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Princess Grace Kelly left her indelible mark of elegance upon the face of fashion and luxury. At Luxuria Magazine, we intend to bring our readers all the latest news and trends as they are unfolding in the luxury and travel world. We have therefore chosen Princess Grace as a source of our inspiration, adapting her sense of natural style and enviable class to our articles on travel, luxury cars and fashion. Stay tuned to this space and in the wise words of Princess Grace “Don’t be like the rest of them, darling”.
As one of the most beautiful faces of the twentieth century, Princess Grace Patricia Kelly, never regarded her life as a fairytale. On the contrary, she believed in the importance of working hard with persistence and honesty for everything that you earn.
From the outside looking in, Grace did live the fairytale life with a vibrant acting career that was in full bloom just before marrying her charming Prince Rainier. Grace was also a great contributor to the arts, a fashion trend setter and known for her many years of dedicated philanthropic work. But a look under the surface reveals a woman who was torn between loves; of that towards her husband and her acting career. This ongoing tension caused her much unrest throughout her adult life and was a tension that she was never able to completely resolve.
Grace Kelly was born on November 12, 1929 in Philadelphia. Her mother, Margaret Katherine Majer, who shared the same genetic good looks as her daughter, was a beauty queen and model in her earlier days. Yet, she also became the first woman to coach women’s athletic teams at the University of Pennsylvania. Her father, John B. Kelly, Sr., was a three time Olympic gold medalist in rowing, on retiring from the sport he founded a successful brickwork contracting company. As a strong democrat supporter, he registered with the party and in 1935 nominated to be mayor, but lost by the city’s ever smallest margin.
Grace’s formative years were spent in the religious Catholic environment of her parent’s community. She had two older siblings Margaret (June 13, 1925 – November 23, 1991) who latter became known as ‘Peggy’, John Jr (May 24, 1927 – March 2, 1985) and her younger sister, Elizabeth (June 25, 1933 – November 24, 2009). She attended a prestigious Catholic girls school, where even at that early age her beauty and acting skills made her stand out from the crowd. Along with her mother and sisters, Grace modeled fashions at local social events and then at age 12 starred in a short play called Don't Feed the Animals. On graduating from school, Grace was determined to pursue her acting career, despite it being adamantly against her father’s wishes who believed acting was "a slim cut above streetwalker”.
Timid but determined, Grace embarked on her early acting career after first being noticed by director John Ford in a 1950 screen test. He recognised Grace immediately as a woman who possessed "breeding, quality and class." She was hired and offered a seven-year contract with a salary of $850 a week where she was able to continue at New York City theatrical productions, whilst also performing for the big screen. This led to appearances in more than 40 episodes of drama productions during the vibrant 1950’s ‘Golden Age of Television’. Yet, it was not until 1953 when she starred in the film Mogambo, that she finally acclaimed stardom. The performance which takes place in the depths of Africa’s Nairobi, brought her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination. From there, the skies where the limit for Grace, where audiences couldn’t get enough of her stunning on screen performances. She played all the leading roles in subsequent films, one of which was The Country Girl, that despite being a risky role as it represented a deglamorized character, earned Grace her first Academy Award for Best Actress. Other most popular films included High Noon (1952), Dial M for Murder (1954) Rear Window (1954) with James Stewart, To Catch a Thief (1955) with Cary Grant, and High Society (1956) with Frank Sinatra.
Yet Grace’s colourful acting career entered into a stage of uncertainty, ironically when she represented the United States delegation at the Cannes Film Festival in April 1955. As part of the ceremonies she was invited to a photo session at the Palace of Monaco with Prince Rainier III, the sovereign of the principality. At that time Grace was dating the French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont, but after meeting the Prince of Monaco a whirlwind romance, that was to last a lifetime, commenced. After returning to America, Grace and Rainier continued to correspond. One can only imagine what may have been going through Grace’s mind as serendipitously, while her affections for the Prince were blossoming, she began to work on a film called The Swan, which coincidentally portrayed the love story of a princess.
In December of the same year Rainier took an official tour of America, which while having ostensibly diplomatic purposes was rumoured that he was actively seeking a wife. Indeed Prince Rainier was under considerable pressure to find a bride as a treaty made with France in 1918 accorded that if their was no heir to the Kingdom of Monaco, than the principality would revert to France. At a press conference during his US visit he was in fact asked if he was seeking a wife, to which he replied in the negative, but then he was countered with "If you were pursuing a wife, what kind would you like?" Rainier smiled and answered, "I don't know – the best."
As the romance continued to develop Rainier met with Kelly’s family and only after three short days he proposed and Grace readily agreed. Upon the Kelly family making a dowry payment of $2 million, the details of their most elaborate wedding was put into motion. Indeed, with the remarkable combination of exceptional fame, wealth and royalty this was deemed "The Wedding of the Century". As news of the engagement became a sensation, a wedding date was set for April 19, 1956. However, in a bitter-sweet combination for Grace, it also entailed the demise of her vibrant acting career. Alfred Hitchcock sent his blessings that he was "very happy that Grace has found herself such a good part."
As the wedding date approached, over 400 reporters intended to arrive on the shores of Monaco, though most were turned away. As Grace arrived to her new home of the Palace of Monaco, 20,000 of the principality’s residents were there to welcome her, lining the streets of Monaco in crowds.
The principality of Monaco is governed by both the Napoleonic Code of Monaco and the laws of the Roman Catholic Church, which necessitated two ceremonies; a civil ceremony and a religious wedding. The civil ceremony took place first in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco on April 18, where a short 16-minute service took place along with a recital of the 142 official titles that she had now acquired. The following day, a much grander ceremony was held at Monaco's Saint Nicholas Cathedral, estimated to have been watched live by over 30 million viewers from around the globe. 700 guests were invited to share in the ceremony which included Aristotle Onassis, Cary Grant, David Niven, Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner and Conrad Hilton amidst a roll call of the world’s wealthiest and most glamorous. In her own words of “Not being like the rest of them, Darling”. Grace’s wedding dress was an intricate and delicate ensemble of lace and satin, designed by the award winning Helen Rose.
No longer able to continue her acting career, Grace dedicated herself to her daily duties as princess and became involved with numerous philanthropic projects. Whilst gradually adjusting to this new lifestyle and becoming a mother to Caroline in 1957 and then to Albert Alexandre in 1958. Grace continued to miss the thrill and exhilaration that came with being on the big screen. When Hitchcock offered Kelly the lead role in the film Marnie in 1962, it was difficult for Grace to resist the offer. Yet, once it became known, it was met with public outcry by the people of Monaco, not to mention the deep dissatisfaction of her husband Prince Rainier. The film was to depict Grace as an unapologetic kleptomaniac and she was compelled to rescind the offer, much to her enormous regret. This episode amongst a number of other offers from Hollywood caused deep fractures between Grace and her relationship with Rainier.
Yet not completely giving up her cherished profession of acting, she eventually returned to the arts through on stage poetry recitals and narrated the documentaries The Children of Theater Street and The Poppy Is Also a Flower for the ABC. As Grace continued to find these approved outlets of film appearances, after time, Rainier eventually became more palatable to the idea of his wife on stage. By 1979, on the path to healing this cord in their relationship, they worked together in a short 30 minute independent film called Rearranged. The film received interest by ABC TV executives after having premiered in Monaco, They advised that they would take it up on the condition that it be extended to an hour. Unfortunately, this never eventuated as Grace died prematurely on September 14 1982.
The day before her death Grace suffered a stroke whilst driving causing her to crash her car, a 1971 Rover P6 3500 down a 120 ft mountainside. With her daughter Stephanie in the passenger seat, they drove off the steep winding road and while her daughter only sustained minor injuries, Grace had incurred major head injuries, fractured ribs and other irreparable damage. The doctors concurred that she had suffered a minor stroke before the accident and was therefore more susceptible to another. On this advice, Rainier decided to take her off life support and Grace subsequently died. Her untimely death left her family in mourning, the principality of Monaco in great loss and the world in horrified shock. Grace was never able to complete her life’s cumulative project of filming Rearranged with her husband. The film was never to be shown again.
Although Grace Kelly’s marriage to her royal husband meant an effective end to her acting career, her many subsequent charitable contributions to the world have not been forgotten. Grace founded AMADE Mondiale, a Monaco-based non-profit organization recognized by the UN, that seeks to protect and promote the "moral and physical integrity" and "spiritual well-being of children throughout the world, without distinction of race, nationality or religion and in a spirit of complete political independence." Her daughter, Princess Caroline, continues to carry the torch for AMADE in her role as President.
Princess Grace believed in the importance of doing good, in anyway that you can, in anyway that you know how. She was quoted during her lifetime for saying “I would like to be remembered as someone who accomplished useful deeds, and who was a kind and loving person. I would like to leave the memory of a human being with a correct attitude and who did her best to help others.” Grace Kelly meant those words and this is testified in her actions. Additional to her work at AMADE she formed the Princess Grace Foundation in 1964 to support arts institutions in Monaco, that went a long way to support local artisans. She also spoke on behalf of La Leche League to advocate the health benefits of breastfeeding along with annually organizing a Christmas party for the Monaco’s orphans.
After her death her legacy as a fashion symbol lived on. Many of the world’s most prominent fashion designers such as Tommy Hilfiger and Zac Posen acknowledge her as an inspiration behind their work. In her lifetime, she became known for introducing the “fresh-faced” look that involved bright skin with minimal makeup. In a tribute made to Grace Kelly at the Victoria and Albert museum of London, an exhibition named "Grace Kelly: Style Icon", included 50 of her clothing ensembles. She is credited for finessing the “college-girl” look by a pulled-together and yet simple style.
In Grace Kelly’s own words “Your dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman, and loose enough to show you’re a lady” and in that manner, that is exactly what she was.
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