Grace Kelly
[Blog] Grace Kelly: The American Princess

Author: Ben Nussbaum


Portrait of Grace Kelly.

Grace Kelly had a storybook life. She came from a very wealthy Philadelphia family. In addition to owning a large construction firm, her father had won three Olympic gold medals in rowing. She was, of course, ridiculously beautiful.

Her film career lasted only from 1950 to 1956, but in that time she won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe; played next to leading men Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Clark Gable; and cemented her acting legacy by staring in all-time classics Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, To Catch a Thief, and High Noon. She was an American Princess before she became an actual princess.

On April 18, 1956, Kelly wed Prince Ranier of Monaco, a tiny sun-drenched country nestled between France and the Mediterannean. The build-up to the wedding and the ceremony itself were massive media events. Grace Kelly served as Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco until her death in 1982.

No other American has a story that can quite compare with that.


Rita Hayworth in 1947. Source: Creative Commons.

But plenty of Americans have married royalty. Some American princesses include:

  • Rita Hayworth: Another movie star. Hayworth had a short-lived marriage in 1949 to Prince Aly Khan, whose family is the head of a sect of Shia Islam.
  • Kendra Spears: A former model, Spears joined the Khan family in 2013 as the wife of Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Princy Aly Khan’s grandson.
  • Lisa Najeeb Halaby: Halab was born in Washington, D.C. in 1951. Her father worked in the Kennedy administration and later was the CEO of Pan Am Airlines. Halaby married King Hussein of Jordan in 1978, becoming Queen Noor.
  • Hope Cooke: A college freshman touring India in 1959, Cooke met Palden Thondup Namgyal, Crown Prince of tiny Sikkim in the Himalayan mountains, in a bar. They married in 1963. He was deposed in 1975 and the couple divorced in 1980.

At least one American man has become a prince. Chris Thomas met Princess Ruth Komuntale of Uganda while she was studying at American University. The two wed in November 2012. And yet the fairy tale of a beautiful starlet who becomes a princess seems to have Grace Kelly saliently in the central role of popular culture.

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Submitted by: Ben Nussbaum
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