What Grace Kelly Can’t And Show You On TV?
In her role as hostess and guide during the one-hour trip, the Princess will change her Balenciaga-designed clothes almost as often as the scenes change: inside the palace, a white, jeweled ball gown; in the streets, a green suit and leopard coat; in the royal gardens and zoo, a blue suit with a hat to match. Everything will be colorful (the film, shot by Academy Award winner Lionel Lindon will be shown in black-and-white and in color—depending on your TV set). The Princess will open all doors to you—or so it will seem. But the one door that will remain shut and barred is the one that would re- veal the hidden skeletons in Grace and Rainier’s closet.
In welcoming yon to the jewel box, fairyland kingdom of Monaco, Princess Grace will explain to you that she and her husband agreed to permit the filming of the show because they are anxious to show the world how they live and what conditions are like in their beautiful little principality.
But what the Princess will not reveal is how and why a program that is conceived in a spirit of public service and dedicated to the proposition that all is well in Monaco will be interrupted throughout by commercials. There were no commercials on Jackie Kennedy’s famous TV tour of the White House, after which Grace’s trip is frankly modeled.
It would be inappropriate, of course, for a royal Princess to bring up the crass, bourgeois question of money. Nevertheless, it is a fact that Monaco has been in severe financial straits ever since French Premier de Gaulle decided to put an end to the kingdom’s unique tax-free status. More than ever before, therefore, Monaco must depend on tourists—a source of over fifty percent of its income—for its economic existence. Grace’s marriage to Rainier increased the number of visitors who came to spend ten days or more in Monaco from 77,000 in 1954 to 122,000 in 1961, but Rainier’s quarrel with de Gaulle threatens to send the figure plunging downward in the summer of 1963. What better way to stimulate tourism, then, than by a film pointing out the beauties and attractions of Monaco?
But the question remains: Why the commercials? Not commercials for Monaco (the film itself takes care of that), but for Chemstrand, the sponsor of this WCBS-TV program.
The question bothered Al Salerno, World-Telegram and Sun columnist—as it bothers us—so he tried for some answers. “A spokesman for Chemstrand was asked if Princess Grace gets a salary,” Salerno reports. “That, ahem, was a ‘delicate’ question and there was no desire to make it appear that their Highnesses were doing this for profit. ‘There were costs involved,’ the spokesman said, ‘but we won’t suggest what they are, nor give a breakdown.’ He added that the royal couple’s main interest was that the world get to see their little principality. ‘But Grace took the money?’ he was asked. That was ‘secondary’ consideration, he replied.”
All of which adds up, it seems, to the fact that Princess Grace’s tour of Monaco is not just a gesture of international good will, but also an attempt both to get that country out of hock and to augment the Rainiers’ personal finances. (One observer figures that the next thing the royal couple will do is manufacture and sell a Princess Grace souvenir doll: Wind it up and it plays the Palace—for a price.)
Princess Grace will lead you to the sundrenched Place du Palais from which you will see the burnt-sienna-and-cream-colored Palais Princier. The view is impressive, overwhelming. The sight of military ramparts, imposing towers, sturdy walls, sentry boxes, red and white high-flying flag and ominous cannon providing a background for the guarding carabinieri resplendent in their light blue military helmets, black jackets, red-striped trousers and white belts—all this combines to give an instantaneous impact of power. Behind this citadel there must be martial might; in addition to these carabinieri there must be a strong Army and a powerful Navy, waiting, watching, ready for any trouble.
What’s up front that counts
But what Grace won’t reveal is that this is it—there isn’t any more. Just what you see: a comic opera kingdom. The palace is not a military bastion—only a facade of power. The carabinieri—all eighty of them—constitute the entire force of the nation; they are the police, the palace guards, the Navy, the Army and the merchant marine. For all Rainier’s bellicose pronunciamentos against de Gaulle, one well-placed bomb from a low-flying plane (why fly high when there are no interceptor planes, no anti-aircraft, no nothing to bother it) could wipe out the palace, the carabinieri and the entire 360-acre country.
Princess Grace will escort you through the archway, across the courtyards, up a red-carpeted staircase, along a marble corridor and into a formal reception room, Salon No. 1. You’ll admire the photographs of her husband. Prince Rainier. and of her children, Prince Albert and Princess Caroline, displayed on a small writing desk. The Princess will fill you in on the illustrious backgrounds of the imposing men and beautiful women, her husband’s famous ancestors, whose oil-painted portraits gaze down at you from the beige brocade-covered walls.
But what she won’t reveal are the scandalous details of the personal lives of some of these ancestors, details that have been purged from the official histories of the Grimaldi clan, the oldest ruling family in Europe. She won’t tell you how Rainier’s great-grandfather, Albert I, ruler of Monaco from 1889 to 1922, was publicly charged by his wife, the former Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton, of having forced her to marry him against her will. Although she received a Vatican annulment after two years of marriage, she insisted that her son Louis be declared the legitimate heir to the Monaco throne. Albert agreed.
She won’t tell you how Louis, Rainier’s grandfather. fell in love with a shapely Moslem girl, Juliette Louvet, laundress, while he was stationed in Algeria with the French Foreign Legion. In disguise, he spirited his lady love back to the palace, where eventually he married her in a church ceremony. This may have satisfied Louis and Juliette, but it horrified the powers in France and Monaco and they declared the child of this union, born in 1898, to be “born out of wedlock’’ because there had been no civil marriage ceremony.
But the child, Charlotte Louis Juliette, was Louis’ only offspring. Albert I, despairing that his son Louis would ever father a legitimate child to carry on his line, brought Charlotte to the royal court, educated her to be a princess and, by rewriting and juggling a series of royal decrees, declared her the heir to his throne.
Charlotte had been educated to be a lady but she didn’t act like a lady. To avoid further scandal, Louis arranged for her to marry Count Pierre de Valentinois et Polignac, a French count. They had two children, Rainier and his sister Antoinette.
But scandal erupted anyway. Charlotte ran away with her physician, Dr. Mario Dalmasso. As Charlotte and Pierre prepared to hash out their difficulties in the divorce courts, feeling against the regime ran high in Monaco. Other claimants to the throne, recalling Charlotte’s laundress mother, raised the rallying cry: “Throw out the bastard line!”
In this moment of crisis, Prince Louis acted swiftly. In a scene right out of a Marx Brothers’ picture, he mobilized the entire armed force of the nation (then as now it numbered eighty carabinieri) to ‘‘preserve order at all costs.” Summarily, he decreed that Charlotte and Pierre were henceforth divorced. And in an order that sets a brilliant precedent in law—if not in nerve—he exiled Pierre “because he should have kept watch over his wife.”
The Grimaldi curse
Rainier was kicked back and forth between his divorced parents like a soccer ball. At one point in this custody battle, Count de Polignac tried to kidnap his own son, but was unsuccessful. Finally, Charlotte, who had married Dr. Dalmasso but was forced to live separately from him because he was not permitted to enter Monaco (he was an Italian Citizen, and France and Italy were on opposite sides in World War II), renounced her rights to the throne in 1944. She abdicated in favor of her son, Rainier III. He took power after his grandsire’s death in 1949.
Princess Grace won’t tell you how the “curse of the Grimaldis” seems to have passed on to Rainier’s sister, Antoinette. She fell in love with handsome, blond tennis star Aleco Noghes and bore him two illegitimate children. One of Rainier’s first acts after he came into power was to force them to marry, although later they were divorced. Today, Antoinette is married to Jean Charles Rey, a leading lawyer and Liberal politician in Monaco. Just to make everything cozy. Rainier doesn’t speak to Rey. The Prince charges that six years ago his sister and her husband “plotted” to overthrow him and have Antoinette declared regent.
Princess Grace will show you the palace’s ornate crimson-and-gold Throne Room in which she and Rainier were United in marriage on April 18, 1956, in the civil ceremony that preceded the religious ceremony. She may tell you about the events leading up to that ceremony: her first meeting with the Prince the previous year when she visited the Cannes Film Festival for the showing of her Academy Award winning picture, “The Country Girl” (they strolled through the palace gardens and the Prince reached through the bars of a cage in his private zoo and patted a tiger). And how the Prince phoned Father Tucker, the palace chaplain, almost immediately after they met and said. “I’ve met somebody. I think she is the one.” And her delight when Rainier came to the United States to formally ask for her hand in marriage; her joy when he whispered “I love you”; her sense of elation, of fulfillment, of peace when she agreed to be his wife.
But what she won’t reveal are her true feelings towards a powerful man in the kingdom: Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping millionaire who bankrolls the gambling casino at Monte Carlo, but openly flaunts the civil and religious laws of marriage, which she, as a good Catholic and faithful wife, holds dear.
When Onassis deserted his wife Tina for opera star Maria Callas, Grace had to pretend that nothing had changed. After all, Onassis was important to her husband—not just because he owned the controlling interest in the Societe des Bain de Mer (Monte Carlo Casino), but also because he made Monaco the headquarters of his shipping operations, and so was a necessary and Central factor in insuring the economic health of the country. To publicly snub this man (no matter how much she might abhor his behavior) was impossible.
Princess Grace will take you to the white stone cathedral where she was joined in holy wedlock to Rainier in a religious ceremony that took place the day after the civil ceremony. She may tell you about how thrilled-scared she felt that morning as she walked down the aisle holding tight to her father’s arm. She may tell you about her wedding dress, a confection whipped up from four hundred and fifty yards of silk taffeta, peau de soie, silk net and lace. She may tell you how when the Prince took the wedding ring from the white cushion on which it had been blessed and placed it on her finger, it stuck. She improvised by pulling her hand away, easing the ring into position and then placing her hand gently back into Rainier’s. A second later she was his wife.
But what she won’t reveal was the way that the crowned heads and noble families of Europe stayed away from their wedding in droves. There were all kinds of excuses, of course, polite, carefully worded, regretful. But the real reason for the refusals—resentment of Rainier as a “pretender” or as “the terrible-tempered prince”; resentment of Grace as “that nobody from America” or “that actress person”—never came out.
Only one member of royalty showed up—ex-King Farouk of Egypt, a tall, swarthy, grossly obese (300 pounds) man in gold-rimmed sun glasses. A chaser of women, a collector of pornography, a ruler who had stolen a boatload of gold and at least two million pounds sterling from his subjects when he fled into exile, a wanderer from country to country, Farouk was not much of an adornment at the wedding.
But he had come. And subsequently, out of gratitude, Rainier conferred on him the coveted, almost tax-free status of Monaco citizen. But after hanging around the Casino a while playing baccarat and poker, Farouk found that his gambling luck was poor and discovered that real estate prices were too high in Monaco, so he returned to Italy.
A yacht without memories
Princess Grace will accompany you to her private family suite in the west wing of the palace. There you will be able to step out with her from the off-white bedroom she shares with her husband onto a balcony that overlooks the sports stadium and the harbor. As she looks out at the blue water, Grace may tell you about the new luxury yacht that is being built for the Grimaldis in Dutch shipyards. Because the Princess is subject to seasickness, Rainier has ordered the new craft fitted with anti-roll stabilizers, which accounts for a large part of the half-million dollar cost of the yacht. In addition he has ordered that his wife’s suite be placed amidships where there is less roll. Next June, Grace will christen the yacht “Albercaro,” a combining of the names of her children, Albert and Caroline.
But what she won’t reveal is what finally happened to another royal yacht, the “Deo Juvante II,” on which she and Rainier took their honeymoon cruise. She convinced her husband that he should sell the yacht—mainly, according to palace gossip, because it was the one on which previously Rainier had taken French actress Giesele Pascal on romantic cruises.
Before Grace Kelly came into Rainier’s life, Giesele seemed to have a mortgage on his heart. From 1947 to 1953, this daughter of a vegetable merchant was called the “uncrowned Princess of Monaco.” She lived at Villa Iberia, a pink palazzo on the Mediterranean at Cap Ferrat, halfway between Nice and Monaco. There, hidden from the world by a screen of wild palms and mimosa, the Prince and the actress held their rendezvous. A sentry guarded the gate, automatic in hand, just in case someone should try to intrude on the lovers’ paradise.
The paradise became a nightmare for Rainier when Giesele, on vacation in Paris, fell in love with that same Yves Montand whose charms, years later, Marilyn Monroe would be unable to resist. When the Prince was informed about his fair lady’s liaison with Montand, he jumped into his trusty red Jaguar and in true storybook fashion sped from Monaco towards Paris to rescue her from a fate worse than debts.
But as chance would have it, he cracked up his trusty red Jaguar and had to hitch a ride to Paris. Nevertheless, he arrived just in the nick of time to pluck Giesele away from Yves (they were at a party celebrating their engagement) and whisk her back to the Villa Iberia.
It had all been too close for comfort. The time had come to marry the girl. (The good citizens of Monaco were eager to welcome Giesele into the palace, with or without wedding ring, as long as she produced an heir to the throne. For under their country’s agreement with France they would lose their tax-free status if there was no successor to Rainier.)
The Prince summoned the royal gynecologists to examine his bride-to-be. Their report, a unanimous one, was that Giesele couldn’t provide the Prince with an heir.
What to do? Again Giesele fled to Paris. Again the Prince followed (this time the Jaguar stayed on the road). Rainier prepared to make the supreme sacrifice. “If you come back to me, I am ready to give up my throne,” he promised. Gently and sadly, Giesele refused. But soon she did return to Monaco and took up temporary residence in the palace. The next time she left, it was with Gary Cooper.
Coop, on a fun-safari in Europe, met Giesele at a cocktail party. The actor and the actress discovered they had much in common, and they disappeared for two days to explore the relationship of art to life. Rainier’s Jaguar remained in the garage—perhaps it and the Prince had run out of gas.
When Giesele returned to the royal palace, she found her baggage neatly packed by the royal servants and the royal limousine (not a Jaguar) waiting to take her to Paris and away from Monaco forever.
All this explains, perhaps, why Rainier is so insistent that his wife not resume her film career, and why the only one of her own movies he permits her to have re-run in the specially-built projection room in the palace is “To Catch a Thief,” and that because of its familiar Riviera background. Besides, Grace was never romantically linked by the gossips to Cary Grant, her co-star in the picture.
But a re-run of “Mogambo” in which she starred with Clark Gable—heaven for- bid! For as Sheilah Graham once wrote, “I’m not saying anything did happen in Africa during their ‘Mogambo’ picture. but someone was singing ‘Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, I Don’t Wanna Leave the Congo, Oh No No No No No,’ and it sounded from afar like Clark and Grace.”
Or a re-play of “Dial M for Murder” in which she appeared opposite Ray Milland—perish the thought! For Rainier re- members, even though everyone else may forget, that when the last scene was shot, Milland, who had fallen violently in love with Grace, followed her to New York. That’s when Grace told Ray in no uncertain words: “The film is finished.”
And a re-screening of “High Noon* in which she co-starred with Gary Cooper— no, no, a thousand times no! You can’t trust a handsome cowboy when he comes to your kingdom in search of pleasure and steals your girl away, any more than you can trust the memories this same handsome cowboy might stir up in your wife if she were to see him again on the screen. For there was gossip, lots of gossip, about Coop and Grace while they were making “High Noon.” Nothing definite, mind you. Grace wasn’t talking and Coop wasn’t admitting anything. Or was he? For as Sheilah Graham recalls, “When I teased Gary once about the rumors, he smiled and winked. Now what do you think he meant by that?”
Better, therefore, in Rainier’s opinion to let his wife appear in a bit part in a color travel documentary. But a lead in “King of Kings,” (M-G-M offered her the role of the Virgin Mary)—no! Acting was be- neath his wife’s dignity. That was in 1960. True, in 1962 he’d wavered and granted her permission to play in “Marnie”—once they’d laundered the script and acceded to his “no kissing” and “no bare shoulders” rule. But then he changed his mind again and reasserted his “She must end her film career” pronunciamento that he had first proclaimed, without consulting Grace, shortly after their marriage.
“A Tour of Monaco with Princess Grace”—ah, that was another matter entirely. It would spur tourism, show the world he had not knuckled under completely to de Gaulle, and bring some much needed money into the palace treasury. Why he might even be willing to appear in such a film himself. Say in a shot where he’d be with the kids playing near the royal zoo. He could have special lifts designed for his shoes so he wouldn’t look too short next to Grace—and for safety’s sake, she could wear low heels as well.
As for the rest, let Grace open the doors to the armory, the archives, the offices, the staff quarters, the private chapel, the five large reception rooms, the four historic suites for visiting monarchs, the Galerie des Glaces, the dressing rooms, dining rooms, sitting rooms, libraries, bars, nursery, garages. Let Grace, if she wants to, even open the doors to their summer villa, Roc Angel.
Anything. Everything. As long as she doesn’t unbar and open the one door that must remain shut—the one that would reveal the skeletons in Grace and Rainier’s closet.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MARCH 1963