Thursday, February 7, 2008

Til Death Do Us Part – Ranier and Grace Grimaldi

I have to admit I love a good fairy tale. But unlike Disney's "happy ever after," this fairy tale had a rocky start with two people who had to work hard at their relationship after the wedding. I also love the elegance and class of Princess Grace.

Prince Ranier & Princess Grace
The fairy tale would begin on May 1955 when American 26-year-old Grace Kelly attended the Cannes Film Festival. A French magazine thought it would be good press for her to meet the dashing Prince Ranier from the small principality of Monaco. At the height of her acting career she announced her engagement to the prince. On April 4, 1956, Grace set sail from New York aboard the S.S. Constitution bound for Monaco.

On April 18, 1956, in a civil ceremony she became Princess of Monaco and the following day the marriage was given a religious blessing at a ceremony in Monaco’s St. Nicholas Cathedral.

The early years of their marriage were difficult ones. She found it difficult adjusting to her new role as wife to a man used to having his own way and a country that had certain expectations of their new princess. He found it difficult to understand his independent wife. Prince Ranier would tell a reporter "So the Princess and I have always tried to minimize any sort of incident or little disagreement between us in the interest of keeping the family together—so that the children should not suffer."

Grace found a way to incorporate her own interests into her work as Princess to benefit the Monegasques. Ranier worked at meeting the needs of his wife and allowed his wife to spend the time she needed with her family.

After much work (from both of them) they found the love that only hard work and hard times could produce. Ten years into their marriage Princess Grace would say "Marriage is not an end in itself. It takes a lot to make it work."

Formal portrait
In Septmber of 1982 in a conversation with her sister, Grace explained she needed to get back to the Prince. Her sister told her "Don't you think he can survive for a few weeks without you?" Grace replied "No, I know what he needs. He needs me." On September 13th Grace left their country home to return to the palace. On her way, Grace missed a turn on the road, sending her car over a cliff. The injuries would result in her death.

Prince Ranier's grief at Grace's funeral was visible for all to see. He never seemed to recover from her death, at state occassions he seemed to be a shell of his former self. In the formal portraits of the Prince you see the Princess' portrait always in the background.


Kelly said...

Oh Kim! I *love* that you included this story! Ever since I was a child, I've loved Princess Grace. I used to lament that I didn't have a princess name (unlike my childhood best friend Diana) but my dad always said, "Yes you do, Grace Kelly!" I'd roll my eyes because her LAST name was my first name and that just didn't count. ;o)

I really grew to think that she was wonderful, though, and she was also a Philadelphian like me and my grandpop actually worked for her father's company. :o)

Kim said...

I have always loved this story also. That is so amazing that your grandpop worked for their company! There are so many interesting facts about her that didn't flow with the love story part, but are so fascinating. I have several books about her, but keep away from the "real" story books that like to turn peoples lives into scandals (for our enjoyment).
Your dad sounds like he's got a quick sense of humor. I was just graduating high school when Diana married her prince, it really is sad that they couldn't take a page from the Grimaldi's book and work at the marriage.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love Princess Grace. She was so beautiful. This really taught me a lot about her. Thanks for postign this on the internet, I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I really love Princess Grace. She is like a hero. I have always wanted to be a princess, even with all the press. I never knew all this about her. She is a wonderful person, thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

You have told the story of HSH Princess Grace of Monaco, nee Grace Kelly, very well indeed! Thank you from the heart of this big Grace Kelly fan.