Grace Kelly

Grace Patricia Kelly
Princess of Monaco
Titles HSH The Princess of Monaco
Born November 12, 1929
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Died September 12, 1982
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Consort April 19, 1956 - September 14, 1982
Consort to Rainier III
Issue Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, Princess Stéphanie
Father John B. Kelly, Sr.
Mother Margaret Katherine Majer

Grace, Princess of Monaco, née Grace Patricia Kelly, (November 12, 1929 – September 14, 1982) was an Academy Award-winning American film actress who, upon marriage to Rainier III, Prince of Monaco on April 19 1956, became Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco. She was the mother of the principality's current reigning Sovereign Prince, Albert II. Princess Grace was not required to renounce her American citizenship upon her marriage. For many people, she symbolized glamor. However, her family-centered life set a high standard of public morality that few in the movie industry could match. Her screen to palace story was a real life romance that seemed to match the artificial realities of show business. Although she retired from acting when she married her Prince, she remained in the public eye due to the high profile film festival of her adopted home.

Contents

Early life

Grace Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to John Brendan Kelly, Sr., also known as Jack Kelly, and Margaret Katherine Majer Kelly, a German American Catholic convert from Lutheranism. Kelly's father's Irish American Catholic family, were new but prominent figures in Philadelphia society. The family was well-known and popular throughout the country.

Kelly's father was a self-made millionaire and a triple gold-medal-winning Olympic sculler at a time that the sport of rowing was at its zenith. He was active in politics, running for mayor of Philadelphia and serving on the Fairmount Park commission. During World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed the senior Kelly as his National Director of Physical Fitness, a public relations post which allowed Kelly to use his fame to instill the virtues of physical fitness.

Her brother John B. Kelly, Jr., followed in that tradition. He won the Sullivan Award in 1947, as the top amateur athlete in the country. His rowing exploits were well-chronicled. John, Jr., gave his sister as a wedding present the bronze medal he won at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Kelly Drive in Philadelphia is named for John, Jr., who was a city councilman there.

Her father's large family included two prominent uncles in the arts: Walter Kelly, a vaudevillian, and the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright, George Kelly. Kelly's maternal grandparents, Carl Majer and Margaretha Berg, were of German descent.

Career

Although her family had opposed her becoming an actress, Kelly became a fashion model and appeared in her first film, Fourteen Hours (1951), when she was 22. The following year she "starred" in High Noon (1952), a generally praised but somewhat controversial western starring Gary Cooper.

Her next film, Mogambo (1953), was a drama set in the Kenyan jungle which centers on the love triangle portrayed by Kelly, Clark Gable, and Ava Gardner. The movie earned Kelly an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but the award went to Donna Reed for her role in From Here to Eternity. Kelly made three films with Alfred Hitchcock: Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, and To Catch a Thief. In 1955, she was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Country Girl.

Life as Princess

Princess Grace at a press conference in Montreal, during Expo 1967.

The musical comedy High Society (1956) was her last film, as her marriage to Rainier III marked her retirement from acting. She reportedly was surprised to learn from Rainier that she was expected to give up her film career entirely, but followed his wishes grudgingly.

Her Catholicism and her presumed ability to bear children were key factors in her being chosen to marry Prince Rainier.

Prince Rainier and Princess Grace had three children:

  • Hereditary Princess Caroline Louise Marguerite, born January 23, 1957, and now heiress presumptive to the throne of Monaco.
  • Albert II, Prince of Monaco, born March 14, 1958.
  • Princess Stéphanie Marie Elisabeth, born February 1, 1965.
Princess Grace's gravesite in St. Nicholas Cathedral, Monte Carlo, Monaco.

In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco clarified that even if there are no direct heirs of the reigning prince, the principality will remain an independent nation, rather than reverting to France. Due to Prince Albert's enduring bachelorhood, Monegasque law now states that in the event of a reigning prince's lack of descendants, his siblings and their children will inherit the throne. The line of succession is now Princess Caroline, then her children by her late second husband Stefano Casiraghi, who died in 1990, and her daughter by her third husband, Ernst August V, Prince of Hanover.

At the age of 52, in September 1982, Princess Grace suffered a stroke while driving. It had been rumored that she was driving on the same stretch of highway in Monaco that had been featured in To Catch a Thief, although her son claims that it was not. It resulted in an accident, and she died the next day without regaining consciousness. Princess Stéphanie, who was alleged by some sources to have been the actual driver of the car, suffered only minor injuries.

Princess Grace is interred in St. Nicholas Cathedral, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Prince Rainier was buried alongside her following his death in 2005.

Filmography

  • Fourteen Hours (1951)
  • High Noon (1952)
  • Mogambo (1953)
  • Dial M for Murder (1954)
  • Green Fire (1954)
  • Rear Window (1954)
  • The Country Girl (1954)
  • The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)
  • To Catch a Thief (1955)
  • The Swan (1956)
  • High Society (1956)
  • The Nativity (1982) [short, voice only]
Preceded by:
Audrey Hepburn
for Roman Holiday
Academy Award for Best Actress
1954
for The Country Girl
Succeeded by:
Anna Magnani
for The Rose Tattoo

Trivial Facts

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier on a 1956 stamp of Monaco.
  • She was the first actress to appear on a postage stamp. (Source: The Book of Useless Information, published 2002.) She's also mentioned in Billy Joel's history themed song "We Didn't Start the Fire" ("Princess Grace").
  • The French haute couture fashion house Hermès named one of its most famous, and now most sought-after, products for Grace Kelly—the "Kelly Bag." Waiting lists of up to two years are not unusual for this handbag, and prices start at $5000 for the small version in plain leather and soar over $50,000 for crocodile skin or other unusual materials.
  • The classic head-cover of a silk scarf crossed under the chin and knotted at the side or nape of the neck is universally known as the "Grace Kelly." This chic look is still copied by many female Hollywood stars when they wish to retain a degree of anonymity in the public eye. Famous users include: Sharon Stone, Madonna, and Annette Bening.
  • The gown that Princess Grace wore on her wedding day was donated to the Philadelphia Museum of Art shortly thereafter. It is currently on display in honor of her fiftieth wedding anniversary.
  • Alfred Hitchcock wanted to cast Kelly in the title role of his motion picture Marnie, but the people of Monaco were not happy with the idea of their princess taking on the role of such a character.
  • The opening track on the band EELS' third studio album—Daisies of the Galaxy—is titled "Grace Kelly Blues" and, while not mentioned by name in the song, the second verse certainly applies to her, with the lyrics "the actress gave up all her old dreams/traded up and now she's the queen33." It is an upbeat song, though it deals with traditionally depressing subjects, such as loneliness and an ill fulfilled life.
  • In virtuoso guitarist Paul Gilbert's 2000 album Alligator Farm, she is mentioned in the song "Six Billion People."
  • Is mentioned in the Elton John song "Wrap Her Up."
  • Makes a cameo appearance in Wu Ming's novel 54. Some action takes place on the French Riviera, during the filming of To Catch a Thief. One of the main characters in the book is Cary Grant.
  • There is a track on Piebald's 2001 double album Barely Legal/All Ages called "Grace Kelly with Wings." She is cited in the song as such: "That's more than a dress / it's a Grace Kelly movie."

References

  • Haugland, H. Kristina. Grace Kelly: Icon of Style to Royal Bride. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006. ISBN 0300116446
  • Kirk, Cori. Finding Grace in Monaco. Victoria, BC, Canada: Trafford Publishers, 2006. ISBN 1553953592
  • Curtis, Jenny. Grace Kelly: A life in pictures. NY: Barnes & Noble Books, 2002. ISBN 0760735719
  • Quine, Judy. Bridesmaids: Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, and Six Intimate Friends. NY: Grove Press; 1st ed edition, 1989. ISBN 155584061
  • Surcouf, Elizabeth Gillen. Grace Kelly: American Princess. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications; Library Binding edition, 1992. ISBN 0822505487

External links

All links retrieved July 8, 2017.

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