PRINCESS GRACE OF MONACO

When She met Her future husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco for the first time in the spring of 1955 on a visit to the Palace in the tiny Mediterranean principality of Monaco, She could not have anticipated that it would become Her home in less than two years. Theirs was a whirlwind romance, but Grace and Rainier had found in each other a soul mate and both were anxious to begin a family. They became engaged in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day 1956.

Archives of the Princely Palace of Monaco - Georges Lukomski - 1959

With friends and family Grace returned by boat to Monaco a little less than a year after Her first visit. The exquisitely beautiful bride and handsomely uniformed prince were married in Monaco’s St. Nicholas Cathedral on April 19, 1956. The fabulous wedding of the Prince and the movie star was an enchanting story and the media frenzy in Monaco for the event became a story in its own right.

Detaille- 1956

Fausto Picedi- 1956

Archives of the Princely Palace of Monaco

To everyone’s delight, the succession of the Grimaldi reign for the Principality was soon assured by the birth of Princess Caroline in February of 1957. A son and male successor, Prince Albert was born fourteen months later. Princess Stephanie followed in 1965. Grace and Rainier were devoted parents. They went to great lengths to carve out private time for the family, and maintain a warm, affectionate home life. They strove to provide a semblance of normal life, minimizing exposure to the public eye, while ensuring that the children understood their advantages and their responsibilities to those in need. They would spend time in the United States each year ensuring that the family ties there remained as strong as those in Monaco.

1959

1958

Georges Lukomski - 1965

Archives of the Princely Palace of Monaco

Grace and Rainier hosted numerous civic and social events at the Palace and paid state visits all over the world. The couple’s broad interests brought a stimulating mix of artists and visitors to Monaco. In spite of the obligations of the Principality and the dazzling social life, Grace’s many relatives and friends continued to feel cherished and were often guests at the Palace.

From the beginning, Grace was resolved to forge a place in Her adopted state. Active in charitable organizations and daily life in Monaco, Her dedication, determination and discipline soon earned Her the wholehearted affection of its people. She became president of the Monegasque Red Cross in 1958. Instrumental in founding The World Association of Friends of Children, (AMADE), She was a committed honorary president. Under Her leadership, The Princess Grace Foundation, Monaco was created in 1964 to encourage local artists and craftsmen. Now chaired by Her daughter HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover, it continues to support specific projects throughout Europe and has become an avid global sponsor of humanitarian issues, primarily those involving children’s needs. Other initiatives of Princess Grace like the Monaco Garden Club and International Arts Festival have added immeasurably to life in Monaco.

1973

Georges Lukomski - 1977

Archives of the Princely Palace of Monaco

As Her children grew up, Grace fulfilled Her yearning to be involved in theater again. Her narration of the Children of Theater Street, a film about the Kirov Ballet School in Leningrad brought Her close to Her love of the ballet. She restored a theater in Monte Carlo which was renamed the Théâtre Princesse Grace. Beginning in 1976, She made successful stage tours in Europe and the US reading poetry, donating any proceeds to Her Princess Grace Foundation, Monaco.

She was engaged in plans for Her latest film project, Rearranged and more touring when She suffered fatal injuries in a car accident while returning to Monaco from the family’s home Roc Agel with Her daughter Princess Stephanie. Princess Grace’s warm and generous spirit was treasured by those whose lives She touched. Her death left a deep void. Even now, Her memory still remains vivid.