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Royal Pictures from History: arrival of a princess

There are thousands of images of royalty but some regal pictures stand out. They capture a moment in time that has its own resonance and which lasts beyond the day on which it was taken. In this occasional series, Royal Central takes a look back at some of the best known royal images in history and the story behind them. This time, it’s the moment celebrity and royalty really came together in modern times.

The picture – Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly, April 12th 1956

Embed from Getty Images

The background

Grace Kelly was one of the most famous and celebrated film stars in the world when she met Rainier III, sovereign of the tiny principality of Monaco. Their secret courtship culminated in an engagement that captured imaginations, and headlines, around the world.

In April 1956, Grace left the United States by ship to travel to her wedding and her new home in Monaco with the world watching. She arrived in the harbour of Monte Carlo on board Rainier’s yacht, the Deo Juvante II, on April 12th 1956, and the image of the happy couple setting sail into a new life together, as the most glamourous royal couple in the world, was beamed to millions.

The legacy

Grace and Rainier married in a civil ceremony on April 18th 1956 at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco followed by a religious ceremony on April 19th 1956 at St. Nicholas’ Cathedral watched by millions around the world. Grace and Rainier’s wedding was the first time a modern royal wedding had enjoyed so much intense media coverage as the new princess’ celebrity friends rubbed shoulders with the ruling classes of Europe. Every moment of the marriage made headlines and Grace and Rainier would go on to become one of the most famous royal couples in the world, a legacy that still endures today.

About author

Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.