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Grace Kelly Becomes Princess Grace

One of the most memorable weddings to have happened in Hollywood and world history was actress Grace Kelly's marriage to Prince of Monaco, Prince Rainier III. The wedding was dubbed by the press, "The Wedding of the Century" and it seemed like a story that had jumped out of the silver screen - a beautiful, regal movie star marrying a Prince.

Kelly's first trip to Monaco was when she was filming Hitchock's film "To Catch A Thief" (1955) with Cary Grant. While she was off-set, Kelly would spend her time leisurely walking the streets and gardens, finding it one of the more pleasant places to be. On her second trip, when she was the head of the American delegation to the Cannes Film festival, it would be that she would meet her future husband, Prince Rainier III.

But according to Robert Lacey's biography, "Grace", it might have not happened if it wasn't at the insistence of her friend, Jean-Pierre Aumont. Grace was planning to cancel the photo-op she was to have as delegator with Prince Rainier in his gardens when Aumont exclaimed, "Grace! You can't possibly do that! The man is a reigning prince." Grace reluctantly went to the photo-op and was very much impatient to meet the prince when it took longer than expected for Rainier to end an important luncheon. It was once they met, that Grace was won over by his charm.

Fresh off of her Oscar win with "Country Girl" (1954) and "To Catch a Thief" (1955), Kelly's next picture would be "The Swan" (1956). Ironically, Kelly would portray Princess Alexandra who must make a good impression on her cousin Prince Albert in order to be his future wife. At the same time, Kelly was courting Prince Rainier III in correspondence with each other between America and Monaco. And Rainier was in a crisis. The 30-year old prince was in desperate need to find a wife in order to produce an heir to the throne, otherwise Monaco would refer back to France. In an interview at the time, Rainier was pressured into asking when he would be be getting married. The press, having no idea that he was secretly romancing a movie star, replied to the question, "If you were pursuing a wife, what kind would you like?" with "I don't know - the best."

Once Rainier formally met The Kelly's, who were of their own royalty in Philadelphia, the Prince proposed to Grace only three days afterward. And Kelly, who was exuberant about the engagement, insisted on showing off the gorgeous 12-carat emerald-cut diamond ring Rainier gave to her in her final film "High Society" (1956).

Once the wedding was announced to the world, the press called it "The Wedding of the Century." But before the wedding could be planned, Kelly provided a dowry in the amount of $2 million dollars. The soon-to-be royal couple had in fact three weddings according to Monaco law. The more famous of the three, the civil ceremony, happened on April 19, 1956 in which Grace wore the iconic white lace and silk gown. Not wasting the opportunity to preserve history, the 40-minute ceremony was filmed and distributed worldwide as "The Wedding in Monaco" (1956) by MGM Studios.

After the wedding, Grace Kelly took the official title of Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, but became more commonly known as Princess Grace to the people of Monaco. Kelly's marriage to Prince Rainier III would last for ? years until her death in 1982. Together, they had three children. During her reign as Princess, Kelly had expressed interest in temporarily returning to Hollywood to make movies and wanted to accept an offer to star in Alfred Hitchcock's "Marnie" (1962) but the people of Monaco were outraged at the thought of their princess as a movie star. Although she could not return to acting, Kelly supported the arts by opening the Princess Grace Foundation which supported local artistans.

In 2011, it was when Kate Middleton married Prince William, news worldwide sparked the striking similarity and inspiration between Middleton's dress, designed by Alexander McQueen's successor Sarah Burton, and Princess Grace's.

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