She was known as the “Ice Queen” of Hollywood, and the American actress who became a real life princess. Grace Kelly captured the hearts of millions, yet starred in just eleven films, including Dial M for Murder (1954), High Society (1956) and Hitchcock’s seminal classic Rear Window (1954), before being whisked away from the big screen and into the palace of His Serene Highness Rainier III, Prince of Monaco. Always in the media eye, it was no surprise that Princess Grace of Monaco meticulously diarised both her public and private lives in a host of custom Smythson diaries.
Grace Kelly lived an extraordinary life and her hand-crafted Smythson diary, given to her as a wedding gift by Smythson when she married Prince Rainier III in Monaco’s St Nicholas Cathedral, on April 19th, 1956, was emblematic of her leap from Hollywood starlet to Princess proper. An already-loyal customer of the brand, her special wedding edition was bound in cherry calf leather and vellum and stamped with her royal cypher.
It was during a visit to the Cannes Film Festival in 1955 that Kelly visited Monaco, on the recommendation of Olivia de Havilland’s husband Pierre Galante. As part of this visit, an audience was arranged with Prince Rainier to be photographed by Paris Match magazine – and the Prince was over an hour late. Just as she was about to leave, Rainer appeared and the rest became the stuff of front page folklore. It was incidents like this, those that resembled moments from the movies themselves, that heightened the collective buzz around the actress and her personal life.
When Kelly became Her Serene Highness Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, she gave up her screen presence and associated Hollywood lifestyle (her films were famously banned in the small principality and her husband even vetoed Hitchcock who wanted her for the lead in Marnie) and instead spent her days representing the family at charity events, garden clubs and other stately events. Yet, her diaries suggest that Kelly was reluctant to give up the glittering lights of Hollywood entirely. Each week-to-view page was printed with a custom design, breaking each day into lunch and evening. Princess or not, Grace Kelly did not make plans before noon. Why would you when your days were filled with long luncheons and glittering events in hotels on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais? The addition of theatre, cinema and opera listings at the front of the book (where they sat amidst road maps, vintage wine charts and recommendations on the best places to eat and drink Europe’s most fashionable cities) also provided the Princess with a chance to escape to Hollywood – even after she’d left the screen for good.
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