The House of Grimaldi has ruled the tiny principality of Monaco since January 8, 1297, when Francois “The Spiteful” Grimaldi disguised himself as a monk and knocked on his uncle’s castle door, launching a coup. In the violence that followed, according to legend, a woman – possibly a lover of Francois, possibly a witch he had wronged (can’t it be both?) – issued a curse that has resonated across the centuries: “Never will a Grimaldi find true happiness in marriage.”
The Grimaldi family was considered scandalous enough in Queen Victoria’s time that she forbade any of her close relatives to marry into it, leading Prince Albert I of Monaco to marry an American heiress in 1889 – a precedent that would matter decades later when Prince Rainier III, urged on by none other than shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, began interviewing Hollywood A-listers for a very special role: Princess of Monaco. Which is how Grace Kelly abandoned the big screen for the Rock of Monaco, and would go on to celebrate her 40th birthday in High Scorpio style.
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The Grimaldis of Monaco: Centuries of Scandal, Years of Grace, by Anne Edwards (Amazon)
Grace: The Secret Lives of a Princess, by James Spada (Amazon)
Elizabeth Taylor: There is Nothing Like a Dame, by Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince (Amazon)
A Detailed Look at the Many Romances of Prince Albert of Monaco (esquiremag.ph)
Portrait of Princess Caroline: Love and Philanthropy (hellomonaco.com)
Is Princess Caroline the Latest Victim of the Grimaldi Family Curse? (vanityfair.com)