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Royal Romance: An Insight into Grace Kelly’s Husband The Prince Of Monaco and Their Life Together

This article peels back the layers of the enigmatic Prince Rainier III, the famous Grace Kelly's husband. From their charismatic romance to their regal progeny, learn how their historic union transformed the narrative of Monaco's royal family.
by Rob Gillham | Dec 11 2023
Credits: GoodHousekeeping

Grace Kelly, forever remembered as the epitome of Hollywood glamour and the American princess, led an intriguing life that drew worldwide attention. Her story continually garners interest, mainly her enchanted marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco, fondly referenced as Grace Kelly’s husband.

This article explores deeper into intriguing details about the man dubbed as the partner of an iconic figure in pop culture and history.

The Story of Prince Rainier II: How Grace Kelly Became a Princess 

In April 1955, Grace Kelly led the U.S. representation at the Cannes Film Festival. During her time in France, she was allowed to partake in a photographic session with Prince Rainier III, the reigning Prince of Monaco.

Despite multiple setbacks, she eventually met him at the Prince’s Palace on May 6, 1955. After a year of rational courtship, they married on April 19, 1956.

As per Monaco’s Napoleonic Code and the norms of the Catholic Church, the couple conducted two ceremonies, one civil and one religious. 

The brief civil ceremony commenced in the Palace Throne Room on April 18, 1956, attended by 3000 Monégasque citizens and followed by a reception. Kelly’s numerous acquired official titles were recited formally.

The following day, they underwent a religious ceremony at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, followed by millions of viewers worldwide. Their wedding was spectacular, with around 700 guests attending.

The crowd comprised notable figures from Hollywood and European royalty, including Ava Gardner, Aristotle Onassis, Cary Grant, and David Niven.

New Princess Duties: Grace Kelly’s Responsibilities as a Princess

Post-marriage, Grace gave up her acting career, dedicating her time to fulfilling her new responsibilities as a princess. She engaged in philanthropic initiatives and became the head of Monaco’s Red Cross and the Patron of Rainbow Coalition Children, an orphanage by Josephine Baker.

During their marital life, Grace and Prince Rainier visited Ireland thrice and bought Grace’s ancestral home in Drimurla, near Newport, County Mayo, in 1976. Grace established AMADE Mondiale, an internationally recognized non-profit organization, after witnessing the distress of Vietnamese children.

Grace’s devotion to the arts led to the formation of the Princess Grace Foundation in 1964. 

Grace Kelly’s Unfulfilled Hollywood Return

Six years into her marriage, Grace Kelly expressed her desire to revisit her acting roots away from the confines of her royal existence. 

Renowned director Alfred Hitchcock, a former collaborator in the classics ‘Dial M for Murder,’ ‘Rear Window,’ and ‘To Catch a Thief,’ extended an opportunity for her to star in his new project, ‘Marnie.’ Excitedly, she accepted, backed by her husband.

However, it was soon apparent that the residents of Monaco were against the idea of their princess playing a kleptomaniac, forcing her to withdraw from the role. 

Despite these setbacks, Grace Kelly was able to star in the short film titled ‘Rearranged,’ directed by Robert Dornhelm, where she portrayed herself alongside a special appearance by her husband. This short, 27-minute film is still preserved in the palace.

Children of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III had three children together: Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stephanie, who have all led accomplished and impactful lives. 

Prince Albert II is currently the reigning monarch of Monaco. He ascended the throne in July 2005, following the death of his father, Rainier III.

Known for his deep concern for global environmental issues, Prince Albert II established the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in 2006, which addresses ecological challenges and promotes sustainable development worldwide.

Princess Caroline, the eldest of the siblings, holds numerous royal duties and is active in multiple charitable causes. She served as the president of the Monaco Red Cross and many other philanthropic organizations in Monaco.

Also known for her keen interest in arts, she has been president of the Friends of the Monte-Carlo Ballet board. 

Princess Stephanie, the youngest of the siblings, has worn many hats throughout her life, including being a singer, swimwear designer, and model. Devoting much of her life to humanitarian causes, she has been notably active in combating AIDS.

Stephanie founded “Fight AIDS Monaco” in 2004, a charity dedicated to battling HIV and supporting patients. 

Gone Too Soon: Grace Kelly’s Tragic Death 

On the fateful day of September 13, 1982, Grace Kelly experienced a minor cerebral stroke while driving from her country residence in Roc Agel back to Monaco.

This episode led to her losing control of her 1971 Rover P6 3500, causing the car to plunge a sharp, twisting roadway and descend the 120-foot mountainside. Her teenage daughter, Stephanie, a passenger in the car, failed to regain control of the vehicle. 

Grace was rushed to the Monaco Hospital, now known as the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, with severe injuries to the brain, thorax, and a broken femur. Sadly, she succumbed to her injuries the next day after Prince Rainier made the heart-wrenching decision to switch off her life support.

Stephanie, who had been in the car with her mother, had only a minor concussion and a hairline fracture in a cervical vertebra. Princess Grace’s funeral was conducted at the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate in Monaco-Ville on September 18, 1982.

After a solemn Requiem Mass, she was laid to rest in the Grimaldi family vault. Over 400 attendees were present, among them renowned figures like Cary Grant, Nancy Reagan, Danielle Mitterrand, Empress Farah of Iran, and Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Prince Rainier, who never remarried, was laid to rest next to Grace Kelly upon his death in 2005.

Remarriage Plans of Prince Rainier III

After the tragic death of Princess Grace, Prince Rainier III remained a widower until his death in 2005, with no public evidence indicating he ever planned to remarry.

Why Wasn’t Prince Rainier a King?

Despite his status and power as the ruler of Monaco, Prince Rainier is never referred to as a king due to the principality’s constitution. The title of ‘King’ is meant for rulers of larger regions or countries, whereas Monaco, with its geography, is headed by a ‘Prince.’

Drawing the life of Grace Kelly and her husband to a close requires acknowledging not only the fantasy-driven narratives but also the true stories of their love story grounds in history. Discover the collection Celebrity Stories on Blinkist to immerse yourself further in the captivating stories of historical figures. Act today, and embrace this fascinating journey with a free 7-day trial. 

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