April 19, 2015

A Royal Wedding Anniversary

Exactly 59 years ago today, Grace Kelly became the Princess of Monaco in the lavish wedding ceremony that captured the world’s attention. Still regarded as one of the most famous weddings in recent history – nay, in all of history – it is my personal belief that this wedding brought royals into the limelight. Royals have always been famous, of course, but had previously been unreachable. But given that this event was televised and included a Hollywood celebrity, this particular union seemed to signify a shift: royalty for the era of stardom.

Grace and Rainier had a whirlwind courtship, and though they had met previously, their romantic relationship and engagement occurred over the course of a few days. She set sail for Monaco in early April of 1956, with a particularly grand send off from her fans in the USA.

A little over a week later, Grace arrived in Monaco to a warm welcome from the Monégasque people. Wedding preparations took up the next week, until the civil ceremony on April 18:

The beautiful but very short ceremony took place in the Palace Throne Room, with a reception following:

I LOVE Grace’s dress for the reception. Fit for a princess! (And. Those. SHOES. Um…those are for me, yes?)

The next day was THE wedding, of course! The religious ceremony is the one we all consider their anniversary: April 19, 1956. At the time it was considered “the wedding of the century,” but I think Charles and Diana may have swept that title away since.

The epic wedding ceremony took place at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco, and was televised around the world. It is estimated that millions of people tuned in for the ceremony, starting the era of die-hard royal wedding-watching.

And then there’s the dress…oh, the dress. Grace Kelly’s wedding gown was designed by MGM’s costume designer, Helen Rose, and has been replicated hundreds of times since for any bride who wants to look classy. It is considered one of the most elegant and beautiful wedding gowns in history. The most famous dress to offer up grand similarities (while maintaining its own unique flavor) was the Duchess of Cambridge’s beautiful wedding gown:

Same result: elegant, regal, appropriate, gorgeous.

The gown itself consisted of a sweetheart neckline with a lace illusion bodice, wrapped tightly at the waist and opening into a bell-shaped skirt. It had a modest but impressive train, and she wore her hair swept back with a headpiece (not a tiara, though) and a lace-embroidered veil.

It is famously said that she carried a prayer book down the aisle in lieu of flowers; however, while she did carry a prayer book, she also had flowers. They were later left at the chapel of Sainte Dévote, as is customary.

There was, of course, another reception after the religious ceremony, which included a gigantic wedding cake (not quite of the same scale as Charlene and Albert’s wedding cake, as you can see at the end of this post, but close). *Nom nom nom.*

While Prince Rainier and Princess Grace are no longer with us, it’s still appropriate to think of them today and remember their wedding fondly. Here’s to a beautiful couple and a beautiful day!


  1. Jane Barr says:

    This is seriously the coolest news of the day. Thanks for this great post!

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