Grace of Monaco

The True Story


By Jeffrey Robinson

Formats and Prices




$19.99 CAD



  1. Trade Paperback $15.99 $19.99 CAD
  2. ebook $2.99 $2.99 CAD
  3. Trade Paperback $21.99 $28.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around May 26, 2015. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

In one of the most famous romances of the twentieth century, Europe's most eligible bachelor, Prince Rainier of Monaco, and America's most beautiful movie star, the Academy Award-winning actress Grace Kelly, fell in love and married against the backdrop of the closest thing the modern world has to a magical kingdom, the French Riviera's Principality of Monaco.

Told with affection and humor, and written with the unprecedented cooperation of Prince Rainier III and his children, Prince Albert, Princess Caroline, and Princess Stephanie, Grace of Monaco takes readers beneath the surface glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo for a never-to-be-forgotten portrait of the House of Grimaldi. 


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Also by Jeffrey Robinson

Title Page

Author’s Note




Chapter 1 Becoming Grace

Chapter 2  A Shy Man

Chapter 3  A Public Romance

Chapter 4 The Last Secret  Treasure Garden

Chapter 5  The Private Story

Chapter 6  Making Plans

Chapter 7  The Wedding

Chapter 8  Rainier Reminiscing

Chapter 9  Growing Up Monegasque

Chapter 10  The Birth of Modern Monaco

Chapter 11  Taking On Onassis

Chapter 12  Battling de Gaulle

Photo Section 1

Chapter 13 Mr. and Mrs. Grimaldi  and Their Family

Chapter 14  Coming Into  Their Own

Chapter 15 The Press Feeding Frenzy  Never Stopped

Chapter 16 Grace

Chapter 17 From Princess  to Performer


Chapter 18 Before the  Laughter Stopped

Chapter 19 Teamwork

Chapter 20 Grimaldi Inc.

Chapter 21 Caroline

Chapter 22  Albert

Chapter 23 Stephanie

Chapter 24  Rainier on Stamps, Russians, Prison, Banishment, and  the Money in His Pocket

Chapter 25 Caroline— Life Goes On

Photo Section 2

Chapter 26 Albert— Friends and Lovers

Chapter 27  Stephanie— Following Her Heart

Chapter 28  The Accident

Chapter 29  After Grace

Chapter 30  Moving On

Chapter 31  In a Talkative Mood

Chapter 32  Rainier Revisited

Chapter 33  The End of  the Fairy Tale


A Personal Epilogue





also by Jeffrey Robinson

e-book originals

Jeffrey Robinson’s Criminal Intent—Following the Money

Jeffrey Robinson’s Criminal Intent—The Swiss Wash Whiter

e-book fiction

A True and Perfect Knight

The Monk’s Disciples

The Margin of the Bulls

Trump Tower

e-book non-fiction

The Laundrymen: Inside the World’s Third Largest Business:
Money Laundering

The Merger: The Conglomeration of International Organized Crime

The Sink: Terror, Crime and Dirty Money in the Offshore World

The Takedown: A Suburban Mom, A Coal Miner’s Son and
the Unlikely Demise of Colombia’s Brutal Norte Valle Cartel

The Manipulators: Unmasking the Hidden Persuaders

The Hotel: Upstairs, Downstairs in a Secret World

e-book biography

Rainier and Grace: 30 Years after the Death of Princess Grace

Bardot: Two Lives

e-book as told to

Standing Next to History: An Agent’s Life Inside the Secret Service
(with Joseph Petro, United States Secret Service, Retired)

Leading from the Front (with Gerald Ronson)




Author’s Note

At Princess Grace’s funeral in 1982, one of her old Hollywood buddies, Jimmy Stewart, summed up what so many people in the church that day, already knew: “I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met. Grace brought into my life, as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her. And every time I saw her was a holiday of its own.”

Years before, when Frank Sinatra sang to her in High Society, “You’re Sensational,” he got that right. Years later, after her death, he was right again when he told friends, “She was one helluva special broad.”

Princess Grace of Monaco, nee Grace Patricia Kelly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is lovingly remembered by everyone who knew her.

This book was originally written in 1989, with the full and unprecedented cooperation of the four people who loved her best: Prince Rainier III, Prince Albert, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie.

Over the years I have revised it for various editions. Grace of Monaco is the latest incarnation. Understandably, then, this book will forever be dedicated to

Grace (1929–1982)

and to Rainier (1923–2005)

And to Albert, Caroline, and Stephanie, too.

Your parents were sensational.

by Nicole Kidman

I knew Grace Kelly, the actress, from films such as Rear Window and To Catch a Thief, but I only knew Princess Grace from her very public image, the fairy tale we all witnessed from afar. I didn’t know anything about her childhood. Or about her struggles as an actress, as a young artist trying to find herself, to find her place in the world. I knew even less about her marriage to Prince Rainier, and what her family life was like.

For me, approaching this role, there was a disconnect between the public Grace—the actress and the Princess—and the private Grace, the mother, the wife, the daughter. For me, the central question became, what lies beneath the fairy tale? Grace was very private, deliberately so, and I wanted to honor that. But I also wanted to be true to her life and experiences.

The problem is that any time an artist or performer is asked to portray a real person, especially someone as famous as Princess Grace, there is the risk of impersonation or imitation. That’s not what I wanted. So I started by reading everything about her I could find. I studied her interviews. And I watched her films. My goal was to absorb the essence of her, so that I could honor with integrity the person she was, while also bringing a sense of expression to the part.

From experience, I knew that by taking it all in, letting everything sink in, the Grace I would portray would emerge, almost subconsciously.

At the same time, I have always been fascinated by the blurry line between art and reality. But there is also an overlap. And that’s where an artist can find expression to translate into the fictionalized world of film. I’ll show you what I mean. There is a moment in the film when Grace is struggling to succeed as a royal figure, when she is told by her confidante, Father Tucker, that she needs to approach her royal duties as if she is acting the role of a lifetime. It’s a key moment, because that’s how Grace discovers who she is in Monaco. That became one of my keys to understanding her. It stayed with me because I could imagine how complex and difficult that was. As a head of state, you have to act, you have to perform, and yet, it is not an act or a performance, it is your life. In real life, you don’t have the walls of the movie set, the frame of the camera, to tell you who to be. Grace survived a tremendous challenge of identity: finding the right balance between actress, mother, wife, and princess.

That’s impressive.

As I got to know her, I was also very impressed how deeply dedicated she was to her children and to her husband—to providing for her family. Her early years had been spent amidst the wealth of old money Philadelphia. Then came the struggle to succeed as an artist, and the fame of Hollywood stardom. After that came ever greater fame, plus the glamor of Monaco. And yet, she stayed true to her convictions, to her belief that love is the most important thing of all.

It was love, compassion, and sensitivity that served as her compass as she navigated her way through life. We all know that fame and wealth can be deceptively misleading. And Grace knew that more than most. But she knew what mattered, set her compass true and often referred to it for guidance. It told her, listen to your heart.

Staying true to her heart is why, I think, people connect so strongly with her. And nowhere is that connection greater than in Monaco. She arrived in 1956 as Grace Kelly, the actress, but by 1962, around the time that Alfred Hitchcock asked her to return to acting and star in his film Marnie—which is one of the central themes of the film—she was no longer Grace Kelly, she had become Princess Grace.

It was a unique transformation, something the world had never seen before. Even today, you can feel Grace’s presence in Monaco. It’s something that Olivier Dahan, the director of the film, kept ­saying—that Grace became Monaco and Monaco became Grace. That the two were inseparable then. That they are inseparable now.

I find something beautiful about that—a person, a moment of existence, and a place being aligned so clearly.

But I also came to feel a certain emptiness.

I got to know Grace by reading about her and studying her and seeing her films, and with that familiarity came a sense of loss.

I feel deeply that, when she died in 1982, the world lost a really special woman.

What remains is the film version of her life, which has taken gentle liberties with her story for the sake of the cinema, and this biography, which tells it like it really was. For my part, I have tried to keep alive in the film the true magic that was Grace. And Jeffrey has kept that same magic alive in this book.

I hope you enjoy both.


There is a slight chill in the air as the sun starts to climb its way over the edge of the horizon, far out to sea.

The water goes from pale gray, a mirror of the sky, to a stunning bluish green as the morning steadily sneaks into the corners of the port and lights up a building there that is strawberry pink.

It lights Le Roche, the rock overlooking the harbor the juts into the sea where the Prince’s Palace sits guarded by its ancient ramparts. It lights the high-rise apartment houses that line the Avenue Princess Grace, along the fabulously expensive stretch of seafront called Monte Carlo Beach. It lights the old villas, piled almost one on top of the other, along the face of the hill the stares down at the casino and the Hotel de Paris and the Café de Paris and the Mediterranean behind them.

At first everything seems flat.

All the colors seem washed out.

But the early morning sun casts a special light that you only see in the south of France, especially after the nighttime Mistral has swept away the clouds. It’s intense, dustless, crystal-clear light which brings colors alive in such a way that you think to yourself—nowhere else on the earth does it color everything quite like this.

The sun catches the buildings almost unawares. For a second it turns them all a pale pinkish orange. But almost before you notice it, that’s gone. Now you see red and yellow and some of the buildings are a soft, rich Assam tea golden shade—gold in this case being an appropriate color considering the price of real estate here.

Now you also see awnings opening across thousands of balconies—blue awnings and pink awnings, and faded red awnings that have lived through too many summers, and bright yellow awnings that have just been bought.

The night train from Barcelona pulls into the station on its way to the Italian border town of Ventimiglia. A voice with a marked accent announces over the loud speaker, “Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo ... deux minutes d’arret ... Monte Carlo.”

On the other side of the tracks, the morning train from Ventimiglia pulls into the station on its way to Nice and Antibes and Cannes, and the man with the marked accent makes the same announcement. “Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo ... deux minutes d’arret ... Monte Carlo.”

The first room-service shift has already begun at the Hermitage and the Hotel de Paris where the smallest croissants on earth arrive promptly, in a basket with coffee and orange juice, at a cost of $40.

A lone helicopter flies the length of the beach.

At La Vigie restaurant on the cliff behind the pink stucco 1930s style Old Beach Hotel, they’re already setting up the buffet lunch tables. While an old man in a boat with an outboard engine sails by. And two women take an early morning swim together, dog-­paddling and talking all the way out to the far buoy.

Gardeners are trimming rose bushes on the road up to Le Rocher.

A very large yacht leaves the port, ever so slowly.

A police officer in his well-starched red and white uniform directs traffic at the Place d’Armes.

A sometimes-famous tennis player poses next to a swimming pool for a spread before going up to the Tennis Club to spend the next three hours working on his once devastating backhand.

Two rather pretty German girls walk back to their tiny studio apartment after a night at Jimmyz.

A teenaged Italian boy stands behind the service bar at the Moana, washing glasses and listening to music on a portable radio while a teenaged French boy piles chairs on top of tables so that the dance floor can be buffed.

A middle-aged man in a blue work smock runs a vacuum cleaner over the carpets in the casino.

An old woman dressed in black makes her way through the narrow streets of Le Rocher towards the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, which the locals call, St. Nicholas.

The quartier is empty, except for a single policeman walking slowly past the Oceanographic Museum, and a black-robed priest taking some fresh air on the steps of the church before the morning mass.

The old woman dressed in black gives the priest a simple nod and moves into the darkened church, crossing herself and mumbling under her breath, hurrying past the altar to a pair of marble slabs.

One says, rainierivs iii.

The other says gratia patricia.

She crosses herself, pauses for only a second, then leaves the church and hurries towards the large open place in front of the Palace.

Two Carabiniers are guarding the entrance, another is standing near the smaller side door and a fourth is walking casually through the street where a thick black chain prevents cars from parking just there.

The old woman dressed in black stops at the end of the street and looks at the Palace, to see the Prince’s ensign flying there, then nods and crosses herself again.



From where Grace sat at her desk in her fair-sized office on the top floor of the Palace tower, she had a view from two windows looking at the yacht laden harbor below, and the tiny hill behind it that is Monte Carlo.

She’d decorated the room in pale greens and pale yellows, and placed a big couch in the middle of it—she’d brought that couch with her from Philadelphia—and on either side of it were tables covered in magazines.

There were silver-framed photographs of her family scattered around, on her desk, on tables and on shelves, and on the walls she’d hung paintings and drawings, her favorite being a large oil of New York City.

Now, staring down at the blank piece of paper, thinking about this letter she never wanted to write, the woman who’d given up Hollywood fame as Grace Kelly to become Princess Grace of Monaco, took her fountain pen and in her very deliberate and very neat handwriting, put “June 18th, 1962” at the top.

It was a start.

Then she wrote, “Dear Hitch—”

Had it been 12 years already?

In 1950, as an aspiring actress living in New York, she was offered a black and white screen test by Twentieth Century Fox, for a role she didn’t get.

But the director Fred Zinneman had seen that test and two years later cast her opposite Gary Cooper in High Noon.

It was her first major screen role.

And while the public found her beautiful, and Cooper won the Academy Award for best actor, Grace didn’t even figure on the original poster. The New York Times review only gave her passing mention.

The director John Ford had seen that screen test, too. He decided she had, “breeding, quality and class,” and convinced MGM to fly her out to Los Angeles to audition for Mogambo, a picture he was going to make in Africa with Clark Gable and Ava Gardner.

The part was hers if she wanted it, which she did, but MGM insisted that she sign a seven-year contract to get it. The studio was going to pay her $850 a week, which might have seemed like a lot of money at the time to many people, but by Hollywood standards, was paltry.

Holding out as long as she could, she managed to get two important concessions from the studio. They wouldn’t up the money, but they agreed she could have time off every two years to work in the theater, and that she wouldn’t have to move to California, that she could stay in New York.

“The studios are tenacious,” she had to admit, “when they want someone or something, they always get it”—signing her name with a borrowed pen, standing at the airport counter with the engines of the plane that would take her to Africa, already turning.

In the meantime, Alfred Hitchcock had also seen that 1950 screen test. He decided she was, “a snow-covered volcano.”

She wrote, “It was heartbreaking for me to have to leave the picture—”

This was the first time she’d confessed that to anyone, besides her husband.

The British born Hitchcock had moved to Hollywood in 1939 and had just become a US citizen. In his mid-50s, he was bald, shaped like an egg, had a very distinctive voice, and was right at the top of the A-List of Hollywood directors, making films that are now considered classics: Spellbound with Ingrid Bergman and ­Gregory Peck; John Steinbeck’s Lifeboat; Suspicion with Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine; and Notorious, again with Cary Grant but this time with Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains.

When he cast Grace to play alongside Ray Milland in a thriller called Dial M for Murder, he did what no previous director had done—put her on a pedestal and turned her into a movie star.

Now she wrote, “I was so excited about doing it and particularly about working with you again—” using dashes instead of commas or periods, which she often did.

Throughout the filming of Dial M, he kept talking to her about his next picture, this one with Jimmy Stewart called Rear Window. He’d been so enthusiastic about it, that when the time came, she turned down the chance to work with Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront—her replacement, Eva Marie Saint, won the Best Actress Oscar for that role—and opted for Hitch’s new film.

She wrote, “When we meet I would like to explain to you myself all of the reasons which is difficult to do by letter or through a third-party—”

After that, she teamed up with Hitch again, for To Catch a Thief, working alongside Cary Grant, which they filmed on the French Riviera. It was on the success of that film that she returned to France the following year, to the Cannes Film Festival, which is when she met Prince Rainier.

That was 1955.

“When I married Prince Rainier,” she told people at the time, “I married the man and not what he represented or what he was. I fell in love with him without giving a thought to anything else.”

But that “anything else” was something very unique and seven years later, the fairy tale that had begun with that first meeting in Monaco, was alive and well.

She came to the office every day, but did not keep banker’s hours. Sometimes she’d come in early, sometimes she’d come in late. She’d stay as long as she had to, depending on her appointment schedule. But even when she wasn’t in the office, her days were busy because Rainier had given her a lot of responsibilities. She’d already redecorated the Palace, a huge task, airing the musty place out, repainting and redecorating, then dividing the children’s room in two, putting a partition down the middle, so that each of them would have their own space. Long before that was finished, she’d become President of the Monegasque Red Cross, President of the local Garden Club and oversaw almost all of the official cultural activities in Monaco. She also had the household to run, which meant administering a sizeable staff and also supervising the marketing. She personally planned every menu for the family, paying special attention to Rainier’s weight, and her own, and making sure that her children ate well-balanced meals.

“You know what my husband calls me?” she would confide to friends. “He says I’m his Domestic Affairs Coordinator. Makes me sound like a member of the cabinet.”

She was dedicated to what she was doing and wanted everything to be perfect because—as people had quickly discovered soon after she’d arrived—Grace was a perfectionist.

Arriving as she did in Monaco, knowing no one except Rainier, being that far away from home at a time when telephones didn’t work so well, and not speaking the language, was difficult. But by now she’d grown comfortable in her role as Princess Grace.

And the year had begin so promisingly.

Her daughter Caroline was five and her son Albert—everyone in the family called him Albie—was four. Her husband, whom she called Ray, had just turned 39. They were a handsome, happy and healthy family. Rainier spoke French to the children and she spoke English to them, so Caroline and Albie were growing up completely bilingual. And her own French had improved so much that she happily spoke the language in public, although she never lost her American accent.

But then she’d suffered a miscarriage.

And there would be a second one that year.

At the same time, France’s President Charles de Gaulle was making threatening noises, again, about tax evaders in Monaco. He was threatening Rainier that he was going to clamp down.

De Gaulle and Rainier had been through this before. Rainier always maintained Monaco’s sovereignty from France, which had been written into official treaties. But, this time, de Gaulle wasn’t having it and, official treaty or no, he was determined to do something about it.

Grace could see, up close, the pressure her husband was under.

And now there was this with Hitchcock.

The two had stayed in touch ever since she’d left Hollywood. And she never hesitated to credit him with making her a star.

“Hitch taught me everything about the cinema,” she would say. “It’s thanks to him that I understood that murder scenes should be shot like love scenes and love scenes like murder scenes.”

Towards the end of 1961, while working on a new picture called Marnie—which would star a handsome Scots actor named Sean Connery, who’d just broken all the box office records playing James Bond in Dr. No—Hitchcock decided Grace would be perfect for the title role.

He often cast actors he’d worked with in previous films. He’d hired Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart four times, and Ingrid Bergman three times. Now he wanted to hire Grace for the fourth time.


  • Hudson Valley News, 6/15/15
    “Sheds light on the royal family and their lives—with Grace and without her. Brings back a lot of memories!”

    “One of the best biographies of the year.” – St. Louis Post Dispatch

    “Rekindles the magic of the century's greatest love stories.” – Daily Express

    “Wonderful.” – USA Today

    “Creates a picture of a fascinating woman and an enduring love affair.” – Boston Herald

    “The first inside story of the world's most glamorous family.” – Sunday Mirror

On Sale
May 26, 2015
Page Count
372 pages
Da Capo Press

Jeffrey Robinson

About the Author

Jeffrey Robinson lived in the South of France for a dozen years and got to know Princess Grace and her family. Prince Rainier's only stipulation to him was, “Tell the truth.”

Learn more about this author