On April 4 1956, Grace Kelly boarded the S.S. Constitution from New York to Monaco to wed Prince Rainier III and join the European aristocracy.
Between their first meeting in 1955, their engagement, and their royal wedding, were letters. Many love letters. Due to their physical distance, him in Monaco and her on various film sets, their love story began with a year’s worth of correspondence. They grew completely devoted to one another through ardent letter writing.
Their courtship was papered with letters that crossed an ocean. Their private correspondence allowed their relationship to evolve as more letters were exchanged and their compatibility was more and more evident. Their relationship unfolded with the emotional intimacy of shared values, goals and feelings. They just clicked. In an interview, Rainier said that he believed that “true love has to be based on more than something than a flint.” His letters reveal an adoration and passion that suggested a deep connection. Grace wrote extensively about her desire to be with him in Monaco and build a life together, telling him that she believed they could make each other happy.
The “wedding of the century” took place over 2 days. First, to comply with Monaco’s laws, there was a small civil ceremony held in the palace throne room on April 18 1956. Then, on April 19 1956, Hollywood starlet Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III in an extravagant church ceremony attended by friends, celebrities and royalty from all over the world. The citizens of Monaco gathered for a glimpse of their new princess in an exquisite ivory wedding gown adorned with lace and thousands of hand-sewn pearls. They professed their vows to one another and were united as husband and wife. Grace Kelly of Philadelphia was officially her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco.
This romance could easily have been scripted by Hollywood. A glamorous movie star meets a prince, they fall in love, they marry, she becomes a princess and they lived happily ever after. Unlike a movie, the spotlight never dimmed on this timeless love story. Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III inspired many with their strength, elegance and dedication to each other, their children and the people of Monaco.