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“I made up my own mind and didn’t ask my parents for permission to marry Rainier. I had asked once or twice before, and it hadn’t worked out. This time, I knew I had to make my own decision, and I did.” Grace said.
On January 5, 1956, Kelly’s engagement to the prince was announced, and shortly after, production began on High Society – Grace’s last film before she retired from Hollywood.
Kelly had met Prince Rainer III of Monaco at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955. What began with letters bloomed into a romance, and Rainer popped the question on Christmas.
“Neither of us was a child. We both understood what marriage meant,” said Rainier. “I think we both realized that what we wanted was to make our lives together.”
Kelly actually wore her real engagement ring in the film – a 10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond ring designed by Cartier. The ring was intended as a nod to Monaco by using the colors of the country’s flag. The cost was estimated to be more than $4 million, so of course, Director Charles Walters made sure to feature a close-up of the rock in the film.
The studio was particularly thankful of all the buzz surrounding their star’s engagement and hoped to build on it. They said that Kelly could kept all of her costumes and even commissioned a wedding dress which took approximately six weeks to make by 30 seamstresses.
“Of course I was very grateful for the studio’s generosity but I must admit that Rainier and I would have been happy to be married in our own ordinary, casual clothes in a secluded chapel somewhere. After all, I would have married him even if he was some small-town mayor.”
On April 18, 1956, Kelly married Prince Rainier, and Hollywood celebrities like Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson, and Ava Gardner attended.