Not all princess stories have those magical happily-ever-after endings we dream about. This was surely the case with Grace Kelly, the famous movie star turned European royalty, who had a life more dramatic than any script she ever performed in.
Her fairytale took a tragic turn when she ended up in a devastating car crash off the cliff of a winding road in Monaco on September 13, 1982. She didn’t make it and passed away the next day at only 52 years old.
When the news of her death was announced the next day on September 14, it totally shocked everyone. People in America, where she was from, and in Monaco, where she lived for 26 years, were all stunned.
But even after all these years, the mystery around her death continues to linger. Questions and conspiracy theories keeps popping up, making Grace Kelly's passing one of the biggest enigmas in Hollywood and European royalty.
Want to know more? Read on as we uncover the real deal behind Grace Kelly's tragic car crash, exploring what led up to it and uncovering the conspiracy theories that have emerged over time.
Who was Grace Kelly? Early Life and Rise to Hollywood Stardom
Grace Patricia Kelly was born on November 12, 1929, to a well-known Irish Catholic family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father, Jack Kelly was a wealthy Philadelphia construction contractor and a former Olympic gold medalist while her mother, Margaret Kelly was a prominent socialite.
From an early age, Grace had a passion for acting and pursued it wholeheartedly. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City before making her Broadway debut in 1949. Her talent shone brightly on stage and caught the attention of Hollywood producers.
In 1951, Grace made her film debut in "Fourteen Hours" which led to more roles in movies such as "High Noon" and "Mogambo." Her performances were hailed by critics and audiences alike, earning her several award nominations including an Oscar win for Best Actress for her role in "The Country Girl."
Her success continued to soar as she starred alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood like Cary Grant and James Stewart. With each film she appeared in, Grace proved herself to be not only a talented actress but also a style icon with impeccable fashion sense.
However, in 1955, Grace Kelly had to put a pause on her acting career when she got engaged to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Even though she got role offers in the years following the wedding, she chose to step back from the spotlight, only agreeing to narrate documentaries.
The Unfortunate Circumstance of Grace Kelly Car Crash
On Monday, September 13, 1982, it was a regular morning for Grace Kelly and her 17-year-old daughter, Princess Stéphanie. They were getting all set for a trip to Paris, where Stéphanie was set to start school on Wednesday and they both had train tickets to head up there together.
Their chauffeur pulled their green 11-year-old Rover 3500 around so they could load up the car. Kelly brought lots of luggage which were all full of dresses and placed them in the backseat. Their maid also came out with the rest of their loads. Unfortunately, by the time all of the luggages was in the back, the car couldn’t squeeze in three people along with the bags.
As a result, Grace suggested driving herself to make room for everyone, but the chauffeur insisted that he could take them and come back for the remaining stuff, but Kelly was obstinate, stating that the chauffeur shouldn’t bother himself.
So Kelly and her daughter got into the car. The journey was supposed to be an ordinary drive from their family home in Roc Agel, France to the train station. Little did they know, this would be a day remembered in history.
As they navigated the winding mountain roads, a sudden and unexpected event changed everything. Reports tell us that Kelly suffered a sudden health scare, like a mini-stroke. This attack caused her to black out briefly and that’s where things went wrong. The car veered out of control, smashing through a retaining wall that separated the winding mountain road from the sheer cliff below. In a heart-stopping moment, the vehicle plummeted 120 feet down the steep slope.
Stéphanie, who was right there beside her mother, desperately tried to regain control, but it was too late. In a split second, the car tumbled through the air, crashing into branches and rocks before coming to a rest in a garden, 120 feet below where they started.
Neither of them were wearing seatbelts as at the time of the crash, causing them to be thrown about the inside of the car. Grace Kelly ended up stuck in the back seat while Stéphanie got pinned under the glove box.
After the terrifying crash, Stéphanie suffered a hairline fracture in her spine, while Grace suffered not just one but two strokes. The first stroke was blamed for the accident, while the other followed shortly after the crash. Grace was in a comatose state for a whole day with her life hanging in the balance. Tragically, the doctors had to declare her brain dead.
Heartbreakingly, her husband, Prince Rainier III, made the devastating call to let her go, taking her off life support on September 14, 1982, marking the end of her remarkable life.
Conspiracy Theories and Rumours Regarding Grace Kelly Fatal Car Crash
As with any high-profile tragedy, conspiracy theories and rumours began to spring up about what could have been the cause of Grace Kelly's car crash. It was said that Kelly was distracted due to the fact that she and Stephanie were in a heated argument over her wish to marry a racer named Paul, the son of a famous French actor, Jean-Paul Belmondo.
Another theory also stated that Stéphanie was actually the one driving the car on that fateful day, despite being underage and without a licence. This rumour was given credibility by Sesto Lipio, a local gardener who claimed he saw Stephanie in the front seat and Grace Kelly in the back. But guess what? Two other eyewitnesses had a completely different story; they swore up and down that they saw Kelly driving that car.
Fast forward to 2002, and Stephanie herself spoke out about this theory. She said, "I was not driving, that's clear. In fact, I was thrown around inside the car like my mother, who was catapulted onto the back seat. The passenger door was completely smashed in, and I got out on the only accessible side, the driver's."
Grace Kelly Funeral
The day of Grace Kelly's funeral was a solemn and poignant moment for the world. As news spread of her tragic car crash, people from all corners mourned the loss of an icon. The streets of Monaco were lined with grieving fans, hoping to catch one last glimpse of their beloved Princess.
The funeral itself took place at the Monaco Cathedral on September 18 in a 75-minute funeral service watched by about 100 million viewers on live television. Dignitaries from around the world like Nancy Reagan, Princess Diana and Cary Grant attended to pay their respects, alongside friends and family members who held back tears as they said their final goodbye.
As her casket was carried through the streets, flowers adorned every surface in tribute to her beauty and grace. The somber sounds of church bells filled the air as prayers were whispered for her soul. It was a touching sendoff for a woman who had captivated audiences for decades.