Grace Kelly was an American actress of Irish and German heritage. Her Irish origins were rooted in Wesport, Co Mayo. In April 1956, Kelly married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco and became Her Serene Highness, The Princess of Monaco. She and Prince Rainier had three children; Caroline, Albert and Stéphanie
A native of Philadelphia, Grace Kelly was born to John Brendan 'Jack' Kelly (October 4, 1889-June 20, 1960), and his wife, Margaret Katherine Majer (b. Schloss Helmsdorf, Germany, December 13, 1898-January 6, 1990). The newborn was named in memory of her father's sister, who had died at a young age. At her sister Margaret's baptism in 1925, Jack Kelly's mother, Mary Costello Kelly, expressed her disappointment that the baby was not named Grace in memory of her last daughter who died young. Upon his mother's death the following year, Jack Kelly resolved that his next daughter would bear the name and, three years later, with the arrival of Grace Patricia in November 1929, his late mother's wish was honored.
Because of low mathematics scores, Kelly was rejected by Bennington College in July 1947. To the dismay of her parents, Kelly decided to pursue her dreams of a career in the theater. For an audition into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York she used a scene from her uncle's 1923 play The Torch-Bearers. Although the school had already selected its semester quota, Kelly obtained an interview with the school's admission officer, Emile Diestel, and was admitted due to her uncle George. Living in Manhattan's Barbizon Hotel for Women, a prestigious establishment which barred men from entering after 10 p.m., and working as a model to support her studies, Kelly began her first term the following October.
Kelly started her acting career at the age of 20 and starred in New York City theatrical productions. In 1953, with the release of Mogambo, she became a movie star and swept up a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nomination as well as leading roles in five films.
In April 1955, Kelly headed the US delegation at the Cannes Film Festival. While there, she was invited to participate in a photo session at the Palace of Monaco with Prince Rainier III, the sovereign of the principality. After a series of delays and complications, Kelly met the prince in Monaco.
A year later they were married and she was forced to retire from acting at the age of 26 to take up her duties in Monaco. On September 13, 1982, while driving with her daughter Stéphanie to Monaco, Princess Grace suffered a stroke, which caused her to drive off the serpentine road down a mountainside. Grace was pulled alive from the wreckage, but had suffered serious injuries and was unconscious. She died the following day at the Monaco Hospital. Princess Stéphanie survived the incident.
Princess Grace wore this Givenchy Green Sleeveless dress on her official visit to Ireland with Prince Rainier on June 10th 1961, and again the same year when Monaco's royalty met American 'royalty' during the Prince and Princess' official visit to the United States. At the White House, President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy received the Prince and Princess for lunch.
Helen Rose costume from the musical comedy High Society: layered gray over rose chiffon gown appliquéd with rhinestones and pink and white embroidered flowers.
Helen Rose, the chief costume designer for MGM studios, created all of Grace's costumes for High Society. This dress was a favourite of Grace's and later, she brought it with her to Monaco.
In addition to creating costumes for three of Grace's previous films, Helen Rose went on to create both her wedding dress and the suit she wore at her civil wedding ceremony.