In a rare treat, Prince Albert of Monaco opened the palacedoors for a rather personal tour. The reigning monarch took CBS Sunday Morning through the Monaco palace,poignantly remembering his mother, Grace Kelly, along the way. Set high on thesparkling Mediterranean shore, the palace dates back to the 12thcentury, seemingly splashed with memories of Grace in every corner.
Grace with her children and Albert (all grown up) with his at the palace Photo: Getty Images
“There’s a famous picture of my – I think it’sfamous, you can tell me that! There’s a picture of my parents exchangingglances with the view of Monaco in the background,” Albert said, while walkingthe palace grounds during the interview. His parents, of course, were Prince Rainier and GraceKelly. Their 1956 wedding transformed Grace from a Hollywood royal into a real-lifePrincess.
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco at their wedding Photo: AFP/Getty Images
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Grace, who is celebrated for films like Rear Window and To Catch aThief, became an Oscar-winner for her performance alongside Bing Crosby in The Country Girl. She retired fromacting at 26-years-old to marry Rainier and raise their children (Albert andhis sisters, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie). “She was a very loving andcaring mother,” Albert told CBS Sunday Morning. “She not only madesure that she gave us enough attention and enough love and that we hadeverything we needed, but she was so caring toward other people, too.”
Princess Grace and her family in 1976 Photo: AFP/Getty Images
However, just because Grace gave up acting didn’t mean sheleft behind her Hollywood friends. Albert recalled the glittering list ofvisitors his mother used to host at the palace: “Alfred Hitchcock, Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra… how could you forget them!” Albert then laughed saying: “he [CaryGrant] and my father used to have a have a field day telling jokes!”
The palace shines with bright memories of Albert’s motherGrace. On the tour, the Prince showed viewers where he played growing up, and arather modern looking pool designed by Grace. Inside, the Salle de Garde (theold guard’s room) is currently used as a family room. The Prince said his momwasn’t originally fond of the decorating style, so she asked his father if shecould redo it. “We’ve had these blue-colored walls since then,” Albert said, gesturing to the rich-colored paint.
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Princess Grace presides over the formal reception room with astunning portrait. Done by American artist Ralph Cohen, shortly after Grace’swedding, the large painting looms on the wall. Grace’s history is carefullyconserved at the palace with her childhood photos, letters, passports, clothingand jewels existing in the home like museum. Perhaps most notably preservedthere are the gown she wore to accept her Oscar and her engagement ring fromPrince Rainier.
Grace in her famous Oscars gown Photo: Getty Images
Prince Albert and his wife, Princess Charlene, are ensuringthat Princess Grace’s legacy also lives on through her charity. After Grace’s deathin 1982, her husband began the Princess Grace Foundation-USA to givescholarships to students in the performing arts. This was because Grace hadlong offered support to struggling new performers in private. “It’s tocelebrate Princess Grace’s living legacy for supporting the up-and-comingartists, emerging talent, and giving hope and inspiration to many others outthere,” Princess Charlene said of the foundation. “She knew what young artistsgo though,” Albert added, “and what their aspirations are, and sometimes thatthey don’t have the means to continue their careers.”
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Over almost 35 years, the foundation has given more than 850grants out. Some recent recipients include: Oscar Isaac (seen in the Star Wars films) and costume designerPaul Tazewell and actor Leslie Odom, Jr., won Tony Awards for their work on Hamilton. “It was an encouragement,”Leslie said, “a wink from this industry that I love so much, and this businessthat I was preparing for saying ‘We believe in you,’ and there might be a placefor you here.”
When asked about his favorite "Grace Kelly film," Albert wastorn: “I kind of hesitate between HighNoon and Rear Window.” WithGrace’s last movies made over 60 years ago, her son is enthralled with howlasting her legacy is. “It’s incredibly rewarding and touching to see how muchpeople still admire her, and that her name still resonates today,” he said.