Grace Kelly had a wonderful habit of diarising the birthday of every person she met. She had a reputation for remembering everyone’s birthday with a card, regardless of where they were or where she was.
She was very highly sexed, and digressed from her Catholic upbringing by having premarital sex. Grace fell for Clark Gable while filming “Mogambo” (1953) with him, but he was too busy chasing Ava Gardner around the film set. Grace fell for Bing Cosby while they were filming “The Country Girl” (1954) together, but he rejected her. He fell for her while they were filming “High Society” (1956) in 1955. On the night she won her Best Actress Oscar on March 30, 1955 for “The Country Girl”, Cosby had competition. He caught her having sex with Marlon Brando. When he confronted Brando, he got a punch in the nose. Brando was young, less than half Cosby’s age, and a former boxer.
Grace Kelly met Prince Rainier of Monaco on May 6, 1955, when she went there to see him for a publicity photo shoot arranged by Rainier’s public relations team with Paris Match while Grace was visiting Cannes on business. Rainier made her wait an hour. They decided very quickly after they met that they wanted to get married. She was dating a French actor at the time. Grace didn’t know that Rainier was already keeping a mistress, even though he was a Catholic.
Grace’s father, who was a multimillionaire, paid a $2 Million dowry to Rainier whose principality was poor. It is ironic that he, who was a notorious philanderer, made Rainier promise that he would never mistreat or hurt Grace. They married on April 18, 1956. Grace was 26, and Rainier was 32. She hadn’t slept at all the previous night. She was tense and very tired on the day. Her elaborate wedding dress was made by MGM’s Helen Rose.
Soon after Grace and Rainier married, the mistreatment started. Grace couldn’t do anything right. She was regularly criticised by Rainier. She was not allowed to continue with her film career. She was told that she was expected to bring the glitz of Hollywood to Monaco. At the same time, he didn’t approve of her Hollywood pals. When she gave birth to her first child, Princess Caroline, she felt like a failure because she hadn’t produced a son as was expected of her. When the midwife tried to hand her the baby, she turned to the wall and sobbed, saying: “I couldn’t even do this right.”
She possessed some school French before marriage, which required improvement and practice. In addition, she learned Monégasque, the local dialect. She worked tirelessly to be of service to the people of Monaco. She saw distressed families without appointments with their complaints and problems, which she would take on and resolve. She showed great diplomatic skill by charming Charles de Gaulle into not scrapping the tax exemption hitherto applied to Monaco, and allowing it to retain its status as a principality.
With her charm, charisma, patience, sweetness, kindness, intelligence, refinement and Hollywood connections, she transformed a backwater into a glamorous international destination for jet setters to pour their mone into the treasury.
She and Rainier had two more children, one of whom was the son and heir, Albert. The youngest, Stéphanie, was born when Grace was 35.
After that, Rainier only had mistresses. He never had any physical contact with Grace again. He was rude and abrupt with her at every opportunity. He treated her with contempt. He made her cry. Although she had started drinking in her twenties, she now started drinking heavily. She had flings with Bing Crosby, Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra but, most of the time, she was on her own. She suffered from depression, and started to put on weight.
The children were growing up, and developing individuality. Caroline’s choice of a husband worried Grace, making her think that Caroline was not mature. Albert and Stéphanie were polar opposites. Albert was sweet and patient like his mother. Stéphanie was aggressive, moody and angry. As a little child, she had a habit of biting people. She’d dig her teeth into someone’s arm or wrist in passing. Grace called her “my wild child”.
Grace was very busy. She’d taken on a number of projects for the benefit of the people of Monaco, and was very stressed.
She famously comforted Lady Diana Spencer shortly after the young and innocent woman got engaged to the Prince of Wales in 1981 at 19 years of age. Grace found her crying in the powder room of Goldsmith’s Hall in London during an official reception. Diana was finding public life overwhelming. Grace told her jokingly: “Oh, don’t worry. It’ll get worse.” They remained penpals till Grace’s death. Diana was inconsolable at Grace’s funeral.
Shortly before her death, Grace joined a religious sect called The Order of The Solar Temple. The initiation ritual involved applying acupuncture on the person which gave them sexual pleasure. It was said that some people had an orgasm as a result of that. What was remarkable in Grace’s case was that she had two screaming orgasms. This was a testament to over a decade and a half of pent up sexual tension in her marriage.
No one knows what caused the car accident on September 13, 1982, leading to Grace’s death on September 14, aged 52. She and Stéphanie were driving down notoriously dangerous hairpin bends, commonly referred to as the Devil’s Curse, above the Riviera. Grace had a stroke. Her arteries were full of fat due to alcohol abuse and because she had become overweight. She was, therefore, susceptible to stroke.
She had a difficult relationship with Stéphanie, whom she often found to be argumentative and contrary. Grace might have been involved in a heated discussion with her at the time of the accident. She might have had a momentary lapse of concentration, or the stress from the argument might have caused the stroke.
It was not possible to establish whether the stroke caused the accident or whether the accident caused the stroke.
Also, she was found by eyewitnesses slumped on the back seat, while Stéphanie was slumped on the driver’s seat. Stéphanie, who was 17, was learning to drive during that period, and some suspected that she was in the driver’s seat, as Grace sometimes allowed her. Stéphanie has denied to this day that she was in the driver’s seat on that fateful occasion, and has explained that both she and her mother were thrust out of their seats during the accident. It is said by those who knew Grace that she would never have allowed Stéphanie to drive on that dangerous road, the location of previous fatal accidents.
Stéphanie has had a turbulent life without focus since the death of her mother. The trauma of witnessing her own mother’s death, and also being blamed for it, caused Stéphanie for many years not to have peace within herself.
Grace gave her last ever interview on June 22, 1982, to Pierre Salinger of ABC for 20/20. In it she was asked what she wanted to come back as once she died. “As one of my dogs. They’re so well looked after.”, she replied.