You want a princess, we'll give you a princess. Her Serene Highness, Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, 1956 to 1982. Jack's daughter. Movie star. Pride of East Falls.
Now there was a princess.
The screen queen's April 1956 nuptials to Prince Rainier III, now there was a wedding of the century.
In the great princess smackdown, mano-a-Manolo, Grace vs. Kate, we'll take our hometown highness any day. Here's why she totally rules:
Yes, yes, Middleton's the new People's Princess. Blah, blah, blah. Bully for England.
Here in America, we enjoy our monarchy worship on more of a fantasy-league level, so give us a princess of the gauzy, ethereal, descended-from-Mount-Olympus variety.
Advantage Kelly - ethereal, gauzy and daughter of an actual Olympian.
It's lost to history what Jack and Margaret Kelly called their bathrooms in East Falls back in 1956. But those Kellys sure knew how to conduct themselves in a manner befitting in-laws to the House of Monte Carlo.
Which is to say, bling-a-liciously.
Grace's parents and a wedding party of 60 voyaged to Monaco by ocean liner. The princess-in-waiting packed a fox cape, a full-length leopard coat and a Canadian sable. And that's just a partial fur inventory.
During prenuptial celebrations in the principality, the extended Kelly clan partied like it was 1956. A newspaper report whined that the starlet and her Philly contingent "are rarely seen before noon, the partying having taken a great deal of time and effort the night before."
Including but not limited to Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Gary Cooper, Gary Grant, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Oleg Cassini and, of course, Alfred Hitchcock. Over the years, a good number of Kelly's A-list male friends were rumored to be friends with benefits. (More below.)
Middleton strikes us as someone who'd acquit herself ably in a game of beer pong, although she and her intended are vowing not to drink on their wedding day.
Kelly and her Hollywood contemporaries were in a more rarefied booze league.
A collection of private letters from her starlet days that was made public in 1994 included an account of a "terrible champagne binge for about 10 days over Christmas" in 1953 with Sinatra and Gardner. "And a few smaller ones since," Kelly wrote.
Who did Kelly sleep with, before and after the royal wedding to Prince Rainier?
Various biographers have suggested that the unabridged star map might include Marlon Brando, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable (right), Cary Grant, William Holden, Ray Milland, David Niven and Frank Sinatra.
"Others believe it was only Holden for sure, probably Milland and maybe Gable," Vanity Fair reported last May.
Middleton shacked up with bonny Prince Wills, but the tigercat tiara goes to Kelly.
EXTREME ROYAL DICTION
In all honesty, Kelly had a better British accent.
Princess Grace's wedding gown, designed by MGM costumer Helen Rose, is so iconically princess-esque that Vera Wang cited it as an influence for both Ivanka Trump's wedding dress and Chelsea Clinton's. The lacy confection is in the collection of the Philadelphia Art Museum, but (sadly) not currently on display.
Kelly's enviable trousseau, according to New York Times coverage of her wedding, included "nine costumes, slacks and bathing suits" that were gifts from the MGM wardrobe department after she'd worn them in the film "High Society."
The Hermes bag that she carried to conceal the royal baby bump early in her 1956 pregnancy was forever after dubbed "the Kelly bag" and has remained continuously fashionable since.
ALAS, BAD HATS
It's hard to fathom what Princess Grace was thinking with those bathing-cap turbans she favored. So in the Battle of the Weird Couture Hats, Middleton wins by virtue of being slightly less weird.
We'll be gracious on the eve of her wedding and grant her that. Long live the Queen (it keeps wacky Prince Charles off the throne), and whatever.
- Becky Batcha