Great Love Stories № 01 | Grace Kelly & Prince Rainer III of Monaco
Friday 30th March, 2012
by Joey Bailey
courtship [ˈkɔːtʃɪp] noun
1. the wooing of one person by another
2. the period during which such wooing takes place
Many of the world’s greatest love stories begin with love at first sight; then there are those, which take a little longer for love to blossom . . .
Friday, May 6, 1955 was to be a day like any other for the calculatingly beautiful silver screen actress, Grace Kelly — she would speak to the press of an upcoming film, provide numerous media interviews, go to the hairdresser, meet a prince in Monaco & attend a gala dinner held in her honour that night.
The first meeting between Prince Rainier III of Monaco & Grace Kelly had been arranged by Paris-Match & it is rumoured that Grace, exhausted by her whirlwind European tour, originally attempted to cancel the meeting — but, as if intended by Cupid himself, she attended; what proceeded was an elegant afternoon strolling through the palace gardens with much polite conversation. Needless to say, the first meeting was not entirely romantic due in large part, to the addition of numerous photographers, royal minders & a journalist.
Following this amicable first meeting, Prince Rainier announced he had been charmed with Grace’s freshness, her maturity, her sensitivity and her culture. And to her friends, Grace declared the most eligible bachelor in Europe to be ‘charming’.
The two began to write one another regularly, and although there were no romantic inclinations, they grew immensely fond of one another, and months of private correspondence allowed the sharing of many intimate details, from their greatest fear to their most cherished childhood memories, they felt as if they had known each other forever.
Above: the dress was a high-necked, long-sleeved gown with a fitted torso made from antique Valenciennes rose point lace and a billowing skirt made of twenty-five yards of silk taffeta, one hundred yards of silk net, peau de soie, tulle and 125-year-old Brussels rose point lace [more about Valenciennes & Brussels lace here]
Many months passed until finally, Rainier confided in his royal chaplain that he could not stop thinking of the enchanting young American. The royal chaplain, in an effort to aid the prince’s happiness, wrote a secret letter to Grace revealing the feelings the prince had described to him. Grace immediately replied that she hoped to meet him again on her next visit to Europe.
Satisfied with the response he received, the priest immediately proceeded to arrange a trip to the United States for himself and the prince. Several days before Christmas, the pair travelled by transatlantic liner to New York, and then by rail to Philadelphia to stay with friends of the priest, the Austins.
Above, in December, 1955, the engagement of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier was announced; he first gave her a friendship ring of diamonds and rubies (above}, followed by a twelve-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring
By hopeless romantic coincidence, the Austins were dear friends of the Kellys and had, in fact, been invited to spend the holidays with them. What followed was a week of frivolity and holiday merriment — the Kelly family were instantly smitten with the prince.
One week later, while spending an intimate New Year’s Eve together in a New York blanketed in snow, the Prince proposed.
The love story was hailed a ‘fairytale of modern times’ between the golden girl of the silver screen and her charming suitor, Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
Above, the bride wore a Juliet cap decorated with thousands of seed pearls, appliquéd lace lovebirds, orange blossoms, and a veil of 90 yards of tulle
Hollywood was delighted, and the people of Monaco jubilant — this amorous union enchanted the world, and the press could not resist reporting on every detail of what was to be remembered as ‘the wedding of the century’.
Summing up their enthralling & beguiling union, the now Princess Grace was quoted as saying, “When I married Prince Rainier, I married the man and not what he represented or what he was. I fell in love with him without giving a thought to anything else.”
What began as a scheduled meeting, arranged by agents and PR representatives, slowly and quietly evolved into a love affair.
The courtship that spanned many months was what allowed this relationship to grow and develop into what truly is one of the great love stories . . .
Joey Bailey Contributor, Australia
Inspired by film noir, F. Scott Fitzgerald novels & the thought of a summer spent in Paris, this high tea connoisseur enjoys photography & designing & making her own clothes. Joey has been buying fashion, wedding & interior design magazines since a wonderfully young age, and would spend hours browsing through their glossy pages making ‘inspirational’ scrapbooks. Never spotted without high heels, a sketchpad, a pop of pink lipstick & a strong coffee— Joey adores great love stories, chandeliers, crème brûlée, the French countryside & sequins & sparkles & her long time sweetheart— the love of her life whose kisses still give her butterflies …