License: shutterstock

The idea of my life as a fairy tale is itself a fairy tale

In the autumn of 1982, the world reeled to the terrible news of the death of a princess in a car accident.

Grace Kelly really was a princess, but before that she was one of Hollywood’s most talented, beautiful and popular film stars. She actually only appeared in a few films before she retired from screen acting at the age of 26 but these included the tense western High Noon opposite Gary Cooper and Hitchcock’s Rear Window in which she assisted James Stewart’s apartment-bound voyeur as he tackled a suspicious neighbour. These films alone were two of the best of the 1950s.

But in 1956, this all came to an end with Grace’s spectacular wedding to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The Prince had ruled Monaco since 1949 and would continue to do so into the 21st century. He had met Grace only three days before. But when he asked her to marry him, she said “yes”. After two large ceremonies, she became Princess Grace of Monaco.

And so it was for the next quarter century. Various attempts were made to entice the Princess back to Hollywood, to no avail. She had three children: Caroline, Albert III (now ruler of Monaco) and Stephanie.

Grace was killed after apparently suffering a stroke at the wheel of her car which subsequently plunged nearly forty feet off a mountainside in 1982. Her teenage daughter Stephanie, sitting next to her had attempted to retain control before the crash. She escaped with reasonably minor injuries.

The funeral was attended by Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Princess Diana amongst others. Her old co-star James Stewart spoke eloquently at the memorial service, paying tribute saying: “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… God bless you, Princess Grace.”