At the premier of The Swan, at the Cannes Film Festival, Grace was invited to meet Monaco's crown head, Rainier Grimaldi II. To help boost the principalities financial situation, one of Rainier’s advisors decided, the allure of the Hollywood actress would be a great help. A journalist arranged for her to meet His Serene Highness Prince Rainier Grimaldi in Monaco, but Grace canceled the meeting because of an appointment with a hairdresser. Rainier did, however, keep in touch with Grace and over Christmas, on Rainier’s trip to America in 1955, he traveled to the United States to join the Kelly’s for their annual Christmas party. The family welcomed him, although they had had no former knowledge of Rainier or his kingdom. Only three days later Grace and Prince Rainier announced their marriage plans, but only after a mandatory fertility test, proving she would be capable of bearing heirs to the Grimaldi throne.
Grace sailed to her destiny that waited in the small province in Southern France. Her heart and hand went to Prince Rainier of Monaco on April 19, 1956. Even if she hadn’t been born to royal blood, she was beautiful, famous, and a devout Roman Catholic from a wealthy background. Kelly abandoned her acting career to become Princess Grace.
The wedding was one of the most lavish, most highly attended and most reported events of the decade. Many of Grace’s Hollywood friends and around 1,500 journalists attended the wedding. Many said Grace fit the princess role perfectly and the wedding became known as the “Wedding of the Century.’
But life was hard for Grace in Monaco. The people of her country were not welcoming to a foreign princess, especially a Hollywood actress. Grace was not fluent in French and felt isolated but, tried concentrating on her new role as wife. Her personality toward life changed as she quickly learned that European wives did not have the same hold as the American wives have in the family.
As a result, Prince Rainier banned the showing of his wife's films in Monaco, and in 1962 forced her to back out of the leading role in Alfred Hitchcock's film Marnie, in which she had agreed to appear with actor Sean Connery. While Rainier felt that her work as an actress conflicted with her role as the wife of a ruler. Grace did lend her talents to narration of several social documentaries in the 1970s, and she served as a member of the board of 20th Century Fox.
Meanwhile, as Princess Grace of Monaco, she revived tourism in Monaco, and served as head of a number of charitable and humanitarian organizations, such as Red Cross Monaco. She gave birth to three royal children: Princess Caroline, Crown Prince Albert, and Princess Stephanie. The royal family was in the news often with pictures of each of their children’s births, family vacations, and holidays.
On September 13, 1982, Princess Grace and her youngest daughter Stephanie were arguing over Stephanie’s plans to move in with her boyfriend, Paul Belmondo, son of the famous actor Jean-Paul Belmondo. Princess Grace excused their driver so that they could continue their conversation in private on their way to the palace. On the same highway as the car chase scenes in To Catch A Thief, Grace lost control of her Range Rover. As they approached the fatal turn, instead of slowing down, the Range Rover appeared to accelerate suddenly and sped straight over the edge of a steep 45-foot cliff. After clipping off the tops of several trees, the Range Rover rolled over and came to a stop upside down in a ravine.
Princess Stephanie only suffered minor injuries compared to her mother, who suffered severe head trauma. A CAT scan, many hours after the accident, showed that Princess Grace’s brain had been damaged in two different places. One was caused by the trauma of the crash, and the second appeared to have been a stroke. Unfortunatly it was impossible to know if the stroke caused the accident or if the accident caused the stroke. Princess Grace was put on life support, and her family had to make the heart breaking decision to turn off her life support machine.
Princess Grace died on September 14, 1982, after deteriorating into a coma for over twenty-four hours. Many believe that a simple seatbelt could have saved Princess Graces’s life. Grace Kelly was a beautiful, young princess who was loved around the world and had a big heart. Her love for acting ended abruptly at the peak of her fame. Her career ended in 1956, when she married. It has been twenty-two years since her death and she will forever be missed and her films forever loved. The best way to describe Princess Grace’s dedication to her work is in the words of Mother Theresa, “a life not lived for others, is a life not worth living.” She may be gone, but her memory lives on forever.