Monaco’s Hollywood Princess


Photo credit:

From being part of the royal family of Hollywood, American ‘50s actress Grace Kelly brought poise and beauty to the throne of Monaco when she married into royalty. Becoming Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco when she wed Prince Rainier III in 1956, the stylish movie star became an icon of Monaco glamor. Her role of a lifetime as the principality of Monaco’s Hollywood Princess had an incredible impact on Monaco, boosting tourism, increasing real estate prices, and propelling the French Riviera destination into a haven of glittering luxury and amazing music, art and performance scene.

Moviestar royalty

Born in 1929, Grace Kelly’s roles as an icy Hitchcock blonde are iconic. In her early to mid-20s, Grace starred in classics such as Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, and To Catch a Thief which was filmed along the French Riviera, in Cannes and Monaco. After winning an Academy Award for Best Actress in the 1954 film, The Country Girl, her A-list status was confirmed along with roles in classics such as Western, High Noon and opposite Clark Gable in John Ford’s Mogambo.  However, her biggest role was yet to come, that of a real-life princess in Monaco.

Meeting her Prince Charming

While visiting Cannes Film Festival in 1955, Grace met future husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco during an afternoon photo shoot when she toured the royal gardens. Charmed by the young prince, a correspondence followed along with a visit by Prince Rainier III to Philadelphia to stay at the Grace household for Christmas. Prince Rainier proposed 24 hours later and Grace, following a 2 million USD dowry paid by the Kellys, married in 1956, with 30 million people watching the televised ceremony. The bride’s 10.47 carat emerald-cut diamond with a platinum band adorned Grace’s finger throughout her short engagement and during the filming of what was to be her last feature, musical High Society, at the age of 27.

A marriage that transformed Monaco

While Monaco’s income had, in the ‘40s derived mainly from casinos, the fairy-tale wedding marked a new era of economic revitalization through tourism and investment from outside Monaco. Aside from the benefits to the economy, Princess Grace intensified the cultural depth of the principality; creating a fascinatingly rich place in terms of events and activities.

Popular and a true people person, Grace attracted Hollywood stars and the wealthy to charity balls and events becoming renowned for her kind nature. During her time in Monaco she was the President of the Monaco Red Cross and also helped children across the world through her NGO, the World Association of Children’s Friends.

While building up Monaco’s worldwide reputation as an artistic center, she established the Princess Grace Foundation to support international artists and the Princess Grace Theatre in Monaco. She was a patron of the International Television Festival and the Monaco Arts Festival as well as being an avid supporter of opera, ballet, and theatre.

Related: Musical Monaco — Music Venues, Concerts, Festivals and More

Her three children, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie and Prince Albert have continued her good work, keeping Monaco’s royal family and Monaco as a top destination in the spotlight. Today, Monaco is regarded as a sophisticated location that is well equipped to cater for its high-end residents and visitors, from celebrities to business leaders.  

A joie de vivre that lives on

A stroke caused Princess Grace’s car to veer out of control in 1982 cutting her admirable life short. Her royal funeral attracted around 100 million television viewers as she was laid to rest in Monaco; a tribute to how loved she was and the influence she had not only within the principality but around the world.  

As Princess Grace of Monaco, the Philadelphia-born actress added an artistic sensitivity and creative verve to Monaco that still lives on today. Her achievements in creating and inspiring the wonderful attributes of Monaco and her ambitious zest for life symbolize the true spirit of Monaco today.