There are many interesting facts about Grace Kelly, who is still considered an icon both on and off screen. Princess Grace died tragically in 1982; she suffered a stroke while driving back to Monaco with her daughter and drove off the road. She survived the crash, but died in the hospital the next day; her daughter, Stéphanie, was not harmed. Although it is by now well known that her fairy tale marriage wasn't really so storybook perfect, Grace Kelly remains the epitome of grace, style, beauty, and royalty for many people. I've been interested in her for years, so I hope you get just as much pleasure from these truly interesting facts about Grace Kelly as I did.
1. The Princess Diaries
One of the most interesting facts about Grace Kelly has to be her marriage to Rainier III, the Prince of Monaco. Their meeting, which took place while Kelly was filming To Catch a Thief, was part of the publicity blitz for the film. Supposedly, the prince was partly eager to marry the beautiful young star in the hopes of bringing more tourism to Monaco. He even required a dowry from her family.
2. Hitchcock's Muse
Although her film career was relatively short, Grace starred in 29 movies. Many of them were directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and many of her critical successes came from his films as well. In 1954, she appeared in both Dial M for Murder and Rear Window; in 1955, she was in the aforementioned To Catch a Thief. As you'll see, she was attached to another Hitchcock project, but something happened.
3. Stamp of Approval
Grace Kelly has the honor of being the first actress to ever be honored on a United States stamp. It premiered in 1993. On the U.S. stamp, she's named simply as Grace Kelly, because of a federal law forbidding the depiction of any foreign leaders, heads of states, or despots. Interestingly, Monaco released a commemorative stamp the same year, and it does refer to the actress as a princess.
4. Rooted in Success
Grace Kelly's entire family was successful, although they came from humble beginnings. Her father was the son of Irish immigrants, but attained millions as a bricklayer after winning a total of three gold medals as an Olympic sculler; her brother followed in his footsteps. Her mother, descended from Germany, worked at the University of Pennsylvania as the very first coach of the women's athletic department. One uncle, Walter C. Kelly, was a success in vaudeville; the other, George Kelly, was an incredibly successful playwright who won a Pulitzer for his work.
5. Marnie No More
Kelly was set to star in a fourth Hitchcock vehicle, Marnie, in 1964. However, she withdrew from the picture. Different sources cite different reasons for her withdrawal, but many agree that the reaction of the citizens of Monaco had something to do with it. They apparently had trouble picturing the princess as a thief looking to go after Sean Connery.
6. The Kelly Bag
It's pretty well known that Grace liked Hermes; she even once allegedly stabilized a broken arm with a Hermes scarf. However, it's her use of her Hermes bag that marks this interesting fashion fact: while pregnant with her daughter, Caroline, Grace used to cover her belly with her Hermes bag, effectively hiding her bump from photographs. The company itself began calling that particular model the Kelly bag.
7. The Epitome of Grace
Grace Kelly truly epitomized grace, in all the ways that matter most. Specifically, the government of Austria honored her with a medal in 1959. It was an award for providing aid to refugees from Hungary, trying to escape invasion from the Russians. She was an active but humble part of the war effort, leading to acknowledgment from the Red Cross in Monaco.
8. The JFK Connections
Grace was very good friends with the Kennedy family. Before marrying Prince Rainier, she was engaged to Oleg Cassini, a fashion designer well known for dressing Jackie O. Moreover, JFK was once in the hospital due to a problem with his back in 1959, at which point Jackie helped Grace dress up as a nurse just so she could sneak in and visit her friend.
9. Swan Song
The Swan, one of Grace's last movies, was strangely prophetic. It was the first time she got the top billing in one of her films, but more than that, she played Princess Alexander. The movie depicted the developing love story between Princess Alexander and Prince Albert, played by Alec Guinness.
10. No Movies in Monaco
This is a rather sad fact, for any number of reasons. After her death, Prince Rainier placed a ban on Grace's movies. They were not to be shown in Monaco, at all.
These are just a few of the most interesting facts about Grace Kelly, star of the silver screen and princess of Monaco. Her death was truly tragic, but during her life she was a brightly shining star – and that has little to do with her fame. Are there any starlets who still inspire and interest you?