Prince Albert has revealed new details behind the fairytale meeting of his parents, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier. In an as-told-to column in Paris Match, Albert shares the details of their introduction. "If my mother, Grace Kelly, had not been invited to the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, I would not be signing these few lines today," Albert explains in French.
On May 4, 1955, actress Olivia de Havilland and her husband, Paris Match editor Pierre Galante were traveling by train to the Cannes film festival. Also on the train were Grace Kelly and her friend, Gladys de Segonzac, a dresser she met on the set of To Catch a Thief. While boarding the train, Albert explains, Gladys introduced her to de Havilland and Galante.
Galante had the idea to introduce the famous American actress to Prince Rainier, so de Havilland went proposed the meeting.
"Grace struck me on the first encounter as a rather reserved, self-possessed, well brought up young woman," de Havilland recalled. She met Kelly "on the small platform between the dining car and the next carriage when I overtook her to ask if she would agree to a meeting with Prince Rainier. She immediately agreed but made the highly professional proviso that such a meeting must first be approved of by the studio sponsoring her visit to Cannes: MGM."
Albert writes, "The next morning, before arriving in Cannes, the journalist offered the actress to do a story with her in the company of Prince Rainier III, aged almost 32, ruler of Monaco since 1949."
On May 6 at 3 p.m., Galante accompanied Grace Kelly to the palace. According to Prince Albert, his father was running late, so the palace's maitre d'hote Michel Demaurizi kept Kelly occupied, touring her through the palace's grand apartments.
"It was nearly 4 p.m. when my father finally appeared in the royal antechamber. A few shots were made. The famous handshake photograph, posed," Albert said. Then, Prince Rainier asked if she would like a tour of the palace, but Kelly said she's already seen it. So, he invited the actress to walk through the gardens.
"The atmosphere changed," Prince Albert writes. "The couple relaxed... My father, at ease, let his charm work and a dialogue began."
Yet soon Kelly had to leave for a Cannes cocktail reception. The two continued to correspond, keeping their romance secret, and Prince Rainier would propose seven months later in America in December 1955.
And the rest, they say, is history: Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly married on April 18, 1956, less than a year after they met.
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