Grace Kelly: Inward and outward

Grace KellyDate: 2011

Just three years ago locals and visitors were crowding into the Grimaldi Forum to see an exhibition, conceived by Prince Albert and created by Frederic Mitterrand, entitled Les Années Grace Kelly. Intended to mark the 25th anniversary of Princess Grace’s death in a motor accident, it was certainly worth giving time to. As we reported, the exhibition “offered much that is interesting ... especially photographs and the home movies the Princess made”. These gave some impression of what she was really like: the inward Grace. 

Now the Princess is the subject of another exhibition, currently – and until September 26th – running at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Entitled Grace Kelly: Style Icon, this presents the outward Grace, through her clothes, accessories and jewellery (it’s sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels). In the International Herald Tribune Suzy Menkes gushed about “a legacy of wholesome elegance”. One of our Monaco readers who’s just been to the V&A was not enthusiastic: “I was disappointed. Of course, in the photos and film clips she looks fabulous but the exhibition itself is a letdown. The actual display area is cramped and badly lit and the items on display don’t look as if they’ve been properly cared for: scuffed shoes, tired-looking dresses. Grunge, said my teenage daughter. Frankly, this show isn’t worthy of Princess Grace’s memory.”

A pity: the news from the Principality will likely get more people going along.

And a footnote: Kate Weir, reporting for the Times, said that someone from Philadelphia’s Museum of Art (which loaned a lot of the exhibits) told her that for a time Grace’s mother believed her daughter was to marry the Prince ... of Morocco.