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Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  792 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Grace Kelly was swept away when the handsome Prince Rainier, a man she barely knew, asked for her hand in marriage. After a series of relationships with married co-stars, she was exhausted by the show-business lifestyle. If she married Rainier, she would be more than just a movie star, she would be Her Serene Royal Highness Princess Grace. Once in the palace, however, Grac ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 896 pages
Published April 15th 2003 by Warner Books (NY) (first published April 1st 2003)
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Mar 23, 2011 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always wanted to be a princess. Didn’t every girl growing up in the fifties have a “secret” dream about becoming a princess? Actually, I thought Prince Charles (Great Britain) would wait for me. When he finally married I was let down, even though I had been married myself many years by that time. So how could Grace Kelly refuse when a real Prince asked her to marry him?

Grace Kelly was never able to please her parents. It seems her sisters and brothers won all the awards, all the sports competi
Apr 03, 2014 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The "happily ever after" marriage of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier III of Monaco is explored and demythologized in this fascinating, compelling and well-researched royal biography.

After failed romances with married co-stars (Ray Milland and William Holden) and turning down a marriage proposal from Oleg Cassini, Kelly met Rainier, the prince of a popular Mediterranean resort town who was searching for a princess he hoped would become "the manifestation of all that we hope for and dream about in
A solid read. Offers a good overview on Grace Kelly's life before becoming a princess (growing up, issues with parents, being a young actress starting out, becoming a Hollywood star), on the state of Monaco and the Grimaldi family (what a bunch, really!), and on the marriage and family life of Grace and Rainier and their children (many ups, but in general more downs, oh my). Finished this just in time to feel well informed for the upcoming marriage of Albert and Charlotte.
At the end of Disney's Cinderella, Cinderella marries Prince Charming, and they live happily ever after. Or so we're told. But what happens after the wedding? Cinderella has only known her husband a day or two. She's just married a virtual stranger and is now a princess. How will her marriage work? Will they have kids? What sacrifices did she have to make to keep her prince? What does happily ever after mean?

To me, the story of Princess Grace's life, while not a perfect fit to Cinderella, answ
Missy Cahill
Aug 08, 2011 Missy Cahill rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Found it very hard to get into and ultimately found it a boring read. But to be honest that was probably more to do with the mood i was in. Grace Kelly herself was not a very interesting character, she married the Prince to gain her father's attention and affection. Whilst mothering her own children she turned into the kind of parent that she had detested growing up in a strick Catholic household.
*•.♥.•*  Fleur Rebelle *•.♥.•*
Manchmal besteht die wirkliche Herausforderung des Lebens darin, ein Leben, das nicht mehr zu funktionieren scheint, zum Funktionieren zu bringen. Wir alle haben einmal Hoffnungen gehegt, von denen wir uns über die Jahre mit Bedauern verabschieden mussten. Das Geheimnis besteht darin, sich diesem Bedauern nicht hinzugeben, sondern sich darüber zu erheben und damit weiterzuleben.....
A great story...really fascinating. However, the author I was not very impressed with. Poor use of language and it was very repetitive at times. I would probably decide against reading another of his books, despite being interested in the content.
This is the first book Ive read about Princess Grace and Prince Rainier and what they did after their "Happily Ever After". Unlike a fairy tale or a movie, the story doesn't stop with the wedding. Grace and Rainier were flesh and blood people who had to live the rest of their lives together, and Grace was the one who got the short end of the stick. But at the same time, it could have been worse. Both Grace and Rainier grew and changed as people and still was able to love each other, even though ...more
[☆] мєℓαиιє [★]
Wer kennt sie nicht? Grace Kelly, die schöne Schauspieler und Fürst Rainier, den Fürsten von Monaco. Ihr beider Leben durch die Öffentlichkeit geprägt, vereint sich durch die gemeinsame Hochzeit.

Grace, für welche es die erste Pflicht ist, dem Land zu dienen und dem Fürsten Nachwuchs zu schenken, ist anfangs mehr als nur unglücklich. Für Rainier, für Monaco und für ihre Pflichten als neue Fürsten, Ehefrau und Mutter gab sie einst ihre Karriere als Schauspielerin in Philadelphia auf.

Innerlich fast
Aug 15, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting biography of Prince Rainier of Monaco and film star Grace Kelly who became "Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco" when she married the Prince in 1956. She was tragically killed at an early age in 1982, having spent exactly half her life as a high-profile Philadelphia deb and then Academy Award-winning film star, and the other half as a Princess in the small principality of Monaco. Her death occurred on a very narrow, cliff-hugging road up in the mountains, ironically the sam ...more
Sarah Kester
This is a good book about someone whose life seemed picture perfect. Grace Kelly became a princess, but her life was not perfect. She had to give up her career after marrying Prince Rainier, who the book does not portray as being a very good husband. He was somewhat selfish and would throw temper tantrums. I think he had somewhat of an inferiority complex and wanted to marry a beautiful movie star. That's not to say that they didn't grow to love each other, but the book implies that he cheated ...more
Nov 09, 2011 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grace Kelly was such an icon to sophistication, beauty, and class - I remember her mostly for her role in Rear Window playing the girlfriend of Jimmy Stewart in the Alfred Hitchcock classic. I was intrigued by the fact that, although her family was wealthy, they weren't accepted in Philadelphia society due to being Irish and "new money". Her only brother and oldest sister were doted upon and the family had high hopes and expectations of them, yet Grace was not considered to be particularly prett ...more
Joshua Wilson
Sep 27, 2010 Joshua Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best bio of Grace and Prince Ranier I've ever seen. The entire book focuses on the highs, the lows and the in-betweens. It reads like a friendly family history written by a close friend. It never is degenerative, but always uses a lense of understanding. Without the 1950's you could not have had Grace Kelly and Prince Ranier. They typified the postwar era and ideals of romance and gender in the Western World. I found this not only interesting from a biographical standpoint, but I also loved ...more
Jul 15, 2009 Rosalía rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This biography was an excellent example of outstanding writing. It was not sensationalized tabloid material but was true to whatever interviews that occurred during Grace Kelly's movie years and her short but powerful role as royalty in Monaco. She suffered an estranged relationship with overbearing parents, a shortened career in Hollywood, and a foreign role as an American woman who lacked understanding and the language of her new life. In her short 26 years as Princess; however, she was able t ...more
Kristin Lundberg
Mar 11, 2012 Kristin Lundberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I did not know much about Grace Kelly outside of her work in films and that she married a prince and stopped acting. I found the story of her life to be fascinating and also enjoyed learning more about Monaco and the royal history there. I found it incredible that she gave up a career that she loved and was extremely successful at to marry a man she really had only known a short time. Her story was not the fairy tale everyone pictures, but she still had an amazing journey. I ...more
Grace Mead
Jul 28, 2014 Grace Mead rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a finely nuanced portrayal of a determined, vibrant, and strong woman who, ahead of her time, forged her own career and life. And then she chose to foresake that career for husband, family, her husband's country, public service, and charity. The author's analysis of why she made those choices and how societal pressures shape the decisions of even the strongest, wealthiest, and most independent women was fascinating. Princess Grace's ability to live, with dignity, after having made those ...more
Jul 22, 2009 Selina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book on Princess Grace. There is not so much on her movie career, more about how she adjusted to life and marriage as a Princess in Monaco. If you've already read a few biographies on Grace, this one is good in addition to the story as you find out what happens to her children. The author interviewed close friends of Grace, and also clarifies the kinds of rumours which sprung up surrounding her.
It does have some faults, a bit repetitious at times. It is not the absolute best book on Grac
Mar 28, 2013 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Randy Taraborrelli is a wonderful story teller. A little too wordy - the books he writes are very long but like the ones on the Kennedy family this one is very interesting. Grace Kelly was a wonderful actress and although her life was not a fairy tale prior to her marriage and there were many problems during her marriage - overall it was a fairy tale many young women dream of. She was beautiful, poised, elegant, and charming on the outside and troubled and lonely on the inside

Even with the sad e
It’s always enjoyable to read about interesting figures in pop-culture; however one thing I don’t like about biographies set in the present or the recent past, is that towards the end when they get to “the present” it’s often outdated. Reading about Prince Rainier’s future is a little odd since he’s dead!

Another example: I recently saw a biography featuring Charles & Camilla and all the Royal Pundits were unanimous that they could NEVER get married… ever!... kinda stupid now that they’ve bee
Jamie Jones
Sep 01, 2011 Jamie Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grace Kelly is one of my favorite actresses. She was the very definition of elegance and class; not to mention gorgeous. Not only was her career a point of interest but her marriage. Not many actresses got to live the actual Hollywood fairytale and become a real princess. This provides background on her childhood and her rise to Hollywood fame and her marriage and family life. It truly is an honest depiction of her life. I definitely recommend it.
Aug 25, 2015 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent account of the inside life of Grace Kelly's rise to a princess - from a little girl, to a young woman, to a successful actress, and then to Prince Rainier's wife. Find out more about her family and their secrets - and Prince Rainier's family. Follow her life through the birth of her children and her fatal car accident. Some places in the book are too wordy and I found myself skimming along those parts. But you really get inside Grace's head with this book.
Rebecca Huston
A very well written look at the life and romance of Grace Kelly, and her marriage with Prince Rainier of Monaco. Despite some major flaws, this is one of the better biographies on royalty and fame. Grace Kelly can still fascinate nearly two decades after the world lost her.

For the longer review, please go here:
An interesting look at one of the most fascinating love stories of my lifetime. And, for those of us who want to believe in fairy tales, a stark reality check. Finding prince charming doesn't mean the heroine will live happily ever after.
Jan 12, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as biographies go, this one was very well written. I enjoyed learning about all of the struggles and intricacies associated with her life. She was a classic movie star whom I well respected. The biography was able to focus on the struggles of her life without casting a negative shadow.
May 08, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It was interesting to learn about the life of a princess who had been a commoner (and movie star). How she evolved to live as a royal and leave her Hollywood career was fascinating to me.
Nov 13, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in royalty, biographies, or movie stars
Very interesting, but I think the author was somewhat sympathetic toward his subject matter. On the other hand, I really don't want to read about the troubles in other people's lives. He did a good job balancing their right to privacy with facts.
Rebecca Young
Nov 24, 2013 Rebecca Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book--Details emerge about the lives of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. It takes the reader into a fairy land but also gives us insight as to the difficulties inherent in lives like the Princess and Prince experienced.
Patty Abrams
Jul 01, 2013 Patty Abrams rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-bio
Poor Grace Kelly, regretting giving up Hollywood. boo hoo Hello, she married a prince, lived in mansions, had children, fame and fortune. This book tried to make me sorry for her but I'm not going there.
Melinda Elizabeth
Mar 25, 2014 Melinda Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite enjoyed this, it wasn't too dry and laden with irrelevant details as some biographies can be. The only thing I missed out on (perhaps the paperback version was more forthcoming) was photos of Grace. I was trudging through this expecting to have a multitude of photos to gush at but no luck!
Sep 17, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the book. It explained many things about her life and tragedies I did not know. She had a not-so-great marriage, a career that ended too soon, many troubles with her children, and a tragic ending. Still, we see the fairytale and love to imagine!
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J. Randy Taraborrelli is an author known for biographies of contemporary entertainers and political figures. He is a featured writer in several entertainment magazines in Canada, England, and Australia. He also appears on television as an entertainment news reporter on shows such as Entertainment Tonight, Good Morning America, Today and CBS This Morning. Taraborrelli resides in Los Angeles, Califo ...more
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