Hollywood royalty meets Monegasque royalty: it doesn’t get much more glamorous than this. Opening the 67th annual Cannes film festival today is the much anticipated Grace of Monaco biopic, starring Nicole Kidman.
Set in 1962, the film tells the tale of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly as she turns down the title role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie at the insistence of her husband, Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
The couple had first met in 1955 when Kelly headed the American delegation to Cannes and the pair took part in – enjoyed would be over-stating it, I suspect – a first date under the watchful eye of the media.
Rainier was in the market for a wife. Without an heir, the terms of a 1918 treaty with Paris stipulated that Monaco would revert to France.
However, things didn’t always go smoothly. Once married, Prince Rainer banned Kelly’s films from being screened in Monaco and Kelly withdrew from acting, although she continued to support the arts.
Her children, the Grimaldi family of Monaco, have said they will stay away from tonight’s premiere. The film is a highly glamorised and inaccurate portrayal of an episode in their mother’s life, they claim.
For the rest of us, it is an appropriate start to the 12-day Cannes film festival. After all, Grace Kelly’s transition from film star to princess began in the city. Her story continues to inspire and intrigue the public long after her death.