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Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly

It was billed as “the wedding of the century”, the glittering union of a Hollywood movie queen at the peak of her powers to the handsome ruler of a glamorous European principality. No wonder that MGM, the film studio to which Grace Kelly was bound, demanded that, in return for releasing the actress from her contract, it be allowed to film the entire proceedings.

A fortnight before the wedding, Grace, the glacially beautiful star of To Catch a Thief and High Society, sailed into Monte Carlo harbour aboard her husband-to-be’s royal yacht. She was greeted by thousands of cheering Monagasques, eager to see their princess for the first time. The citizens of Monaco had already given her their wedding gifts: a diamond necklace and earrings, and a Rolls Royce.

Prince Rainier gave his bride a 10-carat diamond and two wedding ceremonies – the first, a private civil ceremony, was held in the Throne Room of the Pink Palace; the second, a religious ceremony, was held the following day in the splendour of Monaco Cathedral.

Grace wore a spectacular wedding gown made by Oscar-winning costume designer Helen Rose, the same designer who had made her wardrobe for High Society, her last film. Many of her film star friends, including Cary Grant, Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, were among the 600 guests at the reception.

Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, as she became known, died in a car crash in Monaco, in September 1982.

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