Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding (1956)

Invited at Cannes’ Film Festival, in 1955, Grace Kelly meets the prince of Monaco and in 1956, the American actress becomes a princess while she settles in Monaco after a sumptuous wedding. News of the engagement was a sensation, even though it meant a probable end to Kelly’s film career.

The Napoleonic Code of Monaco and the laws of the Roman Catholic Church necessitated two ceremonies – both a civil ceremony and a religious wedding.

The 16-minute civil ceremony took place in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco on April 18, 1956, and a reception later in the day was attended by 3,000 Monaco citizens. To cap the ceremony, the 142 official titles that she acquired in the union (counterparts of his) were formally recited.

The following day the church ceremony took place at Monaco’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral, before Monaco’s Bishop Gilles Barthe. 

The wedding was estimated to have been watched by over 30 million viewers on live television, and was described by biographer Robert Lacey as “the first modern event to generate media overkill.” 

Her wedding dress, designed by MGM’s Academy Award–winning Helen Rose, was worked on for six weeks by three dozen seamstresses. The bridesmaids’ gowns were designed by Joe Allen Hong at Neiman Marcus.

The 700 guests included several famous people, including Aristotle Onassis, Cary Grant, David Niven and his wife Hjördis, Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner, the crowned head Aga Khan III, Gloria Guinness, Enid, Lady Kenmare, Daisy Fellowes, Etti Plesch, Lady Diana Cooper, Louise de Vilmorin, Loelia Lindsay, and Conrad Hilton.

She and Rainier left that night for their seven-week Mediterranean honeymoon cruise on his yacht, Deo Juvante II.

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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Grace Kelly & Rainier III, Prince of Monaco Wedding Day, April 19, 1956

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In April 19th 1956, the world watched as Prince Rainier of Monaco wed Hollywood actress Grace Kelly at the Cathedral of St Nicholas.

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