25 things you may not have known about Grace Kelly

PUBLISHED: 14:52 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:52 11 September 2017

High Noon starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. Photo: PA Archive

High Noon starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. Photo: PA Archive

PA Archive/PA Images

Grace Kelly was such a favourite for so many of us, it’s hard to believe it’s been 35 years this week since her tragic death. Here’s a look at 25 things you may not have known about the beloved Princess...

1. Grace Patricia Kelly was born at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 12, 1929.

2. She died on September 14, 1982 after suffering a stroke while driving. She lost control of her car and drove off a mountainside.

3. Her father, John B. Kelly Sr, won three Olympic gold medals for sculling and owned a successful brickwork contracting company. During World War II, he was appointed by President Roosevelt as National Director of Fitness.

4. Grace’s uncles from her father’s side were also notable names in the film industry, with Walter C. Kelly making films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Paramount Pictures, and George Kelly being a Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist, screenwriter and director.

5. Grace had two older siblings, Margaret and John Jr. as well as a younger sister called Elizabeth. All four children were raised in the Roman Catholic faith.

6. Grace was rejected 
from Bennington College in July 1947 due to low scores in mathematics.

7. Grace’s parents initially disapproved of her dreams of being an actress. Despite this she forged on, auditioning for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York using a scene from her uncle’s film The Torch-Bearers (1923).

8. She had a relatively short acting career spanning only seven years between 1950 and 1956, during which time she appeared in 11 films. Her film debut was in the 1951 film Fourteen Hours, in which she had a small role as Mrs. Louise Ann Fuller. She beat Anne Bancroft to the part.

9. Grace met her husband, Prince Rainier III, at The Cannes Film Festival in April 1955. The actress headed the US delegation and while there she was invited to participate in a photo session at the Palace of Monaco.

10. The Cannes Film Festival rearranged its schedule to accommodate Grace’s wedding to Prince Rainier III in April 1956. When Grace arrived in Monaco she was greeted by the mayor of Cannes, who assured her the two events would not conflict.

11. Kelly and her family had to provide a dowry of $2 million in order for the marriage to go ahead.

12. Her wedding dress was designed by MGM’s Academy Award-winning Helen Rose and was worked on for six weeks by three dozen seamstresses. The bridesmaids’ gowns were designed by Joe Allen Hong at Neiman Marcus.

13. Grace won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress thanks to her role as Linda Nordley in MGM’s 1953 film Mogambo. The film co-starred Ava Gardner, Clark Gable and Donald Sinden. Her first Academy Award nomination also came for this film.

14. Grace and Rainier had three children, Caroline (born January 23 1957), Albert (born March 14 1958) and Stephanie (born February 1 1965).

15. While pregnant with her daughter Caroline in 1956, the star was frequently photographed carrying a leather hand-bag by fashion brand Hermès. The photographs were so popular that the bag later became known as the 
Kelly bag.

16. Big name designers such as Zac Posen and Tommy Hilfiger have cited Grace Kelly as a fashion inspiration.

17. Kelly’s funeral was held at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco on September 18, 1982.

18. Over 400 people attended the funeral, including Cary Grant, Princess Diana, James Stewart and Nancy Reagan.

19. Following her death, Rainier never remarried and was buried alongside his wife in 2005.

20. Various songs contain references to the star, including Billy Joel’s hit single, We Didn’t Start the Fire, Mika’s song Grace Kelly and Madonna’s song Vogue.

21. Grace has also featured on songs herself, including a duet with Bing Crosby recorded for the film High Society in 1956.

22. Nicole Kidman portrayed Kelly in the 2014 film Grace of Monaco, directed by Olivier Dahan. Many people, including the princely family of Monaco, were unhappy with the film, claiming it was overly dramatic, lacked depth and contained errors.

23. Kelly was given a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

24. Alfred Hitchcock offered Kelly the lead in his film Marnie. She was reportedly eager to accept the role, but public outcry in Monaco against her involvement in a film where she would play a kleptomaniac led her to ultimately turn down the part.

25. As she was unable to continue acting during her marriage, Grace became heavily involved in philanthropic work, including founding AMADE Mondiale, a Monaco-based non-profit organization that was eventually recognised by the UN as a Non-Governmental organization. The organization promotes and protects the “moral and physical integrity” and “spiritual well-being of children throughout the world, without distinction of race, nationality or religion and in a spirit of complete political independence.” Today, her daughter, Princess Caroline is President of AMADE.

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