How Princess Grace of Monaco Ruled the World

By Laurie Bogart Wiles

Grace Kelly in a movie still from Paramount’s 1955 production of Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief. (Courtesy of Heritage Auctions/HA.com)


ONLY NOW, 47 YEARS AFTER HER TRAGIC LOSS, is it clear just why Princess Grace of Monaco, the former Grace Kelly of Philadelphia, meant so much to so many for so long. The few movies she made in her brief, award-winning Hollywood career were captivating, sublime and distinctive. She was the antithesis of Marilyn Monroe; Grace Kelly’s cool composure contrasted with Elizabeth Taylor’s seething magnetism; she possessed a genuine refinement that differed from Audrey Hepburn’s sprightly allure. Yes, Grace Kelly was unlike any other actress of her time—and though many have attempted to emulate her, none have ever come close.

She had an enviable, peaches-and-cream complexion and a shimmering radiance to her face that required little or no foundation, even when sparingly applied by makeup artists on the movie set. She had elegance to her figure, naturalness to her demeanor, a kindness to her personality and a subdued passion—like fire under ice. Her clothes, her hairstyles were opulent in an unopulent way: the cut and wave of her helmet of thick, blonde hair was simple, sculpted and shone like molten gold, even when the wind’s fingers ran through her golden locks on a blustery day. The elegance of her clothes was in the simplicity of the cut and the luxury of the fabrics, nothing more. Few women could pull off the priceless jewels she wore as uncrowned queen of Hollywood and crown princess of Monaco, and even then her beauty outshone the precious stones…

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Featured image: Portrait of Grace Kelly taken by Howell Conant circa. 1950s. (Courtesy Heritage Auctions/HA.com).


 

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