August 4, 2021

the wedding of the pirate and the actress

The link between Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly was called ‘the wedding of the (20th) century’. It represented the union between the traditional royalty and the new aristocracy, that is, Hollywood. However, not everything was immaculate. Grace, despite her angelic appearance, had a reputation as a heartbreaker and even a marriage wrecker by then. He had conquered Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Ray Milland, William Holden … ‘That Grace! He sleeps with everyone, ‘Hitchcock said. And the prince, descendant of a dynasty started by pirates, had political motivations that dragged him to the altar: the long shadow of the French neighbor was projected over his principality and threatened to absorb him. Quick marriage and offspring were imposed. The success projected Monaco into a new golden age and Rainier became a builder prince.

Grace Kelly appears for the first time before the public with her fiance Prince Rainier of Monaco during a party at the Waldorf Astoria in New York Newspaper library

Third parties

Once upon a time … a young American woman raised in the opulence of a nouveau riche family in Philadelphia, who one fine day decides that she wants to be an actress.

Based in Hollywood, she embarks on a brilliant film career that makes her deserving of an Oscar. Until one day something happens that will mark his life forever: it runs in 1955 and Grace goes to the Principality of Monaco to film Catch a thief, film directed by Hitchcock. During the filming and due to the insistence of the Monegasque heir, Rainier III, the Paris Match journalist Pierre Galante agrees to introduce him to the actress. Rainier had been a prince since 1949 and was 32 years old. As heir to the Grimaldi family, he held 24 titles of nobility and was in a hurry to get married. If there were no descendants soon, Monaco, a tiny principality, would lose its independence and become a French protectorate. His romantic relationship with the French actress Gisèle Pascal had not been well regarded by the Monegasques.

If there were no descendants soon, Monaco, a tiny principality, would lose its independence and become a French protectorate.

Grace, for her part, projected an image of icy and distant beauty to the general public, but in reality, at 26 she already had a random sentimental resume. Seven months later, the taciturn Monegasque monarch and the young actress are married. That April 19, 1956, the history of Monaco passed as the event that marked the future of the country forever.

White and radiant was the bride, her cloudy past did not overshadow the event.

Official portrait

Portrait of Grace Kelly with her husband, Prince Rainier of Monaco

Third parties

We highlight the main anecdotes of ‘the wedding of the (20th) century’:

-Preamble: Grace, future consort was forced to undergo a medical examination to check her fertility. Monaco needed an heir to the throne. At the same time it was to serve to attest to her virginity. This last piece of information, for obvious reasons, was going to be impossible to verify and was cleverly disguised by the Kelly family: Grace had lost her ‘flower’ in a riding accident.

Grace donned a costume designed by MGM wardrobe manager Helen Rose that would make history

-Dress: Grace donned a costume designed by MGM’s wardrobe manager, Helen Rose, that would make history. The spectacular design was the fruit of almost two months of work with 36 seamstresses. Brussels lace at the high neckline, long sleeves, very fitted bodice and billowy skirt in pink lace and taffeta knit. All covered in thousands of tiny hand-sewn pearls.

-Ring: the bride wore her engagement ring, which Rainier had given her during the filming of her last movie, High society.

Grace Kelly with Frank Sinatra in a still from High Society, directed by Charles Walters in 1956

Grace Kelly with Frank Sinatra in a still from High Society, directed by Charles Walters in 1956

Third parties

-Bridesmaids: demure ladies who had accompanied Grace and her parents on their last trip as single to the United States, wore pale yellow.

-The groom: Rainier wore a gala suit and all his decorations on his chest.

– Bridal bouquet: after the ceremony, the bride went to the Church of Santa Devota to deposit her bouquet.

-Media echo: the long-awaited event was broadcast on European channels and managed to gather more than 30 million viewers in front of the screen.

Hitchcock, godfather of the bride, had declared in the past: ‘That Grace! He sleeps with everyone! ‘

-Guests: Hitchcock, eternally in love with the actress, served as godfather. Along with him, the most distinguished of the Hollywood jet-set attended solicitously what was drawn as the most glamorous of the weddings celebrated in the field of the seventh art. The European royal houses, however, turned their backs on the Grimaldi. His heraldry of murky pirate past did not have enough pedigree. Only King Farouk of Egypt and Aristotle Onassis, a close friend and confidant of the groom, were present, barely covering the quota of kings and magnates.

Alfred Hitchcok junto a Grace Kelly

Alfred Hitchcok junto a Grace Kelly

Third parties

This is Grace:

Heartbreaker, even dubbed a ‘marriage wrecker’, had easily conquered, one after another, the most renowned leading men in Hollywood, especially the most ‘talludites’, who were his weakness: William Holden, Clark Gable, Ray Milland, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, or Gary Cooper shared her bed. The latter would affirm of his co-star in Alone in the face of danger: ‘He looks like he’s going to behave like an iceberg to a man until you pull down his panties, then he’s an erupting volcano.’

Hitchcock himself, learning that Grace also had relationships with Frederick Know, screenwriter of Perfect Crime, he dared to affirm: ‘That Grace! He sleeps with everyone! ‘

Grace, despite her angelic looks, had a reputation as a heartthrob and even ‘marriage wrecker’

The irresistible blonde had had a meteoric artistic career. Prototype of the American aristocracy, he had to deal first with his parents to dedicate himself to acting. His father, King of the Brick, was a true self-made man. A construction worker since the age of 14, he had managed to raise a fortune. Strong-tempered, she had won three Olympic rowing medals against all odds. His mother, a former dummy and gym teacher, flaunted her Prussian origins by educating her four children with great discipline.

After a year in New York during which her parents paid for her studies, Grace worked as a model to support herself. That shy, weak and short-sighted girl, self-conscious about her father’s triumphs and tyrannized by her mother, was now a beauty who would soon sweep the American public by storm.

Grace, against all odds, even won an Oscar for her performance in ‘The Anguish of Living’

Far from the explosive reigning beauty symbolized in the exuberance of Marylin and Ava, she managed to place herself practically on their level.

His eleven films, some more commercial than others but all memorable, made a place for him in the Hollywood Olympus. Against all odds, he even won an Oscar for his performance in The anguish of living, in the 1995 edition, despite the fact that the favorite was none other than Judy Garland.

Grace Kelly in 'The Anguish of Living' written and directed by George Seaton in 1954

Grace Kelly in ‘The Anguish of Living’ written and directed by George Seaton in 1954

Third parties

After two more interpretations, The Swan (1956) Y High Society (1956), both premonitory, the actress decides to abandon her artistic career. A year later, on April 18, 1956, Miss Kelly became Grace of Monaco. Gone is his torrid love life. Her own mother, before the marriage, had made the mistake of listing her long list of former lovers. Mama Kelly nevertheless forgot to mention fellow actor David Niven, Grace’s great love, who was supposed to be her lover until the end of her days.

Following the tragic death of Her Serene Highness Grace of Monaco, a shattered Rainier appeared before the world, attesting to the authenticity of his love.

Following the tragic death of Her Serene Highness Grace of Monaco, a shattered Rainier appeared before the world, attesting to the authenticity of his love for Grace. But no matter how slow things go in the palace, it is hard to believe that he did not know about the extramarital affairs of his beloved wife.

Read also:

– Death traps Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly, her Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco was 52 years old when she was surprised by death on the same road that appeared in ‘Catch a Thief’, a film in which she had starred alongside Cary Grant, under the baton of Hitchcock

Rainier III, 'the builder prince', died in Monaco at the age of 81

Rainier III, ‘the builder prince’, died in Monaco at the age of 81

Third parties

– Rainier III of Monaco, the builder prince

Prince Rainier of Monaco (1923-2005) succeeds his grandfather Louis II on the throne of the principality, which makes it an internationally recognized business and tourist center