This past April 19th marked the 60th anniversary of Prince Rainier lll and Princess Grace of Monaco’s wedding day. If ever a couple dove head first into a so called fairytale marriage without checking to see if there was any water in the pool beforehand, it was these two. Having met during a Paris Match arranged photo shoot at the Grimaldi palace while Grace was hosting the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, and engaged in a passionate on again off again liaison with French actor Jean Pierre Aumont at the time, she and Rainier exchanged letters over the course of the following 8 months until His Serene Highness flew to Philadelphia, where Grace was celebrating Xmas with her family, and proposed after less than 72 hours in her company. Miss Kelly more than willingly accepted.
Needless to write, both parties entered into this betrothal with ulterior motives. Perhaps Gore Vidal, who was working as a screenwriter at Grace’s Hollywood studio at the time, summed up her reasons best for escaping Tinseltown through means of quasi-royal matrimony when he recalled in his memoir, Palimpsest,a conversation both of them had at a cocktail party shortly before she departed for Monaco. He asked her directly why, after having recently won the Oscar for best actress and clearly now at the height of her career, would she throw away everything she’s worked for just to go marry and live with a man on the French Riviera whose little more than a glorified casino proprietor. Reminding him what a make up call was, i.e. the time in which an actress is called into a studio to be cosmetically made up for whatever film she was acting in at the moment, Grace told Gore that, because she was only 26, hers was still at a reasonable hour in the morning. When she was heavy, however, it would usually be moved up 30 minutes. She then went over a list of older actresses whose make up calls were earlier than hers until she concluded with Irene Dunne, a Hollywood veteran who by the time Miss Kelly arrived at MGM to be dolled up for the day’s shooting looked as if she’d been in her chair the whole of the previous night. Grace then declared she was leaving show business before such a fate befell her!
Truth be told, she had a point. For Grace Kelly had never been renown for being a great actress.