A life in pictures: the fairytale of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace

By admin
19 April 2016

Every generation has their royal fairytale.

Every generation produces a fairytale romance that touches people’s hearts.

In recent years the world was enthralled by the marriage of Prince William and his Kate, followed soon by that of Prince Albert of Monaco and our own Charlene Wittstock.

Read more: Prince Albert and Princess Charlene release first family Christmas card

But the original royal fairytale of the 20th century is the story of the handsome ruler of a tiny principality who won the heart of an exquisite Hollywood actress. April 19, 2016 marks what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary.

Prince Rainier III reigned in Monaco on the French Riviera, the glittering playground of the rich and famous.

Grace Kelly was the daughter of a builder from Philadelphia in the United States who considered his daughter’s chosen career as just a fraction above living on the street. As a 20-year-old she’d started her acting career, going on to land five leading roles in films and even an Oscar for her part in The Country Girl.

On the set of another Hitchcock thriller, Rear Window

Ironically it was this very career choice that made her the darling of the world.

Rainier met her in 1955 while she was on the Riviera filming an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, To Catch a Thief.

Read more: Meet Jacques and Gabriella! Charlene and Albert present their twin tots

It was magazine Paris Match that came up with the idea of a meeting between gorgeous Grace and the handsome prince. Photographer Edward Quinn would capture the moment on film for the French news and celebrity magazine.

“Prince Rainier was late for the appointment,” he recalled. And the lensman made the most of the time by photographing Grace in virtually every room in the palace – even the throne room.

Grace Kelly’s first visit to Monaco

“When the prince arrived, Grace made a discreet, American-type curtsy and they shook hands.”

After the encounter she apparently said, “He’s a very charming man.”

The prince was in love; she wasn’t. But his perseverance and stream of letters to her eventually bore fruit.

Three days after he’d met her parents he asked her for her hand in marriage. She said yes and soon preparations were in full swing for the wedding of the century.

In her last film, High Society, she wears her own engagement ring during her duet with Bing Cosby.

A close-up of the engagement ring: an emerald-cut diamond with baguette-cut diamonds on either side.

Prince Rainier III had a whopping 139 titles over and above that of prince, and he was the monarch of a principality of 20 000 residents.

Alfred Hitchcock apparently announced pithily he was “very happy that Grace has found herself such a good part”.

Two marriage ceremonies awaited the couple: the civil ceremony on 18 April 1956 was followed by a church wedding the next day.

Princess Grace’s wedding gown was designed by Oscar winner Helen Rose of MGM. It took three dozen seamstresses six weeks to make it.

A photo posted by Ella Moda (@ella_moda) on

A photo posted by Yonara Carmenn (@blogsweetchic) on

The price and his princess with their firstborn, Caroline.

Princess Grace with little Albert, now married to South Africa’s Charlene Wittstock.

1962 ? Grace, Princess of Monaco with son Prince Albert // #gracekelly #princessgrace #princealbert

A photo posted by Grace Kelly (@alwaysgracekelly) on

On 13 September 1982 the fairytale came to a heartbreaking end when Princess Grace died after the car in which she and her 17-year-old daughter Stephanie were travelling plunged down a mountainside.

Prince Rainier never remarried. He died in 2005 and was buried next to his wife in the Monaco cathedral where they’d married so many years earlier.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the marriage of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, the Prince’s Palace in Monaco will exhibit photographs depicting the romance of the century from 12 to 19 April 2016.

A photo posted by @miss_nostalgiamc on

Sources: edwardquinn.com,time.com, wikipedia.com, chicagotribue.com

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