Albert of Monaco tells of the first love affair between his father Ranieri and his mother Grace Kelly

The appointment with the prince. Him arriving late. The visit to the palace gardens… Thus the son reconstructs the rendezvous from which it all began

  alberto-monaco-grace-kelly Albert of Monaco and the love story of his mother Grace and his father Ranieri Photo Video

Albert of Monaco writes for Today. A special memory, 40 years after the death of mother Grace Kelly. And if there are still many, many things that (maybe) you don't know about her ( guard ), the prince now recounts the first meeting of love between his mother and father Ranieri - Photo | video

Grace and Ranieri, the wedding that made the world dream: exclusive images from Today's archive - guard

ALBERTO'S STORY - Certain combinations, large or small, political or familiar, make history. If my mother Grace Kelly had not been invited to the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, I would have written only a few words today. She had come to the French Riviera to shoot To hunt the thief by Alfred Hitchcock in 1954. Everyone remembers the mythical scene of Cary Grant on the heights of Monaco: a witness says that the actress would have liked to discover the gardens of the Palace that can be seen after the port. The intuition of Pierre Galante, journalist of Paris Match, made my mother's wish come true the following spring. She was the American actress of the moment, she had just received the Oscar for The country girl . Robert Favre Le Bret, general delegate, used his Hollywood knowledge to make this young woman, just over 25, agree to be the queen of Cannes.

Grace Kelly, Rainier of Monaco and their children Alberto, Caroline and Stephanie in the unseen images of Today's archives - guard

TRAVEL BY TRAIN - On May 4 Grace Kelly took the blue train to the Gàre de Lyon in Paris, accompanied by her friend Gladys de Segonzac: she was the costume designer she met the year before on the set of To hunt the thief . Upon boarding the train, Gladys introduced her to Pierre Galante and his girlfriend Olivia de Havilland ( the diva di via col vento , ed). The next day, before arriving in Cannes, the journalist proposed to the actress to make a sort of reportage in the company of Rainier III, then thirty-two-year-old sovereign of Monaco since 1949. It remained only to find a possible date for the rendezvous. since both had their agendas full of scheduled appointments ... Despite being really busy, the prince did not want to miss the opportunity to introduce Monaco to the first world power: for some time the sovereign had turned his gaze to the United States, with the intention to attract investors who could raise the image of the Principality. It was established on May 6 at 3 pm. The flowered dress that my mother wore that afternoon, and which we jealously preserve, has become legendary even if it was not the one initially chosen. The hairstyle was improvised by Gladys de Segonzac ... Since the prince was late, Colonel Severac, the king's first assistant in the field, welcomed the guests.

Grace Kelly, relive the tale of the actress who became a princess in the exclusive images of Today - guard

HE WAS LATE - But it will be Michel Demaurizi who will have the heroic task of keeping Grace Kelly company for over 50 minutes, leading her to visit the halls of the Palace and pausing in front of the most prestigious pieces of the collection of the Napoleonic Empire of my great-grandfather, Prince Louis II. The photographers thus had the unmissable opportunity to have my mother pose in those rooms and on several occasions ... At 4 pm my father appeared in the royal antechamber ...

Grace Kelly, the crisis with Prince Rainier and the 'no' that cost her the most - guard

THE VISIT TO THE GARDENS Now, since the visit was practically over, the prince had no choice but to show the gardens. The atmosphere changed into a more relaxed situation. And by taking Grace Kelly to see the injured felines she had rescued during a cruise on the African coast, my father leveraged her charm. The conversation proceeds, complicity sets in. But it's late, we need to leave. Not even the time for a glass of champagne, much less the signature on the visitor's register of the Palazzo. As if the date of 6 May 1955 should not remain etched in the annals of the Principality ... In 2019, the year in which my mother would have turned 90, a delightful exhibition set up right in the Palazzo showed this memorable afternoon of 6 May. Many children have no traces of the meeting between their parents. Thanks to the Cannes Film Festival and ParisMatch for having given them to us and for having been in a certain sense the catalysts of our lives.

text collected by Stéphane Bern for Paris Match
translation by Luca Volpi