25 September 2015

Royal Flashback of the Week: September 25

As I saw commemorations earlier this month marking the anniversary of the death of Princess Grace of Monaco, who passed away on September 14, 1982, I decided that we were overdue for some time spent with one of her most famous, and loveliest, moments: her wedding to Prince Rainier, and (of course) the epic wedding gown that came with. Periodic reflection on Grace's gown is basically a requirement when one studies royal wedding dresses (and that, we certainly do) - after all these years, it still seems that only the smallest hint of lace in a new wedding dress is all it takes for the Grace Comparison to emerge yet again. There have been many popular royal wedding gowns in the years since, but do any of them garner so many comparisons?

Video: Black and white newsreel footage of the religious wedding and the gala performance the evening before, at which Grace wore the Bains de Mer Tiara.
Designed by Helen Rose at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, where Grace Kelly was under contract when she met Prince Rainier, the dress fascinates on a construction level alone, because it is not one garment but several assembled together to create the overall look. (We last discussed the dress in 2012, when it came in #2 on your list of favorite royal wedding gowns. Further details can be found there.) This time, we have video - and I will say, though this dress remains a firm favorite of mine, I think it's not at its best in movement. It's a little stiff in action, which is surprising because the wedding was not only guaranteed to be the subject of news coverage, but also the topic of a special film from MGM, which you can see below.

Video: MGM's The Wedding in Monaco in color, Part 1 (above) and Part 2 (below). Part 1 is mainly introduction and Grace's arrival in Monaco; Part 2 includes the civil wedding, gala performance, and religious wedding.
There's a non-wedding bonus in the video above, too, if you're looking closely enough: Princess Charlotte, Rainier's mother, can be seen wearing the Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara now worn by Princess Caroline. A rare sight, but I'll take any teensy glimpse of my favorite Monegasque tiara at work!