbone, collarbone and ribs. Stephanie suffered a concussion and fractured vertebra.
When paramedics arrived, the 52-year-old was in critical condition. However, she would later die at the hospital.
Albert was having breakfast when his father told him about the deadly accident.
“Basically, he said that we had to go down to the hospital because mom and Stephanie had an accident,” he recalled. “And so, I didn’t think twice about it and went down with him and [my sister] Caroline as well… It wasn’t until later that evening that it became apparent that the outcome was not going to be a good one.”
Albert said his father suffered a broken heart for the rest of his life.
“He was deeply affected and he wasn’t quite the same man as he was before the accident,” he explained.
Stephanie, who survived the crash, remained haunted by that fateful day she lost her mother.
“It took a very long time for her to recover from this, and it was a very painful recollection for her,” said Albert. “It took a number of years for her to come to terms with that — the pain of being in that car with our mother and not being able to pull her out or to have a different outcome. It was a traumatic experience and would be for everybody.”
Albert added he relied on his family for support to cope with his own grief.
“It always takes a while, you recover thanks to your other family members and to your friends and to people who are dear to you who can provide comfort. It also takes a few years to really come to terms with it,” he admitted.
Prince Rainier died in 2005 at age 81.
But Albert insisted Kelly’s legacy lives in. While many fans still remember her many collaborations with filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, Albert said her spirit thrives in her adopted home of Monaco.
“She was a great ambassador for Monaco,” he said. “It was her personality and generosity of heart and spirit that charmed people and made them want to come and visit and engage with Monaco.”
Grace Kelly marriage: Did Grace Kelly really love Prince Rainier? 'Free agent'Link copied
Grace Kelly 'transformed' Monaco's image says expert
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Grace Kelly had a hugely successful career at the time of her marriage. She was one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood and had won an Oscar for her work. When she married Rainier III, she was forced to give all of that up to pursue a life of public service in the Royal Family.
Did Grace Kelly really love Prince Rainier?
While no one can know the truth of Grace&rsquos feelings for her husband except the actress herself, there were some clues about the marriage having some difficulties.
Before leaving home for her wedding in Monaco, Grace said at a press conference: &ldquoI think just taking the step of marriage is enough to give a girl a bit of a twinge and certainly leaving home to do it, well, it&rsquos a very moving thing.
&ldquoI don&rsquot know how to explain it. Comme ci, comme ça.&rdquo
The French term she used here means &lsquoso so,&rsquo which could explain how Grace was feeling about the event to follow.
Grace Kelly - did she really love Prince Rainier? (Image: Getty)
Grace Kelly and Rainier III on their engagement (Image: Getty)
On April 18 and 19, 1956, she married Prince Rainier in what was called the &lsquowedding of the century.&rsquo
Her son, Prince Albert, told People magazine how the actress was said to have felt about the epic two-day nuptials.
He said: &ldquoMom said it was &lsquooverwhelming,&rsquo &mdash that &lsquoexcited&rsquo or the word &lsquooverjoyed&rsquo wasn&rsquot strong enough to express her feelings. My father said so too.&rdquo
&ldquoIt was such an incredible affair and it&rsquos left such a mark on people.
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier at their wedding (Image: Getty)
&ldquoWhat it has meant for people has been incredible. For us&hellip it was our parents getting married.
&ldquoBut what it&rsquos meant for Monaco, for people around the world, and, how their story continues to fascinate people, that&rsquos something unimaginable.&rdquo
The pressure on Rainier III to &lsquosave Monaco&rsquo was huge, so much so it was reportedly suggested he wed a Hollywood actress in order to help turn the fortunes of the country around.
Marilyn Monroe was the first suggestion, according to author Liz Smith, who said of this: &ldquoEverybody was highly amused by the idea.
Grace Kelly was Hollywood's highest-paid actress (Image: Getty)
"For about a week, Marilyn fiddled with the offer, though she laughed and continued to refer to her possible husband as &lsquoPrince Reindeer!&rsquo&rdquo
This could suggest the marriage was one of convenience, and its aim was to help Monaco rather than for love.
Financial expert Gemma Godfrey, who contributed to a documentary about Grace Kelly&rsquos fortune, has spoken out on this, and the pressure the couple were under.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she said: &ldquoThere were other things at play there in terms of trying to help rebuild the finances of Monaco.
&ldquoHe maintained certain freedoms and she just wasn't necessarily so happy towards the end, which is a shame.&rdquo
However, Gemma has given a different idea on how the pair came together, which is based on Grace&rsquos own free will.
She continued: &ldquoIt's interesting because, from her [Grace&rsquos] perspective, she was a free agent.
&ldquoShe did choose to enter into this relationship, so there must have been love there. There must have been the foundations of a relationship&hellip
&ldquoAt that point, she was the highest-paid actress at the time so she had suitors.
&ldquoShe didn't choose them. But it didn't turn out, I guess, as they'd hoped.&rdquo
Grace Kelly's father exploded at Rainier before wedding: 'No one charges my daughter!'Link copied
Grace Kelly: Father 'furious' with Rainier demand says expert
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Grace's on screen dreams appeared to turn to reality when she married her very own Prince in 1956. Rainier III was the ruling Prince of Monaco, a luxurious coastal principality in the south of France. Her marriage provided a gateway to an enviable lifestyle.
However, it marked the end to her successful and lucrative acting career.
While Grace was privy to state coffers, a new Channel 5 documentary 'Grace Kelly: The Missing Millions' suggests it also marked the beginning of her financial turmoil.
Forensic accountant Gemma Godfrey dived into the star's finances and retraced her wealth before and after marrying Rainier.
Snippets of concerns about Grace's wealth in the hands of the Prince surfaced before Ms Godfrey carried out her investigation.
Grace Kelly: The star's father is said to have been furious with Rainier's request for a dowry (Image: GETTY)
Prince Rainier: The pair on their wedding day in Monaco, 1956 (Image: GETTY)
During the broadcaster's 2020 documentary, 'Grace of Monaco: Hollywood princess', royal commentators suggested that Grace's father, John Kelly, was furious on finding out that Rainier wanted a dowry ahead of their wedding.
Speaking during the programme, Sarah Gristwood, a royal historian, said: "Grace Kelly was expected to bring to the marriage not only her high profile glamour, but also quite a large cash dowry: $2million (£1.4m)."
In royal circles dowries are often a traditional part of a wedding.
In Grace's case they are said to have boosted the cash-strapped coffers of Monaco, in the process wiping out her personal savings as well as a future inheritance.
Royal engagement: Grace's mother, Margaret, inspecting her daughter's ring ahead of their wedding (Image: GETTY)
Wesley Kerr, a royal commentator, revealed how this enraged John.
He said: "When it was first put to Grace's father, he said, 'My daughter Grace doesn't have to pay anyone to marry her!'"
Talking about Rainier and John's meeting in the US, Leslie Carroll, a royal author, said: "When Rainier came to visit him, he was like, 'Hey, I'm the King of Philadelphia. You're in my kingdom now Mr.'"
Grace was determined despite her father's reservations, with claims suggesting she may have parted with some of the cash herself.
Wesley Kerr: The royal commentator recalled the tense encounter (Image: Channel 5)
High Society: Grace on the set of her last film with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra (Image: GETTY)
Ms Carroll, said: "Grace had to show up with not only her glamour and cache as on Oscar wining actress, not only with her Catholic womb, but with her cheque book."
Her last film, 'High Society', almost mirrored the events going on in her life.
Rainier was on set during filming, and just a few weeks after the production came to a close, Grace headed to Monaco on a lengthy boat trip.
She spent the rest of her life in Monaco, having three children with Rainier: Caroline, Princess of Hanover, Prince Albert II and Princess Stéphanie.
Future monarchs: Prince Jacques is first in line to Monaco's throne (Image: Express Newspapers)
In 1986, while returning from the family's holiday home, Grace had a stroke behind the wheel and lost control of her car.
It tumbled down a 100ft ravine, turning over several times before stopping in a garden.
Prince Albert: Monaco's current ruling prince is Grace and Rainier's middle child and only son (Image: GETTY)
Stéphanie, who had been with her, survived the crash.
Had Grace lived through the tragic accident she would today be 91 years old.
Olivia de Havilland Says She's the Reason Grace Kelly Married Prince Rainier of Monaco
The day Grace Kelly was to meet Prince Rainier of Monaco for the first time started out terribly. The American actress had washed her hair only to realize a labor strike had caused a power outage in Cannes, France, where she was staying at the Carlton Hotel. Without electricity, she couldn't dry her hair or iron her clothes. She would have to use natural lighting to apply her makeup. So Kelly improvised, putting on her one unwrinkled dress and pulling her hair back and adorning it with flowers. She hurried downstairs, without the aide of elevators, where her new acquaintances waited to accompany her to the Prince's palace.
Then, a minor accident with the car behind them made the group late. The prince wasn't there when they arrived they toured his 225-room palace without him. Prince Rainier made it back in time to take his guests through his private zoo before Kelly had to return to Cannes for a professional engagement. During the tour, he and Kelly walked ahead of the group, chatting privately. On the ride home Kelly remarked that she'd found the prince "charming."
The meeting was actually a last-minute addition to Kelly's itinerary. Just two days earlier, she'd been approached by the Oscar-winning British actress Olivia de Havilland on the overnight train from Paris to Cannes.
Inspiration had struck de Havilland and her second husband, Pierre Galante, when they learned that Kelly was a fellow passenger. Galante, who'd been born in Nice on the Cote d'Azur, not far from Monaco, had connections to Prince Rainier of Monaco through his job as an editor at Paris-Match. Over dinner with de Havilland and a colleague in the dining car, Galente suggested they introduce Kelly to Prince Rainier.
"I'm tempted to think it was destiny," de Havilland, 100, told People in an exclusive interview.
De Havilland caught Kelly as she was leaving her table. They exchanged a few words on the narrow platform between the dining car and the adjacent carriage. " I overtook her to ask if she would agree to a meeting with Prince Rainier," de Havilland recalled. " Grace struck me on first encounter as a rather reserved, self-possessed, well brought up young woman."
Kelly was in town to present The Country Girl, for which she'd won an Oscar for Best Actress, at the Cannes Film Festival. She agreed to the meeting on the condition that the studio sponsoring her trip, MGM, approved it first.
After that fateful Friday afternoon, de Havilland, who attended a function with Kelly later that evening, noticed her cheerful manner, and "guessed" things had gone well.
"When she took her place at the head of the receiving line at the American reception, instead of offering her hand for a handshake, Grace extended her hand as if offering it to be kissed," said de Havilland. "She was in a state of enchantment."
Princess Grace’s Philanthropic Spirit Lives On
The Monte Carlo Casino, a gilded gamblers’ mecca, sits in the heart of Monaco. Locals are forbidden from gambling, but Monaco’s Prince Albert II recently found himself laying odds.
It was in the midst of renewed Covid lockdowns earlier this year in neighboring France when he made the calculus to proceed with both the 78th edition of the world-famous Monaco Grand Prix in May, and a more intimate but lavish gala in June for Grace Influential, a new social media initiative designed to introduce his mother, the late Princess Grace, to a new generation.
Barring further lockdowns, that party will be “one of the first major social events for Monaco as it comes out of Covid,” says Brisa Carleton, CEO of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, which is organizing the event on behalf of the Monaco palace.
Set to be held at Monte Carlo’s posh Hotel de Paris, with its ornate sculptures, crystal chandeliers, and marble colonnades, the event will offer some 100 lucky attendees a look at a new princess-inspired retail label. The palace describes it as the first luxury brand “designed for good.”
The party will feature an auction, with dazzling lots from top designers, reflecting Princess Grace’s love of fashion, jewelry, and film. “Her beauty is timeless, mixed with a bit of cheeky fun,” says London designer and artist Osman Yousefzada, who’s been surveying photos of the icon for inspiration.
Across the Atlantic, in her Great Neck, N.Y., studio, bespoke jewelry designer Sharon Khazzam has been sifting through gemstones.“I need to channel Princess Grace to understand what she was about,” she says.
Philadelphia native-turned-Hollywood star Grace Kelly was already famous, having won an Academy Award for The Country Girl in 1955, when she traded one fairy tale for another, marrying Monaco’s Prince Rainier III in 1956. Becoming a real princess transformed her from screen idol to global icon. She was 26.
“When my mother left Hollywood for Monaco, she created an extraordinary bridge between two countries,” says Prince Albert II, 63, in an exclusive interview with Penta. In the years that followed, she raised three children, and set new standards for philanthropy. She visited the elderly in hospitals, and supported the performing arts.
After her sudden death at 52—in a 1982 car accident outside Monaco—Prince Rainier created the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, granting it control over merchandising. The organization licensed her name or likeness in rare instances, helping to promote Mikimoto pearls or Montblanc pens. With the money raised, the foundation continued her legacy, supporting emerging artists in theater, dance, and film.
“As we look to the future of her noble legacy,” Prince Albert says, “my sisters and I [wish to] thoughtfully share her profound influence with new generations around the world.”
Already a famous Hollywood actress, Grace Kelly became Princess Grace in 1956 when she married Monaco's Prince Rainier III.
Still Relevant After All These Years
As 20th-century icons go, Princess Grace has proved remarkably relevant. Many current hot-button issues—women’s empowerment, child welfare, racial equity—were causes she supported.
“She was on the front lines, but discreet about it,” Carleton explains.
Take her friendship with Black entertainer Josephine Baker, which began in 1951 when a young Grace Kelly, on the brink of stardom, happened to be at New York’s swanky Stork Club when Baker was refused service. Appalled, Grace walked out with Baker arm in arm.
Grace Influential, a website and social media presence, launched in March, filled with sun-drenched shots of the Mediterranean and posts about fashion, beauty secrets, and pop-culture trends she’d be interested in today.
A luxury brand will follow, with exclusive products due to hit high-end retailers’ shelves in 2022. Carleton and her team have consulted with leading luxury brand builders, like former Yves Saint Laurent artistic director Jérôme Faillant-Dumas, advertising guru Richard Kirshenbaum, and Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, the Estée Lauder veteran who launched her own beauty label.
Gabai-Pinsky says the coming brand will capitalize on Monaco’s tony lifestyle, while amplifying sustainability, a core value of the princess.
“What’s interesting is that she was royalty before she was a royal,” Gabai-Pinsky says. “She had poise, elegance. But she was accessible, strong, modern.”
Jewelry by Sharon Khazzam to be auctioned at this June's Grace Influential party in Monte Carlo.
The values-driven thrust of the Grace-inspired brand seems tailor-made for next-luxury consumers, who are eschewing conspicuous consumption for conscientious luxury.
For this brand-to-be, philanthropy isn’t an afterthought. Unlike most labels, which cough up a percentage of proceeds to a separate foundation, Grace’s foundation owns the brand. Rather than sell exclusivity for its own sake, the goal is to boost the foundation’s profile, expanding its reach.
Its track record is impressive. Foundation award winners include Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu, Tony-winning Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. , and acclaimed ballerinas Tiler Peck and Gillian Murphy.
A Reason to Celebrate…Together
Back in her studio, designer Khazzam has chosen the gemstones—springy lemon citrines, yellow sapphires, white diamonds—for the bespoke item she’s contributing to the Grace Influential auction: a necklace that converts to a brooch.
“After a year-plus of isolation,” she says, “it’s time to dance, to wear beautiful clothes, to do our hair.”
“This event will be a great way to celebrate with the local residents and the foundation’s longtime supporters,” she says. There’s a pause—then a burst of exuberance. “We can’t wait to be in a room with them again.”
This article appeared in the June 2021 issue of Penta magazine.
Editor's note: After this story went to press, Grace Influential and the Monaco palace had to postpone the in-person event, due to ongoing concerns related to Covid-19 in Europe.
History of Monaco: from the ancient times to Prince Albert II
The earliest references to Monaco appeared in early Ancient times, when ‘the Rock’ and its natural harbour served as a refuge for local tribes and sailors coming from the East. In the 6th century BC, a Ligurian tribe named Monoikos occupied ‘the Rock,’ which is probably the origin of the name “Monaco”.
During its history, the place saw Roman and Barbarian invasions ravaging the region. But the history of Monaco as a ruled territory began in 1297, when Genovese Francesco Grimaldi “the Cunning” captured the Rock of Monaco. Dressed as a monk, he entered Monaco’s castle with swords hidden under his clothes and then seized the fortress with his cousin, Rainier I. This event is commemorated nowadays on the Monegasque coat of arms where you can see two monks holding their swords. On the square in front of the Prince’s Palace there is a monument to the first of the Grimaldi dynasty.
In the middle of the 19th century, Monaco was about to go bankrupt. Nobody knew what would have happened next, but the royal family offered a job to an outstanding French entrepreneur François Blanc, also known as “The magician of Homburg” for the success of the casino he had run there. In cooperation with the ruling family, he created La Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) in 1863 and became a majority shareholder of the company. Together with his wife, Marie Blanc, François set out to build more than just a gambling house, he intended to create a world of luxury never before seen. Today, SBM owns all the casinos and best hotels, and restaurants in Monaco.
Toward the end of the 1870s, the casino was finished by Charles Garnier, the famous architect of the Paris Opera house, Palais Garnier. The luxurious Hotel de Paris was built next to the Casino, and became a part of that “gold mine” which was supposed to save the House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy. Blanc used his connections to build a railway into Monaco and generously thanked international newspapers for promoting his new business.
Soon after this massive reconstruction, Monaco became a new destination for European elite, and the revenues of the Principality started increasing. In 1869, the success of the Casino made it possible for the Princely family to stop collecting income tax from the residents of the Principality.
The image of Monaco as glamorous and luxurious became even stronger when Prince Rainier III married the Hollywood star, Grace Kelly. They met during her visit to the Cannes Film Festival in 1955. This story was like a fairytale, but had nothing in common with “Cinderella” as Grace’s dowry was estimated at 2,000,000 dollars. But the new role of Kelly as the Princess of Monaco changed the life of the young actress. Grace Kelly had to give up her thriving career in Hollywood and she gave birth to three children: Caroline, Stephanie and Albert who succeeded his father in 2005. After 27 years of marriage, Princess Grace of Monaco died in a car accident in the hills above the city.
In 2011, the reigning monarch, Prince Albert II married miss Charlene Wittstock, a former Olympic swimmer for South Africa. The couple has two children: Gabriella and Jacques.
The family’s real fear, it seems, may be that the film has broken a long-standing Hollywood taboo about bringing the truth about the marriage to the big screen – and it may set the stage for more embarrassing projects.
While Rainier sleeps in a separate room from Grace in the script, and is said to be constantly ‘busy’ during the daytime, the production glosses over accusations that he was unfaithful.
‘This film really is a very slim slice of Grace’s life and it is nowhere near as negative as it could be,’ Wendy Leigh, a biographer of the princess, said last night.
ACCORDING to her 2007 book, True Grace, the suave, cigar-smoking prince began cheating on Grace soon after she became pregnant during their honeymoon. Within months, he had taken at least three mistresses.
‘I think the family were hoping to stop the film and that this is their warning shot to producers who might want to do the full story about Rainier’s promiscuity and cruelty,’ Ms Leigh said.
‘Grace was humiliated and she was extremely unhappy. She was surrounded by decadence and Rainier’s disreputable friends.’
Blonde, blue-eyed and with a sultry sex appeal that casting directors compared to Marlene Dietrich, Grace herself was hardly an innocent.
Grace Kelly, pictured left in 1955, is being played Nicole Kidman in a new film about her, Grace of Monaco
Princess Grace of Monaco, actress Grace Kelly, with her family Prince Rainier, Princess Caroline and Prince Albert
The daughter of a socially ambitious Philadelphia brickworks owner, she became infatuated with several of her leading men.
While shooting the Hitchcock thriller Dial M For Murder in 1954, she scandalised Hollywood by conducting an affair with her married co-star, Ray Milland. She met Rainier during a photoshoot in 1955 at his palace. Six years her senior, he was seeking a wife with the help of a crony, the Greek shipping baron Aristotle Onassis, played in the film by Robert Lindsay.
His quest was a matter of urgency. If he failed to conceive a legitimate heir, Monaco would become a French protectorate under the terms of a 1918 treaty.
After she submitted to an examination to prove she was capable of bearing children, he presented her with a 12-carat diamond engagement ring. ‘I fell in love with Prince Rainier,’ she confides in the film’s opening scene. ‘What followed was more difficult than I had thought.’
A silver Rolls-Royce delivers Alfred Hitchcock – played by Roger Ashton-Griffiths – to the palace, where he is greeted by Grace’s scheming lady-in-waiting, Madge Tivey-Faucon (Parker Posey).
Madge has been chosen for her job by Rainier – her chief qualification for the role being her willingness to spy on Grace’s every move.
Hitchcock is puzzled that there is no sign of the prince. A palace retainer quietly tells him: ‘He never comes. Far too busy.’
Actress Grace Kelly (later Princess Grace of Monaco) and His Serene Highness Prince Rainier III of Monaco on 19th April 1956.
Speaking little French, Grace is bored and homesick, occupying herself by preparing pumpkin soup and other American dishes for Ray, as she calls Rainier in rare moments of tenderness
The Monaco climate does not agree with her. Her eyes are reddened from conjunctivitis and she suffers from hayfever and insomnia. Hitchcock turns up just as she is composing a secret letter to her mother to confide she is miserable and wants to end the marriage.
Now Hitchcock is giving her the perfect excuse to leave in a matter of weeks. ‘Universal will pay you one million dollars,’ he says. ‘It’s going to be the role of a lifetime.’
‘Do I look that unhappy, Hitch?’ she asks wearily.
‘You look tired, Gracie,’ he says.
It isn’t only Rainier’s tantrums and constant absences that have brought her marriage to the point of breakdown. As ‘his’ princess, she must submit totally to his rules which, according to the script, include smiling sweetly at his side and never voicing an opinion.
At a New Year’s Eve party on the Onassis yacht, he grows red-faced with rage when she engages French President Charles de Gaulle in a debate about the UK-US special relationship. Rainier furiously confronts her when they return home. ‘This is not America, Grace! People don’t just speak their minds.’
‘What did you expect me to say?’ she asks.
‘I don’t know. You used to be an actor. Act,’ he snarls.
Madge, he adds, has informed him of Hitchcock’s visit. ‘She is very loyal,’ he reminds his wife. Pecking a kiss on her forehead, he retires for the night, closing the door to his bedroom behind him.
Some biographers claim Rainier was violent as well as a control freak. During a tennis doubles match, he allegedly aimed a ball straight at Grace’s face. When it hit her, the friend who was his doubles partner defended him, saying he was just ‘desperate to win’.
The film treads carefully on the issue. He is verbally abusive to Grace, flying into a rage when she shears her long hair into a fashionable bob. He shouts that she did not seek his permission: ‘It looks dreadful. It yells of disrespect.’
When Grace finally plucks up the courage to tell Rainier that she would like to accept Hitchcock’s million-dollar offer of the leading role in Marnie, he assures her: ‘I won’t stand in your way.’
But his words ‘don’t ring true’, and when her plans for the movie are leaked to the press – she suspects by palace plotters – the prince’s 30,000 subjects are horrified.
Smashing a glass he is holding to the floor, Rainier tells Grace he has changed his mind in the face of the outcry. ‘You’ll have to call Mr Hitchcock and turn him down,’ he orders. ‘We’ll make a show of how happy you are here.’ ‘That’s not your decision to make,’ she says. ‘I am the prince, and your husband,’ he storms. ‘You will and you must!’
In the end, the role of Marnie went to another Hitchcock protegee, Tippi Hedren.
The film’s most contentious claim is that Grace eventually sought a divorce from Rainier.
The director, Olivier Dahan, has not identified the script’s precise sources for the claim, but they would appear to include a mysterious book, Grace: A Disenchanted Princess, published under a pseudonym in France in 2004.
It quoted one Rainier relative, Christian de Massy – whose mother, Princess Antoinette, was the prince’s sister – as recalling that Grace was heartbroken when she was forbidden to do Marnie.
Controversial: British actor Tim Rother plays Grace Kelly's husband, Prince Rainer, in the film
Despondent about life in a ‘golden cage’, she allegedly consulted an American divorce lawyer but, after being advised that she would lose her children, resigned herself to her fate in Monaco.
The royals – who were shown the screenplay when Dahan applied for permission to shoot in Monaco – claim that to their ‘astonishment’, their ‘numerous requests for changes’ were ignored.
DAHAN has promised, however, that the film, which he started to shoot last August in Monaco and Paris, will be released on schedule early next year. ‘I think we have a misunderstanding,’ he said, insisting that he neither needs the royal family’s permission, nor has sought it. ‘We never asked them to endorse anything,’ he stresses.
The new film draws to a close when Grace stumbles on evidence that Antoinette, portrayed by Geraldine Somerville, is conspiring with France to seize control of the principality in a coup.
As part of this treacherous deal, de Gaulle has agreed that Christian, who at the time was just 13, will assume the throne.
The Mail on Sunday is withholding the exact details of the suspense-filled denouement to the purported plot – which critics claim involves considerable licence on the film- makers’ part as Antoinette clashed with her brother in the Fifties.
One clue, however: it leads to a reconciliation between Grace and Rainier, and she bears their third and final child, Stephanie.
The screenplay ends with one simple line: ‘Grace Kelly never acted again.’
Worn down by disappointment, she died in a 1982 car crash, apparently after suffering a stroke.
Grace Kelly went from Hollywood royal to princess
Born to affluent Philadelphian parents in 1929, Kelly and her three siblings had a financially stable upbringing in their family mansion. At 18, Kelly departed for New York City, staying in the Barbizon Hotel for Women and studying a $1,000-per-year acting course she funded by modeling.
She caught her onscreen break by landing a role in the Western film, "High Noon" (1952), which won four Oscars, made $18 million at the box office, and put her name on the map.
Kelly was then offered a contract with MGM Studios Inc. and went on to star in Hollywood films such as "Mogambo" (1953), "Dial M for Murder" and "Rear Window" (both released in 1954), and "High Society" (1956).
"Now if we take all of the earnings and the bonuses across those five years in Hollywood, Grace Kelly's total earnings could have reached $1.5 million, or the equivalent of $15 million today, earnings that appear to be entirely missing from her will," Godfrey says in the documentary.
Kelly met Prince Rainier at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, and they became engaged soon after. They married in 1956.
The shocking thing Grace Kelly had to prove before her royal wedding
Grace Kelly became one of the most iconic royals in the world when she married Prince Rainier II of Monaco after years as an American film star.
Their romance seemed to be one from a fairy tale, where the Hollywood beauty fell for the European prince and they wed in a lavish ceremony.
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco were married in a religious ceremony in Monaco April 18, 1956. (AP/AAP)
But behind the scenes in the lead up to their wedding, Grace was allegedly forced to submit to two shocking demands from the Monegasque royal family.
The then-26-year-old reportedly had to prove that she could provide royal heirs by submitting a fertility test to the royals, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Being able to have children was – and still often is – an important thing for a royal couple, as it secures the royal bloodline and ensures the family will be able to continue ruling for generations to come.
Even when Prince William and Kate Middleton wed in 2011, there was talk about how quickly the Duchess would fall pregnant and give birth to the next Windsor.
Prince Rainier II and Grace Kelly. (Getty)
While we're sure the Queen was eager to add another great-grandchild to her Christmas gift list, it's unlikely sheɽ ever ask a woman to provide a fertility test before marrying into the British monarchy.
But 1956 was a different time, and Grace is believed to have provided proof of her fertility before her wedding to Prince Rainier.
However, that wasn't the only thing she had to do in the leadup to her nuptials.
Grace was also allegedly told her father would have to pay a $2 million dowry before she could become a princess.
Grace Kelly in 1955. (Getty)
The outdated tradition reportedly left her father fuming and he refused to pay up, but Grace was so determined to marry her prince that she eventually persuaded her father.
That said, she allegedly covered half of the cost herself from her substantial wealth amassed as a Hollywood actress.
Of course, the Monegasque royals have never addressed these reports and would be even less likely to share details of Grace's dowry and fertility test after her passing in 1982.
However, in the decades since their wedding, there has been contention over whether or not the fertility test actually happened, as well as the actual value of the dowry.
Grace Kelly was an American film actress. (Getty)
Grace of Monaco: The True Story by Jeffrey Robinson calls the fertility claims "pure invention", adding that simple fertility tests for women weren't really available in the 1950s.
Robinson also wrote that "while certain financial arrangements were made, a $2 million dowry was not involved."