When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier in 1956, the world found the perfect wedding pattern. She and the prince had a civil and a religious wedding, same as their son did in 2011. The 40-minute civil ceremony took place in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco on April 18, 1956, and was broadcast across Europe.
The following day the church ceremony took place at Monaco’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral. Kelly’s wedding dress, designed by MGM’s Academy Award–winning Helen Rose, was worked on for six weeks by three dozen seamstresses. The bridesmaid’s gowns were designed by Joe Allen Hong at Neiman Marcus after Lawrence Marcus visited Monaco.
Grace Kelly (1929–1982), the Philadelphia-born, Academy Award-winning actress, married the glamorous Prince Rainier III (1923–2005) on April 19, 1956, and the bride donated her famous dress to the Philadelphia Museum soon after the ceremony.
Helen Rose (American, 1904–1985), the Academy Award-winning designer who made the costumes for Miss Kelly’s films High Society and The Swan, was chosen to design the gown—a present to the bride from MGM Studios—which was made by MGM’s wardrobe department. The dress, created to complement the “fairy princess” beauty of the actress, features a bell-shaped skirt of ivory peau de soie supported by petticoats, and a high-necked bodice of Brussels lace, which was re-embroidered to render the seams invisible and then accented with seed pearls.
Continuing the theme of pearl-embellished lace are the bride’s prayer book, shoes, headpiece, and circular silk net veil—designed so that Miss Kelly’s face could be seen.
Grace Kelly is one of the most admired women in the world. Even today, she is upheld as a standard of beauty, grace, and style. Her talent and persona influenced the great motion picture director Alfred Hitchcock so strongly that he attempted to make other actresses into her image, without success.
Grace Patricia Kelly was born on 12 November 1929 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1951, she appeared in her first film entitled Fourteen Hours. The following year her career took off when she landed the role of Amy Kane in High Noon.
After her marriage, when she become Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, she gave up her acting career, having made 11 films.
She and Prince Rainier went on to have three children – Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie.