Early Life & Family
- Grace was of Irish-German descent: her father John Brendan (Jack) was Irish and her mother Margaret was German.
- Two of Grace’s uncles were prominent in the performing arts: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright George Edward Kelly (1887–1974) and vaudeville comedian Walter “Judge” Kelly (1873–1939).
- Grace was named after an aunt who had died in her early 20s.
- In the Kelly family, Grace was the second youngest of four children, preceded by Peggy (b. 1925), and John Jr. (b. 1927) and followed by Elizabeth Anne (b. 1933).
- In 1927, Grace’s father built a beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey at 26th and Wesley Avenues, and the family spent much of their summers there. Later, many Hollywood celebrities, along with members of the Monaco royal family, visited the house.
- In the summer of 1961, Princess Grace and the royal family of Monaco visited Ireland to explore her Irish lineage, retracing the path of her grandfather, John Peter Kelly, who left Mayo for Philadelphia in 1887. The royal visit included meeting notable Irish figures and touring significant sites such as the ancestral home of Grace’s father in County Mayo. Grace purchased the home in 1973 for £7,800.
- While working as a commercial model for John Robert Powers, Grace earned over $400 a week.
- Eileen Ford, founder and head of the Ford Modeling Agency, once had the opportunity to represent Grace as a model:
Somebody asked me if I wanted to represent her and I said “No.” That was really stupid because she was one of the most beautiful women ever born. But I was in my 20s and very, very opinionated. Grace Kelly was a very commercial model, she had no interest in being a fashion model. None at all.
- Grace appeared in advertisements for numerous products, including Max Factor Colorfast Lipstick (with Green Fire costar Stewart Granger), Lustre-Creme Shampoo, Lux Toilet Soap, Cashmere Bouquet soap, National accounting machines, and Old Gold cigarettes.
Relationships & Personal Life
- Grace maintained a long-term friendship with the Kennedy family. In 1954, Grace, disguised as a nurse, was snuck into the hospital by Jackie Kennedy to cheer up Jack Kennedy during his hospitalization for a back problem.
- Shortly after the production of The Country Girl, Bing Crosby proposed marriage to Grace, which she declined.
- For years, Grace and Alec Guinness, her co-star in The Swan, hid a tomahawk in the other’s bed as a playful prank.
- Princess Grace was an advocate for Josephine Baker and chose to never dine at The Stork Club in New York City again after they refused to serve Baker.
- During their visit to Serendipity 3 in Manhattan, Grace and Cary Grant, her co-star in To Catch a Thief, were so absorbed in their conversation that they left without paying the bill.
Life as a Princess
- Grace’s first royal portrait was by Ralph Cowan, for which she wore a gown by Luis Estevez made gown of imported white Chantilly lace.
- One of Princess Grace’s most prized possessions was the Imperial Blue Serpent Fabergé Egg, created in 1887 by Peter Carl Fabergé.
- The Café de Paris in Piccadilly Circus was one of Grace’s favorite restaurants.
- When visiting London, Princess Grace stayed at The Connaught.
- Princess Grace made her pressed flower art in her art studio at Roc d’Agel.
- In 1977, Princess Grace’s dried flower compositions were exhibited in the Faubourg St. Honoré gallery in Paris.
- Princess Grace toured the northeastern United States in 1978 with a program of poetry entitled Birds, Beasts & Flowers.
- In 1979, Princess Grace recorded the story L’Oiseau de Nord et L’Oiseau du Soleil (The Bird from the North and the Bird from the Sun) in both French and English.
- Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” was played at Grace’s funeral.
- James Stewart gave the eulogy at Grace’s funeral:
You know, I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met.
- The National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, Texas, USA, displays the 1973 Mercedes hearse used in Princess Grace’s funeral procession.
Awards, Legacy & Tributes
- On 22 May 1950,Grace was recognized as one of the twelve most promising personalities on Broadway in 1950 by Theatre World.
- The city of Philadelphia honored Grace in the spring of 1982 with the “Grace Kelly Film Festival.”
- Grace has been referenced in dozens of songs, highlighting her broad cultural impact.
- Grace has been memorialized in sculpture around the world. Busts of her can be found at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and in Oostende, Belgium. A statue in Newport, Ireland, depicts her seated on a park bench, while another in Yoshkar-Ola, Russia, commemorates her royal wedding day with Prince Rainier. Her legacy is further honored in the Riviera through various installations: the Princess on the Rock statue in Monaco’s Roseraie Princesse Grace garden, a statue situated in a small garden by Larvotto Beach, and a relief of her at a memorial in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France. Additionally, the Princess Grace Statuette, an award for exceptional talents in the arts, depicts her likeness.
- Grace was not pleased with ABC television’s plans to air a miniseries about her life starring Cheryl Ladd.
- Cy Coleman composed a Dutch language musical about Grace’s life that was presented in Amsterdam in 2001. On Grace Kelly, Money and Dreams, a documentary about the musical and the the special theater built for it, had its premiere in 2002.
- Artist Andy Warhol made a screen print of Grace in 1984. He also depicted her in his book The Autobiography of a Snake.
- In the television sitcom Grace Under Fire, Brett Butler played a character named Grace Kelly.
- Grace was among the 1,558 honorees to be given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame when the Walk of Fame was launched on 8 February 1960.
- The American Film Institute ranked Grace as #13 in its list of all-time great female stars.
- Dutch designer Marcel Wanders created two wallpaper designs inspired by Grace: Grace and Kelly.
- In 1998, Fabergé introduced a perfume called Grace de Monaco. It was a tribute to the princess and a portion of proceeds were donated to the Princess Grace Foundation.
- At least two flowers have been named for Princess Grace. Klaas de Jong named a lily “Lys Princess Grace” in the 1970s after meeting her at the Amsterdam International Flower Show. Marie-Louise Meilland named a pink rose “Princesse de Monaco” in her honor in 1981.
- The name of Princess Grace can be found throughout Monaco today, including The Princess Grace Academy of Classical Dance, The Princess Grace Theatre, Avenue Princess Grace, and Princess Grace Hospital Centre.
- The Princess Grace Hospital in Marylebone, London was opened by Grace in 1977. Its intensive care unit was opened by her daughter Princess Caroline in 1983.
- Grace was denied admission to Bennington College in Vermont.
- Although she was severely nearsighted, Grace hardly ever wore glasses in public. She told Merv Griffin, “I’m very shortsighted.”
- Grace received a Weimaraner as a wedding gift from her brother Jack. She also had a poodle named Oliver and a great dane.
- Grace owned linens from D. Porthault. She later collaborated with now-defunct Springmaid on a line of linens inspired by her pressed flower art. Three patterns were produced: Fiona, Celia, and Tamora.
- Grace was a strong swimmer, having taken lessons at the Penn Athletic Club in Rittenhouse Square on Saturday mornings as a child. When at The Beverly Hills Hotel, she stayed in Bungalow 5, which has its own private pool. As a princess, she had a swimming pool installed on Monaco’s palace grounds.
- Grace was one of many famous tenants of the Barbizon Hotel for Women when she lived in New York. Other tenants have included Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale, Candice Bergen, Cloris Leachman, Ali MacGraw, and Liza Minnelli.