Mary Wells: Princess Grace, As I Knew Her


Editor’s Note: November 12 marks the birth date of Princess Grace Kelly, the Princess of Monaco. wowOwow’s Mary Wells shares her personal memories of the princess as she knew her in Monte Carlo.

Grace. I’m sitting here tonight thinking about how disappointed she was. She looked so serene, so smoothly above the disappointments. I didn’t know her in Hollywood. I met her in Monte Carlo when we bought the house, La Fiorentina. Lynn Wyatt and I were the only other blonde Americans in the neighborhood.

Lynn was closer to her than I was – I was working all over the world those days – but she and I understood each other well enough for her to complain. She may have been a royal Princess but she had the problems a lot of women have. Her husband was depressed and although he had a curiously charming personality that would come out and surprise you, he was not a happy man. As most of the world suspects they weren’t made for each other. She had solid support from friends in California – they came and lived around her but she was a responsible woman in Monte Carlo, she understood her job.

She would come as a guest when I had clients at the villa and she knew what they wanted her to be like and she was that dream for them. La Fiorentina in summer had magic in every view and there was a sea wall around the property you could sit on with a full moon to light you. Princess Grace would sit there given a halo by the moon saying mildly suggestive things like, “Let’s skinny dip tonight in the full moon,” and my guests thought there was always the possibility that she was serious. But I knew she was giving me a gift — The Princess Came to Dinner — for my clients.

When we went shopping at the bridge in San Remo for copies of handbags or we just did nothing and talked she had so many ideas of how she would become happy one day, what she would do, where she would live. She kept saying the day would come when she would do what she wanted to do. My husband and I had dinner with her and her family in a local restaurant a week before she died. Stephanie had a concussion, she told us, and couldn’t drive, so she had piled the family into an old car that could go unnoticed up and down the coast. She announced to me in my ear that she was about to have her own time, a life in which she did what made her happy. She was joyous that evening. She was making plans. She was going to work in art seriously. Her time had come. She was very beautiful. She had always been beautiful but there was a new light, a young joy.

When I heard about the accident I had a terrible reaction. I wanted her to have that joy so much. So many people appear glamorous to us but have to work hard to be as lovely as they know we think they are. I think of her so often and pray that wherever she is, she is laughing.

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