During my cyber-absence, I wandered into several non-dark fantasy books, because I like almost everything, and biographies are one of my favorites non-fiction categories. In thinking about people I haven’t read about, one woman occurred to me that I’ve overlooked in my adult years: Grace Kelly.
What I remember are so many tabloids I’d see in the grocery store with my Mom as a kid about “Princess Grace, Princess Caroline, and Princess Stephanie.” I asked my Mom, who at the time was in college to become a teacher, who Princess Grace was. She told me Princess Grace is the actress Grace Kelly and became a Princess because of who she married. When I asked her where Monaco was, she told me to find a map and clean up my room. I pressed her further about why are her kids always in jail or drugs or something, and she said, “That’s what rich, spoiled kids do.”
In reading this of the many, many biographies of Grace Kelly, this interaction with my mother was how she and her daughters were perceived in the later years. I do remember when she was killed in the car accident and felt bad for her family. As I’ve grown older and watch her films, I’m happy to say I’ve learned a new appreciation for her work. While doing a bit of net-surfing looking at famous bridal gowns (a girl thing), I clicked to Grace Kelly’s pictures. Wow! She was absolutely beautiful.
The biography above tells the story of Grace Kelly in what some would say a sympathetic tone; meaning, in a way that her Royal family would agree with. The Prince, her son and daughters reportedly gave input to the bio, along with close friends.
Grace grew up in a family of wealth and privilege, but was the “least talented” of the group of kids and always wanted approval from her father; it was a long time before it arrived. She left home from Pennsylvania to become an actress/model in New York City. After bringing home a boyfriend and taking him for an outing, her meddling parents reportedly found birth control and divorce papers, so he was sent away on a train, and she was brought home (how intrusive! That would have been a MAJOR fight with me).
Grace found her independence by moving to Hollywood and continuing her film career. In this book she apparently dated often, had several lovers, and worked hard as an actress. But somewhere in the 1950s culture she felt compelled to get married. By almost an accident, she meets Prince Ranier Grimaldi and agrees to marry him before she really knows him and had no understanding of how it would affect her life, including the $2 million dowry her family had to put up. The examination regarding her ability to have children I found humorous. When asked about her virginity, she replied, “It’s impolite to ask.” (Really!) But like every other obstacle in her life, Grace made it happen. The wedding was beautiful, the cameras flashed, the family smiled, and finally people in the world found out Monaco existed. Then everyone left to go home and left Grace in the tiny world of decadence, away from her film career, away from her friends and family, and in the cold comfort of European Royalty.
I recommend this biography as a touching story about Grace Kelly that spans her entire life and tragic death. It brought me back to the time as a child about seeing her in the tabloids; she seemed to have it all. I never thought it possible that she could have a difficult life, but after reading this, now I can appreciate her work, her beauty, and her strength as a person. If anyone had it all, it was Grace Kelly. But she did not, and if she were alive today, I believe she’d be the first to say so, but in a very prim, ladylike fashion she was known for.