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Grace Kelly Princess of Monaco

Updated on March 12, 2013

Princess Grace of Monaco

The woman who became Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco
The woman who became Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco

Tribute to Screen great Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly's Hollywood career

Grace Kelly memorable Uptown Girl

Grace Kelly Hollywood legend

In 2012 it has now been thirty years since the women who became a real Hollywood Princess was tragically killed in a car accident. In January 1956 Grace Kelly made an announcement that stunned her friends,Hollywood and the world. She publicly announced that she was leaving her glittering career in Hollywood to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco.

It was only shortly before this that she had phoned her mother and told her the news. At this time she was at the top of her popularity in Hollywood and she had carved out a reputation for being the good girl of Hollywood i.e. a talented actress who was seen as being somewhat the opposite of screen legend Marilyn Monroe. Grace Kelly was seen as the good Catholic girl who was refined, religious and an accomplished actress.

Grace Kelly was born on November 12, 1929. She came from a large family and was the third child born to Jack and Margaret Kelly. She was raised in Philadelphia. Her father was Jack Kelly and he was a ruthless but highly successful businessman. He expected a lot from his children and to him social standing, material success and his family’s reputation were what life was all about. Grace Kelly’s mother Margaret was a devout Catholic and agreed with her husband’s outlook on life.

Grace was always seen as a low achiever in the family because she wasn’t athletic. Some of her brothers and sisters were successful athletes but Grace often felt left out growing up because she didn’t have any talent in this area. So at eighteen she decided to follow her own dreams. The young Grace moved toNew York and studied at The Academy of Dramatic Arts. This wasn’t the career her parents wanted for her and they gave her a hard time about wanting to be an actress but Grace had some Kelly gumption of her own and she stood her ground and went anyway.

When Grace graduated from the academy she was daunted to realize that acting work was much harder to find than she had imagined. Still she struggled on and eventually got some work on the stage and some small T.V parts.

Grace’s first notable acting role in a film was with Gary Cooper in a western called High Noon. She wasn’t happy with how this worked out and felt sure it wouldn’t help her career. It was only when Grace Kelly got the opportunity to work with Alfred Hitchcock that her acting talent started to shine.

Hitchcock was quite besotted by Grace and thought she had a virginal quality about her that was special. Although Grace only ever saw him as a friend and mentor he coached her and helped mould her. He taught her how to improve her presence and act more dramatically. Grace made three movies with Alfred Hitchcock. The first was Dial M for Murder in which she played an adulterous wife whose husband tries to kill her. During this film she also fell for her co-star Ray Milland and they had a relationship.

With Alfred Hitchcock’s guidance Grace Kelly carved out herHollywoodacting niche and she made two more films with him both of which were hugely successful. They were Rear Window and To Catch a Thief.

In 1955, Grace won an Oscar for her role as the rundown wife of an alcoholic in The Country Girl. On this film she worked closely with Bing Crosby. They were hugely attracted to each other and had an affair.

Grace first met Prince Rainier of Monaco at the Cannes Film Festival. It was an arranged meeting to try to boost the image of Monaco at the time by introducing the highly successful actress to who was described as being Europe’s most eligible bachelor. As Grace had just won an Oscar everybody at the Cannes Film Festival wanted to interview her and Prince Rainier wanted to be part of this media frenzy.

Prince Rainier and Grace liked each other immediately. So much so in fact that Prince Rainier asked Grace if he could meet her the next time he was in America. Grace was highly flattered and instantly agreed.

Only months later Grace was introducing the Prince to her family and on the 10th of January 1957, an official announcement was made that Grace Kelly was going to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco.

At the time there was Media frenzy and much was written about the fairytale romance but in reality it was much more unromantic and businesslike than the papers portrayed it as being. Firstly Grace had to have a fertility test to ensure that she would be able to give Monaco an heir if she couldn’t then the marriage could not go ahead. Then it was discussed that Prince Rainier expected a substantial dowry to accompany his new bride to be. Prince Rainier it turned out was experiencing a serious cash flow crisis at the time. Grace’s father ended up paying Prince Rainier two million dollars before the marriage could go ahead. He was far from pleased over this but it was either that and face the world and tell them he wouldn’t allow his daughter to become a Princess because of something as common as ‘money.’

When the wedding day came around it was undoubtedly a huge media event and it was almost like something out of a fairytale. Grace Kelly’s wedding dress had been designed by MGM’s personal Designer, and it was the most expensive dress that MGM had ever paid for. Little did they know at the time that another girl who would also become a princess would later be inspired by this wedding dress i.e. Kate Middleton.

The gown itself was made from 125-year old rose point lace with twenty-five yards of silk taffeta, and one hundred yards of silk net. Thousands of tiny pearls had also been painstakingly sewn into the veil. The gown showed off Grace’s slight frame to perfectly and she looked every inch a princess.

So Grace Kelly had now become the most successful Kelly ever and at last all of her childhood feelings of inadequacy could be put behind her. It was the happiest day of her life. What next though? Watch this space as Grace Kelly Hollywood icon settles into her new life as Princess Grace of Monaco.


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    • thewritingowl profile image

      Mary Kelly Godley 4 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks, hopefully I will write the rest of her story soon, I too find her life fascinating and inevitably I feel a bit sad for her, she gave up a lot but others would say not everyone marries a prince and becomes a princess either so it depends on your own opinion on it I think.

    • profile image

      Davidwork 4 years ago

      I've been a big Grace Kelly fan for many years now and I'm always looking out for new GK hubs with perhaps new perspectives on her life and career.

      Informative hub, well written.

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      I've always thought Grace Kelly was absolutely beautiful. She led an interesting life, and met an untimely death. No wonder Hitchcock was besotted, but the Prince won. An interesting hub, thanks.