London, Jan ary 27: A new film starring Nicole Kidman about the life of Grace Kelly has enraged the Monaco royal family, which has denounced the work as being full of fiction.
When Kelly gave up her Hollywood career to marry Prince Rainier, she believed that she had found the perfect husband, but six years later – after bearing him an heir and an elder daughter – she was so disillusioned that she has decided she will flee back home to America, where she has been offered 1 million dollars to star in Marnie, a new Alfred Hitchcock thriller.
But it wasn’t the money the money that has attracted her, she confided to her husband’s chaplain and closest adviser, Father Francis Tucker, that Rainier’s tyrannical rules and explosive temper had worn her out, the beautiful 32-year-old tells the elderly priest.
What will happen, she asks him, if she accepts the Hitchcock role and seeks a divorce? The Daily Mail reported.
“Your children will suffer most. They are heirs to a European throne. You’ll be lucky to see them again. I suppose the world will also hang its head in disappointment,” the Daily Mail quoted Tucker as telling her.
The project, which also stars Tim Roth as Rainier and Frank Langella as Father Tucker, was recently denounced by Grace’s son, Prince Albert, and his sisters Caroline and Stephanie, as ‘needlessly glamourised’ and riddled with ‘major historical inaccuracies and a series of purely fictional scenes’.
But the 106-page script is based on hundreds of interviews biographers have conducted over many years with palace insiders and other first-hand sources.
The family’s real fear, it seems, may be that the film has broken a long-standing Hollywood taboo about bringing the truth about the marriage to the big screen – and it may set the stage for more embarrassing projects.
While Rainier sleeps in a separate room from Grace in the script, and is said to be constantly ‘busy’ during the daytime, the production glosses over accusations that he was unfaithful.
According to her 2007 book, ‘True Grace’, the suave, cigar-smoking prince began cheating on Grace soon after she became pregnant during their honeymoon. Within months, he had taken at least three mistresses.
The daughter of a socially ambitious Philadelphia brickworks owner, she became infatuated with several of her leading men.
While shooting the Hitchcock thriller ‘Dial M For Murder’ in 1954, she scandalised Hollywood by conducting an affair with her married co-star, Ray Milland.
She met Rainier during a photoshoot in 1955 at his palace. Six years her senior, he was seeking a wife with the help of a crony, the Greek shipping baron Aristotle Onassis, played in the film by Robert Lindsay.
His quest was a matter of urgency. If he failed to conceive a legitimate heir, Monaco would become a French protectorate under the terms of a 1918 treaty.
After she submitted to an examination to prove she was capable of bearing children, he presented her with a 12-carat diamond engagement ring.
It isn’t only Rainier’s tantrums and constant absences that brought her marriage to the point of breakdown. As ‘his’ princess, she must submit totally to his rules which, according to the script, include smiling sweetly at his side and never voicing an opinion.
Some biographers claim Rainier was violent as well as a control freak. During a tennis doubles match, he allegedly aimed a ball straight at Grace’s face. When it hit her, the friend who was his doubles partner defended him, saying he was just ‘desperate to win’.
When Grace finally plucks up the courage to tell Rainier that she would like to accept Hitchcock’s million-dollar offer of the leading role in Marnie, he assures her “I won’t stand in your way.”
But his words ‘don’t ring true’, and when her plans for the movie are leaked to the press – she suspects by palace plotters – the prince’s 30,000 subjects are horrified.
In the end, the role of Marnie went to another Hitchcock protegee, Tippi Hedren.
Despondent about life in a ‘golden cage’, she allegedly consulted an American divorce lawyer but, after being advised that she would lose her children, resigned herself to her fate in Monaco.
The royals – who were shown the screenplay when Dahan applied for permission to shoot in Monaco – claim that to their ‘astonishment’, their ‘numerous requests for changes’ were ignored.
Worn down by disappointment, she died in a 1982 car crash, apparently after suffering a stroke. (ANI)