September 14, 2015

33 Years: The Passing of Princess Grace

As today marks the 33rd anniversary of Princess Grace’s death, we will pause from our usual, lighthearted banter to take a moment of serious reflection on the passing of Prince Albert’s late mother and Princess Charlene’s predecessor. The world knew her in so many ways: as an actress, a princess, a fashion and beauty icon, a role model, a leader in charitable works, and as a wife and mother. She brought Monaco into the spotlight when she became its Princess, and her premature passing took the entire world by storm.

On September 13, 1982, Princess Grace suffered stroke while driving with Princess Stéphanie, causing her to lose control of the car and veer off of the road. Given Monaco’s jagged landscape, the car spilled down a mountainside and resulted in a severe accident. The princesses were, of course, transported to the hospital, where Princess Stéphanie would recover from non-fatal injuries. Sadly, though, Princess Grace suffered massive internal bleeding and head injuries that were irreversible. Thus, on September 14, 1982, Prince Rainier made the brave and compassionate decision to remove his wife from life support, allowing her to pass swiftly and in peace.

The whole of Monaco (and, indeed, the world) poured out condolences for their princess, who was taken from them at the very young age of 52. Flowers engulfed the cathedral steps as the country reeled in shock from their loss.

Prince Albert and Princess Caroline accompanied their father to the funeral on September 18, 1982. While heads of state from all corners of the world were in attendance, including Princess Diana, Princess Stéphanie was unfortunately unable to attend the funeral due to her own recovery.

The funeral was held at the Cathedral of Monaco, after which Princess Grace was buried on-site. Her husband, who followed her in death some 23 years later, now lies beside her. The graves are visited by thousands of tourists and admirers every year, including some of you who have told me as much in your comments! How lovely that we are still able to visit her tomb and pay respects – and that she has so many devoted followers to this day.

For the Princely family and the Monégasque people, and in particular for Princess Stéphanie who experienced this so tragically first-hand, I’m sure this 33rd anniversary is a tender one, and we wish them all the comfort in the world. Princess Grace’s legend continues to thrive, and she is iconic for people from all walks of life. Be they interested in social justice or fashion or motherhood, undoubtedly they will have taken a cue from Princess Grace at one point or another. To this remarkable lady and the family she left behind, who remember her mostly as mother and friend, she will be missed now and always. May she rest in peace.

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