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Princess Grace Kelly: A Royal Sweetheart

When I first saw Grace Kelly, beautiful and poised in the pages of a commemorative edition of LIFE Magazine, I was instantly hooked. I wanted to know everything about her; how she went from Hollywood princess to actual princess, and how she could make such a smooth transition. That is where it began, and it hasn’t stopped since. I spent years reading biographies and watching documentaries on Grace, learning about how the shy young girl transformed into a supremely confident young woman, and started to see aspects of myself in her. I, too, was an incredibly shy girl who slowly became more confident as the years went on. Others see Grace Kelly as the ultimate example of a classy woman in a bygone era, but I beg to differ that Grace was very modern. Her modernity is what keeps her in the lexicon of pop culture today. Her sense of style, the way she carried herself, and her tranquility are examples to numerous celebrities today.

As an actress, I believe that Grace is underrated. She is unfairly viewed as a one-trick pony, only capable of playing Hitchcock blonde types that wear pretty clothes and have little substance below the surface. She was, and continues to be, viewed as cold both onscreen and off. The one time that she did get the chance to prove herself as a leading dramatic actress in The Country Girl is shrouded in controversy. Her Academy Award win for Best Actress at the 1955 Academy Awards continues to be a source of contention among film historians and fans alike, with many believing that Judy Garland should have won instead for her iconic role in the 1954 remake of A Star is Born. Despite the controversy, Grace was proud of the role, later telling biographer Donald Spoto, “…it was my chance to be more than a supporting character for the leading man. I had always worn beautiful clothes, or beautiful gowns or lingerie, or there were dramatic and colorful backgrounds. This was something completely different, and I worked very hard on it.” Although her time as an actress was rather short – she only made eleven films – she is still cited as one of the most influential film stars in American cinematic history. She was hailed as the actress who brought about a change from the run of the sex symbols who ruled Hollywood at the time. In June 1999, The American Film Institute ranked her number thirteen on their list of top female stars of American cinema, ahead of other popular female actress like Shirley Temple, Vivien Leigh and Rita Hayworth.

Her time as Princess of Monaco served to forever mark her role as the “Hollywood Princess,” and an icon of elegance and style. Her Serene Highness’s humanitarian work during this time showed a different side, a woman concerned with the wellbeing of children around the world and the arts. She founded AMADE Mondiale, a Monaco-based non-profit that promotes and protects the moral, physical, and spiritual integrity of children everywhere. She was active in improving the arts institutions in Monaco, later forming the Princess Grace Foundation in 1964 to help support local artisans. When asked how she would like to be remembered, Grace responded: “I would like to be remembered as someone who accomplished useful deeds, and who was a kind and loving person. I would like to leave the memory of a human being with a correct attitude and who did her best to help others.” I only wish that Grace could be here today to see the impact that she left on her country and abroad.

Article by Adanna Newby owner of Always Grace Kelly Instagram Page - Illustration by Madhav Sankar R Warrier