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Grace of Monaco: Hollywood Princess: what happened to Grace Kelly?

The princess consort of Monaco suffered a stroke while driving 

Emmy Griffiths

Channel 5's new documentary Grace of Monaco: Hollywood Princess is set to look at the life of the Hollywood star and princess who tragically passed away aged just 52 in 1982. But how did the princess consort of Monaco die? 

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Grace had been driving with her daughter, Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, as they returned to Monaco from their country home, when the princess suffered a stroke and lost control of the car, which then drove off the mountainside, despite Stéphanie's attempts to stop the car. The crash left the princess with brain injuries as well as a fractured femur and injured thorax, and her life support was turned off on the following day. Meanwhile, Stéphanie suffered a hairline fracture and a concussion. 

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There have been many questions surrounding Grace Kelly's death, and Stephanie has spoken out against rumours that the crash was in any way deliberate, that she was actually the one driving without a permit, or that she and her mother had been arguing at the time of the accident.

Speaking to Paris Match magazine in 2020, she explained: "I was not driving, that's clear. In fact, I was thrown around inside the car like my mother, who was catapulted on to the back seat... The passenger door was completely smashed in; I got out on the only accessible side, the driver's."

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The funeral of Grace Kelly

She continued: "I can't take it any more. All these calumnies that have been spoken and written have sustained a non-existent mystery. I just want to say, 'Stop! Let me raise my children in tranquillity, and go forward with my own life in serenity.'" 

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The princess added: "The investigation said the automatic gearbox was in the park position. Because I was about to take my driving test, I knew you had to put it in park to stop the car. I tried everything; I even pulled on the handbrake. Did my mother confuse the brake pedal with the accelerator? I don't know. But I wasn't driving."

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Grace with her husband and daughter, Stephanie

She also told the Chicago Tribune: "There was so much magic that surrounded mum, so much of that dream, that in some ways she almost stopped being human. It was difficult for people to accept that she could do something so human as to have a car accident. People figured I must have caused it because she was too perfect to do something like that. After a while you can’t help feeling guilty." 

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Stephanie has since opened up about the accident

Grace's husband Prince Rainier III, who passed away in 2005, also spoke about the press attention, saying: "They did their best to keep the story running and didn’t show much human compassion for the pain that we were suffering. When the press makes up a story about the Mafia wanting to kill Grace — though I can’t for a moment see why the Mafia would want to kill her — if there was some interpretation that seemed even only minutely possible, I’d say, all right. 

"But when they keep rehashing the story that Stephanie was driving and they know it’s not true, when they know it’s been proven that she wasn’t driving, it hurts all of us." 

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