He was a real prince, she was a legit Hollywood beauty queen, and together they forged a modern-day fairy tale. Forget his live-in relationship with a French actress and her reported dalliances with Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, William Holden and Oleg Cassini (among others). When Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier became engaged at roughly their second meeting (“I barely know him,” Grace blithely admitted), the storybook machinery roared into high gear, and their romance captivated the world.
Married in a spectacular 1956 wedding, Grace and Rainier appeared devoted and genuinely in love despite their abbreviated get-to-know-you time. The serene couple produced three children: Caroline (born nine months and five days after the nuptials), Albert and Stephanie. And the unbeatable combination of movie-star glamour and dashing royalty put the tiny nation of Monaco on the map. In later years they spent more time apart, with Grace living part of the year in Paris. But when she died in a 1982 car crash at 52, Rainier was visibly devastated.”
Postscript: The prince never remarried, declaring his late wife was “still everywhere” in the palace.
Love Note: When Grace lay in state, her only jewelry was the simple gold wedding band placed on her finger by Rainier 26 years earlier.