On April 19, 1956 American actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco in a spectacular church ceremony that was watched by an estimated 30 million people world wide on television.
Kelly and Rainier had both civil and religious weddings. The 40-minute civil ceremony took place in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco on April 18, 1956, and was broadcast across Europe. To cap the ceremony, the 142 official titles (counterparts of Rainier’s) that Kelly acquired in the union were formally recited. The following day, April 19, 1956, the church ceremony took place at Monaco’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral. Kelly’s wedding dress, designed by MGM’s Academy Award–winning Helen Rose, was worked on for six weeks by three dozen seamstresses. The bridesmaid’s gowns were designed by Joe Allen Hong at Neiman Marcus after Lawrence Marcus visited Monaco. The 600 guests included Hollywood stars David Niven and his wife Hjördis, Gloria Swanson, Ava Gardner, the crowned head Aga Khan, Gloria Guinness, Aimée de Heeren, Daisy Fellowes, Etti Plesch, Lady Diana Cooper, and Conrad Hilton. The ceremony was watched by an estimated 30 million people on television. The prince and princess left that night for their seven-week Mediterranean honeymoon cruise on Rainier’s yacht, Deo Juvante II.
After Grace Kelly became Princess Grace of Monaco she retired from acting. Princess Grace and Prince Ranier had three children: Caroline Louise Marguerite, Princess of Hanover, born January 23, 1957, and now heiress presumptive to the throne of Monaco; Albert II, Prince of Monaco, born March 14, 1958, current ruler of the Principality of Monaco; and Princess Stéphanie Marie Elisabeth, born February 1, 1965.