Our last post recounted the somewhat frosty relationship between the Queen and Jackie Kennedy, and as promised today’s post is all about the friendship between Jackie and Princess Grace. Jackie and Grace had a lot in common, so it’s not too surprising to learn that when they first met that they really hit it off.
Both were born in 1929. Jackie was born on July 28th in Southampton…
…and Grace was born on a few months later on November 12 in Philadelphia.
They both wore adorable jackets and hats
and both girls were raised Catholic by ambitious parents. They also attended prestigious schools. Jackie was at Miss Porter’s
and Grace was at Ravenhill Academy for nine years, followed by Stevens School in Germantown.
And of course they both married men who were Head of State of their country (at least for a relatively short while in JFK’s case).
Jackie’s wedding took place on September 12, 1953
and Grace married Prince Ranier on April 19, 1956. Funnily enough, she spent part of her honeymoon with Ranier on Aristotle Onassis’ yacht Christina (as I’m sure you’re well aware, Onassis was to later become Jackie’s second husband).
Both women also endure in the public’s memory as style icons.
In June of 1965, Princess Grace sat down for an interview with Paul Gallico about JFK. Fortunately for us, the recording has been revived through the “Blank on Blank” series which brings previously unheard audio recordings to life through a series of charming illustrations. The finished result is on Youtube and it is amazing! In the illustrated video Grace talks about how she first met Jackie in the mid 195o’s at a dinner party. At that time, JFK was in hospital with back problems, and Jackie and her sister Lee hit it off with Grace and convinced her join them on a hospital visit. They thought that if Grace went in dressed as a nurse that it would help cheer him up.
In the interview she recalls:
“They wanted me to go into his room and tell him I was the new night nurse…I was terribly embarrased about it and I was sort of pushed into the room by the two girls…He recognized me at once and couldn’t have been sweeter or more quick to put me at ease.”
Check out the full interview below. It’s just five minutes long and is soooo charming:
Jackie Kennedy welcomed Princess Grace and Prince Ranier to the White House for a luncheon in 1961.
Grace kept the menu for as a memento of the day, and perhaps she later regretted wearing a swim cap.
Princess Grace was an ardent supporter of JFK and on December 3, 1963 she paid a visit to his gravesite.
On a lighter note, Grace and Jackie were together again in April 1966 when they both attended Spain’s Debutante Ball at the Palace de Pilatos in Seville. This video shows footage of Jackie and Grace arriving in Seville, and of the event itself.
It all looks quite delightful, no?
Why they decided to travel to attend this event I have no idea (it seems a little odd to me) but they were invited as guests of honour by the Duchess of Alba and maybe they just thought it would be a fun time. Jackie looks a wee bit more regal than Grace here.
Though Grace is certainly at her princess best with that fur and the hint of diamonds in her hair.
This letter from Jackie to Grace is included in the exhibit “The Grace Kelly Years” which includes 900 artifacts belonging to the Princess. I was lucky to see the exhibit in Rome in 2009 and while I don’t remember this letter in particular (darn it!), I remember that there were several letters, including a funny one from Jack Nicholson asking Grace out.
Now this is super gossipy, but according to The National Enquirer (I know, I know), Aristatotle Onassis is the one who suggested to Ranier that he marry Grace Kelly to help elevate the principality. The article can be read here. To that I say, stranger things have happened! And, hey, if it’s true it certainly worked.
In the mood for more Grace? Here you go: