inspiration

Great Love Stories № 01 | grace kelly & prince rainer III of monaco

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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 . . .

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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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.

gk-7Above: 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.

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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.

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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.

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One week later, while spending an intimate New Year’s Eve together in a New York blanketed in snow, the Prince proposed.

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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.

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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’.

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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.”
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What began as a scheduled meeting, arranged by agents and PR representatives, slowly and quietly evolved into a love affair.

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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

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[images, in no particular order : one /// two /// three /// four /// five /// six /// seven /// eight /// nine /// ten /// eleven /// twelve /// thirteen /// fourteen /// fifteen /// sixteen]

NET-A-PORTER
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 …
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32 Notes
  • What a beautiful romance! Grace Kelly is so elegant and well put together. I loved this post, thanks for sharing! x

  • Such an amazing love story! Thanks for this post, wonderful pics! xx

  • Wonderful post! Grace is so beautiful… love her.

  • Adore Grace Kelly… “To Catch a Thief” is still one of my favorite movies. Thank you for such a wonderful new series… if this is any sign of how the rest of the series will be, we are all in for a treat!

  • Beautiful pictures. I actually just ordered the Grace Kelly biography yesterday.

    Love from South Africa

  • Gloriously romantic.

  • I LOVE this! so beautiful.

  • Wonderful love story. Grace Kelly was a beautifull e elegant woman. I loved this post.
    See you soon.

  • Grace Kelly is my beauty icon xx

  • And the Prince never remarried, though Grace died 23 years before he did in a car accident.

  • Noboby is beautiful like her…

  • One of the most beautiful, romantic weddings. What a love story. These photographs are wonderful, and some I have never seen before. Thank you for this post. It is one of my favorites.

  • I love that this was the first in the series. What a beautiful story. I’ve always dreamed of getting married in a teeny tiny church as she did in Monaco.

  • this is so beautiful! i am so excited about this series!!

  • I am so excited about this new series! This was a truly very lovely post. xo, Jolie

  • One of your last images is not Princess Grace and Prince Ranier but Grace Kelly and Clark Gable.Nice post, great pictures.

  • How beautiful this story is! I find it so endearing that the two wrote to one another, sharing details of who they are, and a bit about their lives. Thank you for sharing their story—it is so inspiring!

    Wonderfully written, and the images that coincide are lovely!

    Warmly,
    Sarah

  • This is a beautiful post, thank you for beginning this sweet series. Look forward to reading more and enjoying your beautiful collection of images.

    xx

  • I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff. Thanks for the post. Made my mid-morning.

  • kim fisher — thank you — yes, had known :) but it was late, and there was exhaustion, but all fixed now x

  • JuLee said...

    I love this post! Nice to be reminded that lasting true love is not always all about instant attraction. What if Grace has not gone to that meeting? Sigh. Just lovely to read this and see these photos. Elegance needs a resurgence in our society.

  • Anonymous said...

    Having seen the beautiful exhibition of her clothes in London in 2010, I am in the lucky position of being able to see them again in Australia this month (Bendigo Art Gallery in country Victoria). Such an inspiring person and a lovely story.

  • Man……

    I read her Bio about a decade ago and I forgot most of it!

    imagine being so fabulous every day?

  • She was so beautiful, stylish and graceful. The wedding dress designed by Helen Rose was simply gorgeous, one of the most beautiful dresses ever created for a high-profile wedding.
    Ada

  • This was so lovely…thank you for sharing!

  • Anonymous said...

    Love THIS love story – is pure and honest. I love how it is a fairtytale and to top it off…the prince never remarried because no one can replace the princess in his heart and in his life. That’s is love right there

  • Beautiful story — their life together began truly as a fairy tale! So lovely to read about it and see Grace Kelly in pictures again. It has been too long for me!

  • ahhhh this is gorgeous x

  • Anonymous said...

    the most beautiful princess and the most beautiful wedding dress! lovely…

  • Reading stories like this makes me feel hopeful. Thank you for creating this lovely entry!

  • Anonymous said...

    Note Prince Ranier looks like Clark Gable and Grace (ditched by Gable ) went from Gable to Ranier.

  • Such a beautiful love story, too bad the film ‘Grace Of Monaco’ couldn’t be based on their love story, rather a contaminated mishmash of pure fiction, lies & ugliness. Hollywood should make a film on their love story, not some political conflicts.

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