2005-09-14 21:59:53 UTC
Princess Grace Is Dead After Riviera Car Crash
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FROM: The New York Times (September 15th 1982) ~
By Clyde Haberman
Princess Grace of Monaco, whose stately beauty and reserve gave her
enduring Hollywood stardom even long after she ended her film career,
died yesterday in Monte Carlo of injuries suffered when her car
plunged off a mountain road Monday. She was 52 years old.
The Princess, the former Grace Kelly, died of a cerebral hemorrhage, a
palace spokesman said in Monaco. Princess Grace wa driving her British
Rover 3500 on a snaking road at Cap-d'Ail in the Cote d'Azur region
when she lost control and plunged down a 45-foot embankment. The car
burst into flames, and the Princess suffered multiple fractures,
including a broken thighbone, collarbone and ribs.
Initial reports gave no sense that her life was in jeopardy. But a
Monaco Government announcement yesterday said that her health had
''deteriorated during the night.''
''At the end of the day all therapeutic possibilities had been
exceeded,'' the announcement said. With her in the car was Stephanie,
17, her youngest child by Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Stephanie was
under observation at a hospital where she had been treated for shock
Reagan Praises 'Gentle Lady'
Princess Grace's death brought expressions of grief from former
Hollywood colleagues and from residents of her hometown, Philadelphia.
President Reagan called her ''a compassionate and gentle lady.'' In
Philadelphia, a spokesman for John Cardinal Krol said the Cardinal,
who was a close friend, would offer a memorial mass for her at noon
Alfred Hitchcock, who directed Grace Kelly in three films and was
certainly in a position to judge, once said she had ''sexual
elegance.'' And it was that very elegance that probably made its most
lasting impression on movie audiences of the 1950's.
Whether playing the heiress in ''To Catch a Thief'' or the Quaker
pacifist in ''High Noon'' or the amusedly detached career girl - a
term still in vogue when ''Rear Window'' was made - Grace Kelly
carried herself with straight back and clipped-voice self-assurance.
Yet just beneath the frosty exterior lay a sensuality and warmth that
cracked the formidable reserve.
It was this delicate balance of contrasts that helped give her
legendary status - a remarkable achievement for an actress whose
career encompassed only 11 films. She made more of that small
portfolio than actors who lasted in Hollywood many more decades. Twice
she was nominated for an Academy Award, and once she won it, for her
1954 performance in ''The Country Girl.'' There was a certain irony in
the fact that the Oscar came, not for her portrayal of yet another
detached beauty but of a frumpy harridan, desperate in her unhappy
By then the range of her talent was obvious, and Miss Kelly was
constantly in demand for a variety of screen roles. But just as
swiftly as her film career blossomed, it came to an abrupt end in 1956
when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco, the tiny principality on
the French Riviera.
The year before she was in Cannes filming ''To Catch a Thief'' with
Cary Grant and it was at the film festival there that she met the
Prince, a member of the Grimaldis, Europe's oldest royal family. At
first, their friendship seemed little more than a good story for the
gossip columns - Hollywood star meets royalty and both drive off into
a gold and purple Mediterranean sunset.
But before long it became clear that there was more than that to this
relationship. He went to Philadelphia to spend a Christmas holiday
with her family. She went to Monte Carlo to visit him in his 200-room
Couple Marry in Cathedral
On April 18, 1956, shortly after she completed the movie ''High
Society,'' they were married in the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in
Monaco. It was a media event of such staggering proportion that Miss
Kelly, now Princess Grace, later suggested that she and the Prince
should have been awarded battle ribbons for all the fighting that was
required for them to push through the crowds.
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With marriage, she abandoned acting. The effect, as time passed, was
to burnish her film career in public memory. Early on in her marriage
she received many offers of movie roles but she kept turning them
down. Some of her former colleagues in Hollywood could not understand
why, but Gary Cooper, her co-star in ''High Noon,'' shrugged off the
idea of a Kelly comeback.
''Why should she?'' he said. ''She's moved from an artificial stage to
a real one.''
Her Duties Predominate
Periodically, there would be reports that she was indeed about to
resume her career but nothing ever came of them. ''Here I have my
obligations and duties as a princess and mother,'' she said. ''One
cannot do everything.''
Her life as Princess of Monaco was obviously enhanced by privilege but
also circumscribed by duty. She became a supporter of charities and
cultural events. Much of her time was devoted to her three children,
the oldest of whom, Princess Caroline, was born in 1957. In recent
years, Princess Caroline outranked her mother as a source of
fascination for curiosity-seekers, mostly as a result of her marriage
to and then divorce from Phillipe Junot, a French businessman whom
some people liked to describe as ''the playboy next door.''
In recent years Princess Grace made occasional forays into show
business, never for very long and usually to read prose or poetry for
one benefit or another. She did make one movie, sort of, five years
ago - a delicate documentary about the Kirov Ballet school in
Leningrad called ''The Children of Theater Street.'' The Princess
narrated the film and appeared on screen briefly. But when,
inevitably, the question arose whether she would plunge fully into
work once again, she smiled at her interviewer and said, ''Oh, no, not
''I'm getting older, too, dear,'' she added. ''The only one who isn't
is Cary Grant.''
Safely Short of Iciness
A lot of people would have said the same thing about her. Always, she
had a beauty that came perilously close to iciness but managed to stop
safely short. Scratch that coating of ice - and most of her directors
did - and exposed just beneath the surface was, variously, warmth,
intelligence and sexuality. She could even be whimsical, in a detached
fashion, a quality that she showed to advantage in ''Rear Window,'' in
which she was the girlfriend of James Stewart, a photographer with a
broken leg who witnesses a murder across the courtyard from his
Perhaps no one caught the inherent sensuality more than Hitchcock, who
said in later interviews that this was no mean trick, given Miss
Kelly's reserve. A good example of the passion was a love scene with
Cary Grant in ''To Catch a Thief.'' These days, a younger generation
might regard the scene as coy, but the sight of Grant and Kelly
embracing while fireworks exploded at a Cannes carnival in the
background was enough to send the blood of more than a few moviegoers
For herself, Miss Kelly was never comfortable with her popular image
as an ice queen. ''I'm not an extrovert - but I'm not unfriendly
either,'' she told an interviewer early in 1955. ''I'm not the
exuberant type, but I don't like to read that I'm cold and distant. I
don't think I am.''
The patrician manner, suggesting English roots, did not accurately
reflect her Philadelphia background.
Father Acquires Riches
Princess Grace was born Nov. 12, 1929, into a family that in later
years would be compared frequently to the Kennedys - rich, attractive
and Irish-Catholic. The difference, however, was that the Kennedys
were from Boston, a kind of Irish-Catholic citadel; the Kellys were
from Philadelphia, a city in which few Irish had become prominent.
John Brendan Kelly, Princess Grace's father, was one of the first.
Mr. Kelly, the son of an immigrant, worked as a bricklayer. He was
also a local sculls champion. His 1920 entry into the English Diamond
Sculls at the Henley Regatta was refused, however, because he ''worked
with his hands'' -a manual laborer. Supposedly, he immediately sent
his sweaty rowing cap to the King of England as a souvenir.
The incident made Mr. Kelly a Philadelphia celebrity. He left
bricklaying and became a contractor, made money, and raised his family
in the comfortable suburb of Germantown. His wife, Margaret, was a
celebrated beauty, who, before her marriage, worked as a
Princess Grace was the third of their four children. There was an
older sister, Margaret, and an older brother, John B. Kelly Jr., who,
in 1947 and 1949, would win the Henley sculls championship that had
been denied his father. The victories, of course, added immeasurably
to the family mystique.
In later years, most stories about Princess Grace described her as a
shy, withdrawn child, despite her family's luster. Besides her
successful father, there were her successful uncles: George Kelly, a
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, and Walter C. Kelly, a famous
'Inner Tranquility' Noted
''She was a shy child, but there was a kind of inner tranquility and
quiet resourcefulness,'' Mrs. Kelly said about her daughter years
later. ''She never minded being kept in bed and would sit there with
her dolls for hours on end making up little plays. Grace would change
her voice for each doll, giving it a different character.''
Meanwhile, the Kellys continued to prosper. Mr. Kelly, who lost an
election for Mayor of Philadelphia in 1935, reportedly had entered the
contracting business with a loan of $7,000; by the mid-1950's, when
his daughter was already famous as an actress, his wealth was
estimated at $18 million.
As a child, Grace attended the Ravenhill Academy, a convent school,
and then the Stevens School, where she was graduated in 1947. She
applied to Bennington College in Vermont because of its drama
department, but was denied admission, apparently because she lacked
sufficient academic credits. As an alternative, she applied to, and
was accepted by, the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York. She
left Germantown forever, and moved into the Barbizon Hotel for Women.
Last April she returned to Philadelphia to be honored in ceremonies
that were part of the city's celebration of its 300th anniversary.
That the city still regarded her as one of its own was apparent in
remarks made by Mayor William Green upon the news of her death. ''She
was, and is, Philadelphia's once-and-always first lady,'' Mr. Green
After leaving Germantown Miss Kelly studied acting, and, as had her
mother before her, she became a photographer's model. In July 1949 she
made her professional debut at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope,
Pa., in a revival of George Kelly's comedy ''The Torch Bearers.'' On
Nov. 16, 1949, she made her Broadway debut as the Captain's daughter
in Strindberg's ''The Father'' at the Cort Theater.
By then, Miss Kelly was developing the coolness and beauty that would
make her famous. ''We noticed that her voice was beginning to
change,'' her mother said. ''Instead of her old nasal whine, she was
speaking in a lower, gentler register. Her sisters would make fun of
her, but she would say, 'I must talk this way - for my work.' They saw
that she was serious and stopped joking.''
Frequent Television Appearances
Meanwhile, Miss Kelly began appearing frequently on television,
usually in dramatic series: ''The Philco Television Television
Playhouse,'' ''Studio One,'' ''The Hallmark Hall of Fame,'' ''The
Somerset Maugham Theater,'' ''The Lux Video Theater,'' ''Robert
Montgomery Presents'' and ''The Armstrong Circle Theater.''
Miss Kelly made her movie debut in 1951, with a small part in a film
called ''Fourteen Hours.'' That summer she also joined the Elitch
Gardens Theater in Denver, appearing in a number of plays. She was
also cast in what was to be her first major success: the movie ''High
''High Noon'' marked Miss Kelly's emergence as a star. The Western,
which was directed by Fred Zinnemann, was a vehicle for Gary Cooper,
although in the small but important role of Mr. Cooper's Quaker wife
Miss Kelly was praised. But she confessed to doubts. ''I suddenly
thought, 'Perhaps I'm not going to be a great star,' '' she told an
interviewer, ''Perhaps I'm not any good after all.'' So she went back
to New York to brush up on her skills at Sanford Meisner's
Neighborhood Playhouse. Briefly, she returned to Broadway, in ''To Be
Continued.'' But on its demise, M-G-M signed her to a seven-year
contract and, at first, $750 a week.
Her first M-G-M assignment was ''Mogambo.'' It was directed by John
Ford, and it turned her from budding to full-fledged star. In this
1953 movie, filmed in Africa, Miss Kelly developed what would become
her quintessential movie persona. She was a patrician beauty who fell
in love with a white hunter, in this case Clark Gable. The part
brought Miss Kelly an Academy Award nomination as best actress.
Inevitably, there was talk that she was romantically involved with Mr.
Gable - the sort of speculation that would arise later in regard to
other co-stars, including Ray Milland, who appeared with her in her
next film, ''Dial M for Murder.'' Consistently, Miss Kelly declined to
discuss the rumors.
Her biggest screen triumph was in the film that brought her the Oscar,
''The Country Girl,'' in which she played opposite William Holden and
Bing Crosby. Initially, it was not to be her role. Jennifer Jones was
up for the part, but she became pregnant, eliminating her from
Significance Played Down
Characteristically, after the movie was a success and she walked off
with the Academy Award, Miss Kelly played down the significance.
''Next year, it will be somebody else,'' she said, but added, ''I'm
delighted it's me right now.''
In interviews, Miss Kelly displayed much of the reserve she brought to
her roles and it was often difficult for interviewers to extract
self-analysis. That difficulty bordered on impossibility at times
after she married Prince Rainier. Until recent years, she preferred a
relatively cloistered life. Not that she did not make her share of
public appearances; it was just that when she did emerge she chose to
For several years after her wedding, Hollywood held little appeal. But
in 1962 there was a brief announcement from the palace in Monaco that
she would return to motion pictures to star in the Hitchcock film
''Marnie.'' Friends were quoted as having said that she had agreed to
the comeback out of friendship for the director and that she had no
intention of allowing this to become a habit.
In fact, she wound up not doing ''Marnie'' at all. She changed her
mind, she said, explaining that she had received unfavorable reaction
from the people of Monaco. More important, she added, was that she did
not want to be separated for any great length of time from her
children - Princesses Caroline and Stephanie and Crown Prince Albert.
(Her part in the movie went to Tippi Hedren, yet another of the many
regal blondes whom Hitchcock favored.)
Life in a picture-book castle on a cliff above the Mediterranean was
no doubt rewarding for the former Miss Kelly, but she felt it also
forced her to be diligent.
One obvious difficulty was a tendency among some people to make jokes
about Monaco, assuming they thought about it at all. This was, after
all, a principality with many times more croupiers than soldiers.
Duties Taken Seriously
And so, as a serious person, the Princess took her royal duties
seriously, presiding at countless benefits and galas and
presentations. She once described a typical day as beginning at 7:15
A.M., with her then spending several hours at her desk and then
receiving visitors to the palace, with much of the remaining time
taken up with appearances at various projects and charities.
There was discomfort for the royal family when Princess Caroline
became romantically involved with Phillipe Junot and then married him
in 1978. It was difficult to pass a newsstand without seeing the young
Princess or her beau, or both, peering from the cover of at least one
gossip magazine. The barrage of publicity was an embarrassment to
Prince Rainier and his wife, especially when it grew fierce upon the
breakup of the young couple.
When she herself had wed, ''I told the Prince that we're not impressed
by royalty,'' Princess Grace said, referring to her and her father.
''We're impressed by the man. Marriage is not a game of musical chairs
with us. We play for keeps.''
Still, she was not believed to be distraught when Caroline's marriage
ended two years ago. In the the last few years, Princess Grace
rekindled curiosity about whether she might be leaning toward a
comeback. There was the ''Theater Street'' documentary and scattered
appearances, such as one last March, when she read prose and poetry
from the stage of the Chichester Festival Theater in England.
Once again, the Princess dismissed such talk. ''It's most unlikely
I'll ever go back to films,'' she said. ''I haven't made one for 20
FROM: Newsweek (September 27th 1982) ~
By Jack Kroll and Scott Sullivan (in Monaco)
First, there is the unspeakable sadness: the image of beautiful Grace
Kelly, dead at 52 in the embrace of twisted steel. The ironies come
crowding in: wasn't it the same twisting mountain road on which she
sped in "To Catch a Thief," scaring Cary Grant and titillating us? The
sunny, excruciating funeral: behind the white-draped coffin, anguish
totally remade the face of Princess Caroline. lt didn't belong to the
paparazzi now; it was the most personal face of her young life, fresh
with pain. The face of her father, Prince Rainier, was a crushed blur
between his silver hair and his medals. Prince Albert's face turned
grief into a shattered sweetness.
Along with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Her Serene Highness Princess
Grace of Monaco maintained a feverish public interest longer than any
celebrity of our time. Her death is perhaps the moment for an
examination of that damnable, irresistible idea of the celebrity.
Grace Kelly was a movie actress for only a bit longer than five years.
It was a meteoric five years -- 11 films, 2 Academy Award nominations,
1 Oscar. But if she had retired at 26 after her last film in 1956,
perhaps marrying some nice financier, lawyer or even another star, the
world would not 26 years later be ringing with thunderclap reactions
to her death. It was not a career that made her such an undimming
public icon, it was not even a life. lt was a transfiguration, or a
seeming one; the world, especially Americans, saw her as a creature
whom destiny had transformed into something rich and strange.
The phrase that followed her for 26 years, since she left her
career at its peak to marry Prince Rainier III, ruler of a vestpocket
principality, was "fairy tale." The idea that the movie star's life
became a fairy tale -- -that idea is the real fairy tale. Princess
Grace couldn't stand the phrase and the thought, and said so time and
again in no uncertain terms. "That sounds rather icky and revolting,"
she said earlier this year. "I certainly don't think ofmy life as a
fairy tale. I think of myselfas a modern, contemporary woman who has
had to deal with all kinds of problems that many women today have to
deal with." When the question of a movie comeback was raised many
years ago, Gary Cooper, her costar in "High Noon," said, "Why should
she? She's moved from an artificial stage to a real one."
Her life in Monaco was in its way a parody of a fairy tale. Did
Cinderella marry the prince, take charge of the Red Cross, the Girl
Guides, preside over local flower-arranging shows and charity affairs?
That was Princess Grace's life. Fairy tales are magic machines that
reality into a dream of transcendent happiness. They are a child's
Scriptures. The real magic was in the images that Grace Kelly evoked
in her short but unique film career. Those images remain.
Her basic image was the Snow Maiden concealing a potential avalanche.
She was the antithesis of Marilyn Monroe in the ambiguous '50s. As one
writer phrased it:
"Once upon a time the kingdom of Hollywood was ruled by two queens --
Grace the Good and Marilyn the Bad." With her cool, classic,
gold-and-ivory beauty, Grace Kelly was the portrait of a lady. In
"High Noon" she played the embattled sheriff's Quaker wife whose prim
bonnet belied a willpower that allowed her to pull the trigger on the
bad guys. In "Mogambo" she matched her demure adulteress against Ava
Gardner's raunchy bimbo for the pelt of Clark Gable. In "The Bridges
at Toko-Ri" she was the kind ofmilitary wife whom William Holden
wanted to come home to. In "The Country Girl" she won an Oscar for her
portrayal of the ravaged wife ofan alcoholic actor played by Bing
Crosby. But despite her Oscar, neither this performance nor the others
were stunning acting. It took a master film artist, Alfred Hitchcock,
to tap the electricity in Grace Kelly's perfect cells.
In three films Hitchcock created the Kelly woman -- a
creature whose impeccable exterior concealed a banked inferno of
erotic and emotional drives. In "Dial M for Murder," as the wife whose
silky husband (Ray Milland) plots to have her murdered, Kelly's
passive vulnerability takes on a disturbing, erotic charge --
innocence as spiritual masochism. "Rear Window" is more complex as
Kelly plays a kind of superCosmopolitan girl out to get James Stewart
into a marriage that he wants and fears. Kelly's ravishing movements
-- turning on the lights, sitting on Stewart's lap -- become a ballet
of tender entrapment. Best of all is "To Catch a Thief," in which
Kelly is the rich girl fascinated by Cary Grant as both man and jewel
thief. Maddeningly beautiful, simmering behind dark glasses and
genteel silences, the quintessential Kelly emerges in her superbly
witty seduction of Grant. Turning to say good night to him at her
hotel room, her expression of subtly mocking desire freezes him in a
connoisseur's amazement as she slides her white arms like Pavlova
around his neck and gives him the kind of kiss that started the Trojan
"I didn't discover Grace," said Hitchcock, "but I saved her from a
fate worse than death. I prevented her from being eternally cast as a
cold woman." He did more -- he found what he called the "mysterioso"
element in Kelly that made her a figure in the '50s pantheon along
with Monroe, Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. It was this
same element that made her short but explosive movie career a way
station on the road to Monaco. The characters she played in "Dial M
for Murder," "Rear Window" and "To Catch a Thief" all seemed to
express a quality deeply rooted in Grace Kelly -- a determined drive
for gentility stemming from her family background.
No public figure in our time has suffered more from hagiographic
distortion than Princess Grace. The people who sell the fairy-tale
image also bleach out her family origins to plastic pap, painting the
Kellys of Philadelphia as the ultimate in wholesome, God-fearing,
family-oriented, bootstrap-yanking American values. The Kellys are
much more complicated than that, an Irish-American tribe right out of
a John O'Hara novel. Grace's father, John B. Kelly, the son of an
Irish immigrant, was a great athlete, an Olympic rower who was refused
permission by the British to race in their Diamond Sculls championship
because he had worked with his hands and was therefore not a gentleman
sportsman. Kelly had been a hod carrier and bricklayer before becoming
a millionaire contractor. Nearly 30 years later his son, Jack Kelly,
Grace's brother, won the Diamond Sculls in the process of becoming as
great an athlete as his father.
Grace's mother, the former Margaret Majer, of German descent, was also
a mighty athlete (the first woman to coach a woman's team at the
University of Pennsylvania) and bequeathed her blond beauty to her
three daughters. The stupendous upward mobility of this family did not
suffice to get them into the Philadelphia Social Register, but father
John was a power in the Democratic Party and was almost elected mayor
of Philadelphia. In 1975 Jack Kelly wanted to run against incumbent
Frank Rizzo but his mother prevented him, apparently because she was
afraid that his playboy activities would have led to a mudslinging
campaign. Grace's Uncle George was one of America's leading
playwrights (Pulitzer Prize-winning "Craig's Wife"). Uncle Walter was
a famous vaudevillian.
The Kellys were a churning caldron of American energies. In this
atmosphere Grace was the introvert, somewhat withdrawn, nearsighted
and even sickly. Her first acting was done with her dolls, to whom she
gave different voices in little plays she made up. After a
private-school education in places such as Ravenhill, a strict
convent, she came to New York to study at the American Academy of
Dramatic Arts. She worked as a model, did TV commercials and appeared
in television shows like the "TV Playhouse" and other programs in the
golden age of TV drama.
Producer John Foreman, then an agent, remembers a lunch at the
Plaza Hotel in New York with the aspiring Grace Kelly, who showed up
in gloves and a hat with a little veil. Foreman thought, "This is a
strange, dead-assed girl." But by the end of the lunch he realized
that Grace had her act together. It was, Foreman told Grace's
biographer Gwen Robyns, "the act she put together for survival. . . .
Only Grace could have created Grace Kelly. . . . No one else did. No
manager, no agent, no producer, not even her family. . . . Grace's
act, which has stood her in good stead all these years, is one ofthe
most efficient 1 have ever seen. . .. For quite a few of us, and for
many years, she gave us a perfect place that one can relate to, and
this is why we admire her so."
When she took her act, her self-creation, to Hollywood, the impact was
decisive. Van Johnson said, "Hollywood went for Kelly in rebellion
against a broadside of broads." Her friend, actress Rita Gam, pointed
out that "Grace was a gentlewoman, something so totally new to
Hollywood." On the African location of "Mogambo," while Ava Gardner
was taking baths in public, Grace was busy with her knitting and
speaking Swahili, which she had learned beforehand, to the natives.
"She'll always have the class you find in a great racehorse," said
James Stewart. Grace Kelly's class meant that her many rumored
romances -- with Gable, Ray Milland, Bing Crosby, Oleg Cassini --
never raised a ripple of scandal. By the time she met Prince Rainier
at the Cannes Film Festival he may have seemed to offer her a
permanent role -- what a palace aide characterized as "her last and
She married, she said, on instinct. "As an actress I had searched for
truth through make-believe, not as an individual in a real setting."
Monaco was an odd sort of real setting. Somerset Maugham called it "a
sunny place for shady characters." Before Princess Grace came along,
the coffers in this tax haven for the international rich were so empty
that the prince nearly had to sell his yacht. The moribund
19th-century resort was turning into a colony for doddering dowagers.
Now it has been refurbished as a discreetly swinging colony for the
super-heeled middle-aged. In the process, Monaco's ecological balance
has been devastated. In this "Hong Kong on the Riviera" skyscrapers up
to 300 feet now dominate the skyline. The principality's footage has
been increased from 375 to 464 acres by reclaiming land from the
Mediterranean. Rainier wrested control of the gambling casinos from
Aristotle Onassis and briefly suspended the Monaco Constitution in
1959 to show that he was still the ruler.
The image of Princess Grace helped mightily in the
turnaround in Monaco's fortunes. But unquestionably the chief reality
in her "real setting" was her children. "The upbringing of the two
older children," says a close American friend, "was straight out of
the Victorian era." This may well have accounted in good part for the
rebelliousness of Caroline and her shortlived marriage to French
playboy Philippe Junot. More recently, Caroline, now 25, caused her
parents great concern when a photographer spotted her on a Pacific
island with old pal Guillermo Vilas, the tennis star. On the other
hand, the 24-year-old Albert, a graduate of Amherst in Massachusetts,
is a fine student and suberb athlete. He apparently is eager to take
over from his father and carry on the Grimaldi family's stewardship of
Monaco, which dates back to the 13th century. As for the striking,
17-year-old Stephanie, she has profited from Caroline's example and
been given more rope by her parents. The hippest looking of the three
children -- with her leather jackets, Mexican boots and blue jeans --
she was about to enter design school before the tragic accident.
Every person who has known Princess Grace emphasizes the
all-importance of her family. But the family she created was a special
one, structured around values and rules that her children apparently
found anachronistic. And yet Grace was her own woman: she made a
passionate defense of breast-feeding, and in an interview with Playboy
she showed a startling liberality toward birth control, calling it an
issue that people should "decide for themselves." She kept in close
contact with her Philadelphia family, returning there frequently, not
only for splashy social occasions but also to do such things as shop
with an old school friend at Woolworth's for ant traps, hard to find
Princess Grace chafed when the media asked intrusive questions,
especially about her children. But the paradox of celebrity is that it
insists we make judgments. Grace Kelly was once an artist who gave us
pleasure and the further pleasure of thinking about it. In her
penultimate film, "The Swan," she plays a young girl engaged to a
crown prince. The producers of the film, which was a flop, complained
that nobody came to see it because they saw the newsreels of Grace's
real wedding with a real prince. All through her life we seem to feel
this blurring of reality and nonreality.
Who was the real Grace? In "My Book of Flowers," Princess
Grace describes the first attempts at flower arranging by herselfand a
group offriends: "At first we were all nervous and felt incompetent --
which of course we were -- but this was only in the beginning, for it
became the first step toward the awakening of many hidden talents.
Through working with flowers we began to discover things about
ourselves that had been dormant. We found agility not only with our
fingers but with ourinner eyes in searching for line, scale and
harmony. In bringing out these talents within ourselves, we gained a
dimension that enabled us not only to search for harmony in an
arrangement, but also to discover the importance of carrying it into
our lives and our homes. To create harmony in the home is the woman's
right and duty. The home must be the oasis for the family -- husband,
children and others close to us. It should be a place where they can
find a sense of well-being and strength, replenishment and renewal."
In this touching passage Grace Kelly and Princess Grace come together.
We catch a glimpse of what she has been trying to do for 26 years --
bring art and life together, the wedding of the beautiful and the
good. There is something Victorian about it, but there is something
timeless too. We see the connection between the little girl talking to
her dolls, the beautiful young actress showing Cary Grant that
gentility can blaze into ecstasy and the matron trying to orchestrate
a family in the clangor of celebrity. Peace to her spirit.
Grace Kelly in art:
(Time Magazine, January 1955)