Grace Kelly

Isn't it a dream of every girl to become a real life princess? Even if the odds are insurmountable for most of us, it doesn't stop us from day dreaming about being announced at a fancy coronation or marrying our prince charming. Well today's #wowwoman didn't have to imagine becoming a princess. She did. 

Grace Kelly was born to in an established and affluent family in Philadelphia. Her father, a successful business man and former Gold medalist in the Olympic sport of rowing, John Kelly, was not a fan of the idea of his daughter, Grace, pursuing an acting career. Yet, her talent and desire drove her to the stage and even her graduating class at the prestigious Steven's School acknowledge her destiny by labeling her, "a famous star of stage and screen" in the senior prophecies. 

Thanks in part to her uncle, George Kelly, who had a good relationship with the school of American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NY, and larger part because of her gift for great first impressions, Grace was admitted to the school in 1948, despite the fact that the admissions office had said the new student quota for that year had already been met. Using her experience in modeling to help pave her way through her acting education, she applied herself diligently and landed a spot in the Broadway play The Father, written by prominent play-write, Johan Strindberg. This and other plays led to her television debut on Sinclair Lewis, which she was able to turn into several returning episodes. 

But it wasn't until her role in Mogambo, that she really made a name for herself. Staring alongside well-known actor of the time, Clark Gable, she quickly became a household name and was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. 

But it was in 1955 that Kelly's life changed most. She was invited to model for a photo shoot in Cannes during the Film Festival and it was at that time that she met the prince of Monaco, Prince Rainier III. Shortly after their first encounter, Prince Rainier went on a supposed 2 month "vacation" in the states. However, most reports suggested he was there to find a wife after being under pressure from the French government to marry and produce an heir. While there he visited with Grace's family and after just three days proposed. They were wed in one of the most elaborate wedding ceremonies of their decade. 

Grace filled the role as Princess of Monaco beautifully and together, her and Prince Rainier had 3 children, Caroline, Albert and Stephanie. During her time as royalty she used her influence for good and started many charitable causes, including AMADE, an non-profit dedicated to the protection and security of children world wide no matter their race, nationality or religion. It has been recognized by the United Nations and continues to run under the direciton of her daughter Caroline. She also had many anonymous charitable donations to support theater and performing arts. The Princess Grace Foundation has been established today in honor of those unsung deeds. She was also an early supporter for the  La Leche League, an organization that advocates for the rights and education of breastfeeding mothers, a movement that seems to still be relevant today.

Kelly took on her roles as Princess and mother proudly. One of her most shared quotes is, "women's natural role is to be a pillar of the family." Her greatest influence in this life wasn't on the moving screen but was in everyday life with her kids and her new found country. She may not have been able to put all her focus on her children due to the vast responsibilities as royalty but she valued her family and her children. They were part of the reason she turned down many offers from Hollywood to continue her star-studded life in the movies, including one from Alfred Hitchcock who she had grown attached to during her career. But for her, life in the home and as Princess was more appealing than all the stars in Hollywood.  

 Sadly her life ended all to early when she suffered a minor stroke while driving home one night, causing her to crash with her daughter Stephanie inside with her. Stephanie survived the crash but Grace died just days later. 

Grace Kelly may have been known for her beautiful presence on screen and her flawless sense of style but her legacy extends beyond what she wore. Her life was filled with meaningful relationships and thoughtful service. Millions of viewers watched her funeral and felt the great loss of her passing. She was a woman who can be remembered just as she hoped to be remembered:

"I would like to be remembered as someone who accomplished useful deeds, and who was a kind and loving person. I would like to leave the memory of a human being with a correct attitude and who did her best to help others." - Grace Kelly


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