Before Meghan Markle, there was Grace Kelly.
The Oscar winner was just 26 years old when she said goodbye to Hollywood and married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956.
While it sounded like a fairytale ending for the actress, “happily ever after” proved to be a lot more complicated.
“She enjoyed being around creative people, and creating things herself,” biographer Jay Jorgensen, who co-authored the book “Grace Kelly: Hollywood Dream Girl,” recently told Closer Weekly.
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“In that respect, I think [leaving Hollywood] was hard on her,” he explained. “She had to give up certain things, like her career, to get certain things.”
After Kelly said, “I do” to Rainier, she knew the biggest role of her life awaited her: motherhood. According to the outlet, the American star knew that was her priority.
“It was her duty to produce heirs to the throne,” Jorgensen explained.
Kelly gave birth to a daughter named Caroline in 1957 followed by a son named Albert in 1958. Then in 1965, Kelly welcomed her third child, a daughter named Stephanie.
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While Kelly felt fulfilled as a parent, the outlet noted she yearned to create as her children grew older. She was even tempted to take on an offer from her former director Alfred Hitchcock, and Rainier “fully supported” the idea. However, Kelly ultimately declined, as the public felt it would be unseemly for their princess to kiss another man onscreen.
Hitchcock’s film, 1964’s “Marnie,” went on to star Tippi Hedren in the lead role.
Still, Kelly found other ways to use her talent. The outlet noted that in her later years, she began taking voice-over parts in documentaries. But sadly, Kelly never returned to the big screen. She passed away in 1982 from injuries she sustained in a car crash. She was 52.
Back in 2018, Kelly’s nephew Chris LeVine told Fox News his famous aunt always had the desire to act, even after she became a princess.
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“Yes, I would say she was very tempted to continue her acting,” said LeVine. “I know that Alfred Hitchcock had talks with her about doing a number of pictures with him, but motherhood came soon after her marriage. Then in the early ‘60s, I knew there were offers to come back and do something, but at that point, she realized her duties in Monaco and her commitment in Monaco far outshone her ambition to be back on stage.”
LeVine, who’s been on the board of directors at the Princess Grace Foundation-USA for over 20 years, said it offers scholarships to aspiring actors looking for their big break.
“For me, as family, it’s truly an honor,” he explained. “Of course, having known my aunt and understanding her quiet encouragement to young artists really takes me back to her years growing up in Philadelphia. … And although she was certainly a very public figure, her philanthropy was more on the private side. She didn’t make a lot of fuss about that.
“She knew how hard it was for artists to get started. And this foundation really mirrors that. So it is very rewarding to be involved in this program that celebrates young artists who are trying to get started and give them a boost. It’s really made a difference in many young artists’ lives.”
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LeVine said that if Kelly were here today, she would have some sage advice for Markle, who at the time, was expecting her first child with Prince Harry.
“Certainly her advice back then was to maintain the family time, the family traditions that she learned from her parents, continuing the family dinners and meals,” said LeVine. “Her goal was always to bring the kids over to the States. That was really apparent. … Her love of Philadelphia, I don’t think that ever left her.”