Monday, 18 April 2016

Princess Grace's first wedding dress

Sixty years ago this week, Grace Patricia Kelly became a princess. The Oscar wining film star married Prince Rainier III of Monaco in celebrations that were watched around the world. There was huge focus, in particular, on the religious ceremony on April 19th 1956 but the day before there had been excitement too as Grace and Rainier said 'I do' in the civil ceremony required to take place before their church marriage. Which means that sixty years ago today, we saw Grace's first wedding dress.

Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III of Monaco on the day of their civil marriage, April 18th 1956

This is the dress she wore as she began her transformation from film star to royal star. It was chosen for the ceremony in the throne room of the Prince's Palace in Monaco where, in front of 80 guests, Grace and Rainier contracted civil marriage and a princess was created.

For this fairytale moment, Grace chose a dress by Helen Rose who was also responsible for her more famous wedding gown which would be revealed to the world the following day. The civil ceremony dress was very 1950s, with a fitted jacket and flared skirt made of pink taffeta covered in Alencon lace.

The jacket has a high collar with a tiny bow at the top and covered buttons while the skirt spreads out to a mid calf length finish. The hat and shoes blend perfectly and there are pale gloves as well.

After her civil ceremony, which lasted just over 15 minutes, the new princess attended a reception for 3,000 of her new fellow citizens of Monaco. There was also a chance to hear her titles read out for the first time as celebrations really got under way.

The following day, Grace appeared in a wedding dress as influential as it is iconic. The images of her as a bride on April 19th 1956 are some of the most famous in the world. But sixty years ago today was when we first saw Princess Grace in a wedding dress.

Photos: Palais Princier Facebook.

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