Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Perils of a New Princess

Mad for Monaco discusses the early struggles of Princess Grace. I am reminded of Princess Lilian of Belgium, who was also snubbed by the aristocracy. Sadly, however, Lilian never had the same opportunity to win the hearts of her people.
Prince Rainier was attacked on behalf of Grace with accusations that the whole match had been nothing but a publicity stunt on his part and there was prejudice against Grace because of her American background and as yet imperfect French. Family and staff would often speak French when Grace was around knowing she could not understand them; making snide remarks. Princess Grace tried to make herself a part of the circles of her husband but she was treated rather coldly in the beginning. When she began redecorating the Princely Palace there was plenty of criticism about her taste. Too American they said, too Hollywood they said. However, grumbling was about all they could do as Prince Rainier took the side of his wife in everything. She was to have things the way she liked it and that was that. However, Prince Rainier was extremely busy, the weight of ruling a country on his shoulders, and he had less time to devote to his wife than either of them would have liked.
Princess Grace was often lonely in these early days. She took time to study the history of Monaco, the House of Grimaldi and was particularly interested in the previous American Princess of Monaco and took her as something of an example to follow at least so far as bringing art and culture to Monaco. While her husband devoted himself to the business of government she would devote herself to adding style, class and refinement to Monegasque life. Still, with the other high society ladies giving her the cold shoulder, it was difficult to get started. It is to her credit that she never let it show in public how much this bothered her. She accepted the situation and went ahead as she thought best. If there were those who would criticize her in any event, she would not bother with them. She even did her best to smooth relations amongst the Grimaldi family, keeping the lines of communication open even after the rivalry between Princess Antoinette and Prince Rainier reached its apex in what some have described as an attempted palace coup.

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