Almost 35 years after Grace Kelly’s tragic death, her son, Prince Albert of Monaco, has opened up about how the royal family has coped with her “traumatic” death. Of course, Princess Grace (nee Kelly) was one of the world’s most famous Hollywood stars — celebrated for films like Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, and her Oscar-winning performance alongside Bing Crosby in The Country Girl — before choosing to leave her career behind to marry Monaco’s Prince Rainier III in 1956.
She died in 1982 from a car accident after suffering a stroke while driving with her daughter in the vehicle. Princess Stephanie — who was 17 at the time — suffered multiple injuries including broken ribs, three cervical fractures, and a shattered collarbone. Speaking on In Depth with Graham Bensinger last week, Albert recalled the heartbreaking moment his father revealed there had been an accident. “Basically he said that we had to go down the hospital because mom and Stephanie had an accident,” he said.
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier’s family.
“’I didn’t think twice about it and went down with him, [my sister, Princess Caroline] as well, and of course it was a very shocking moment,” Albert continued. “One where you’re not sure what to think. Of course you think that things are going to improve and it’s not as bad an accident as you thought it was so… those few hours there were very tense and very emotional. It wasn’t until later that evening that it became apparent that the outcome was not going to be a good one.”
The 59-year-old also revealed that his younger sister, Stephanie, struggled to deal with the fact that she couldn’t save their mother. “Well, it took a very long time for her to recover from this and it was a very painful recollection for her, and it took a number of years for her to come to terms with that,” he explained. “You know, just the pain of being in that car with our mother and not being able to pull her out or to have a different outcome. She was injured, of course also, but I think it’s a traumatic experience and it would be for anybody.”
Albert said he turned toward his family in the wake of the tragedy, but didn’t really come to terms with his mother’s fate until years later. “It always takes a while for you recover thanks to your other family members, to your friends, to the people who are dear to you and provide comfort. It also takes years to really fully come to terms with that,” he continued.
Albert added that his late father, Prince Rainier — who died in 2005 — was never the same after losing his beloved wife. “It was pretty obvious that he was deeply affected and he wasn’t quite the same man as he was before the accident,” he confessed.
Albert made headlines after it was revealed last year that he had purchased his mother’s childhood home in East Falls, PA. The royal confirmed the news to People explaining, “It feels good. I’m very happy to have saved this old family home from a near certain death or development. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do with it. We’re looking at having it contain some museum exhibit space and maybe use part of it for offices for some of our foundation work.”
Prince Albert with his wife, Princess Charlene.
The actress-turned-royal grew up in the sprawling six-bedroom property until her engagement to Prince Rainier in 1955. Prince Albert revealed that he and wife Princess Charlene are looking forward to bringing their twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, to their grandmother’s home. “I’m looking forward to showing the house to the kids, sharing it with them, having them see the garden,” he said.
This originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.