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My Days with Princess Grace of Monaco

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Get to know the real Princess Grace, from the first years of her marriage to the last days of her life. "My Days with Princess Grace of Our 25-Year Friendship, Beyond Grace Kelly" chronicles what it was like to be best friends with an iconic princess, with 70 never-before-seen personal photos, letters and diaries that give a behind-the-scenes look at Grace Kelly's life after she became Princess Grace. Gain rare insight into her final days through a detailed account of her last family vacation the month before her tragic death. This is also the true story of the historic events depicted in "Grace of Monaco," in which Grace Kelly was to return to Hollywood at a time when Prince Rainier almost lost his crown and country.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published July 24, 2014

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Joan Dale

2 books

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5 stars
11 (25%)
4 stars
17 (39%)
3 stars
13 (30%)
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1 (2%)
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1 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
Profile Image for *TUDOR^QUEEN* .
436 reviews444 followers
January 1, 2018
I was privileged to receive this advance copy for review via NetGalley.

Those looking for a provocative and torrid tell-all from Princess Grace's inner circle need look somewhere else; This won't be the book for them. This is, however, a book written by a devoted and loyal friend of Princess Grace who would love the world to know what a wonderful person Princess Grace was.

Americans Joan and Martin Dale were in their twenties (as was Princess Grace) when they relocated to the principality of Monaco due to Martin's foreign service officer assignment. They soon became friends with Princess Grace and Prince Rainier as they came in contact at Palace events and parties. Joan Dale and Princess Grace found that they had a lot in common like their age, becoming pregnant at the same time, having miscarriages at the same time, etc. Add to that the comfort of a friend born in the United States, as the Princess must have missed her homeland. Joan became as "inside" a friend as you could be, often visiting the Palace, going on vacations together and staying at the Serene Highness's weekend hideaway Roc Agel. The Dale's children were schooled at the Palace along with the Royal chlidren, played together in the Royal playground/sandbox, attended each other's birthday parties, etc. Prince Rainier admired Martin's abilities so much that he was offered (and accepted) a position as Privy Counselor, where he assisted the prince in developing Monaco's economic resources.

Interspersed throughout the book are letters (the common form of communication at the time) written by the parties involved, lending credence to the book's authenticity. There is also minute detail throughout the book of the foods served at all the parties, luncheons, dinners, etc. that Joan attended. You see, she saved all the menus and was a faithful diary keeper. There are also a lot of precious, personal photos that you won't find elsewhere.

Joan started this book, but her daughter Pamela Grace (and Princess Grace's Goddaughter) finished it for her following her death. Joan had saved all the correspondence, menus, photos and diaries over their 25-year friendship, and wanted to leave this remembrance in book form for her children and grandchildren to treasure.

Joan maintained her loyalty and friendship to her dear friends and their children in this book by not divulging any "dirt" she might have been privy to, I ashamedly admit that I would have liked to have read a little gossip as it would have piqued my interest.
Profile Image for Kim.
2,012 reviews51 followers
October 13, 2014
I really enjoyed this biography which gives the reader a glimpse into another world and another era. It follows the growing friendship between two women who meet when her husband works for the Prince. They spend a lot of time socialising together as they have children of similar ages. They visit many of the homes that the Prince establishes for them and many of the glamorous events around the world. They holiday together- and the 'normal' side of a friendship is revealed. They may lead very glamorous lives- but underneath they hold the same principles about friendship as everyone else. This time is special to them.

Interesting photos feature throughout the book and share the life of Princess Grace. The author shares letters written to her parents about the events that they share with the Royal Couple and the children. They receive signed photos from the Princess - which all build up to a fascinating account of a loyal friendship.

One to be highly recommended.

Many thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
968 reviews101 followers
December 30, 2014
While her husband was serving as a diplomat at the American embassy in Paris, Joan Dale was first introduced to Princess Grace of Monaco at a formal event.

They were only a year apart in age, had similar interests, and were often mistaken as being sisters. Joan and Grace became close, lifelong friends. Joan’s husband’s keen intellect and astute business knowledge caught the attention of Prince Rainier who offered Martin a job as his aide. The opportunity to live and work in Monaco with close ties to the royal family allowed the Dale’s access to a world of enormous wealth and privilege. Gala balls and parties, sumptuous private dinners, dancing until the early hours of morning, while enjoying the company of famous movie stars, socialites, businessmen, and politicians was routine.

Ms. Dale also provides an insider’s view of the private life of Monaco’s royal family. Although the royal family was expected to mingle with the very wealthy, they tried to maintain a lifestyle that was not ostentatious or outrageous. Grace’s charitable works, genuine concern for the well being of the less fortunate, and her love of family is evident. Retreating to their farm, Rocagel, high in the mountains overlooking the principality was a high priority. It allowed Grace and Rainier a chance to relax and live a more simple life.

Even though this book, at times, includes too much detail such as descriptions of clothing and lists of each food item consumed at dinners, Joan Dale’s fascinating memoir is a tribute to her friend, Princess Grace of Monaco and is an enjoyable read.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me an advanced copy of this memoir.

436 reviews10 followers
December 26, 2016
In many ways, this is a valuable memoir, written by an American woman who was friends with Grace after she married Rainier. You get insights into the day-to-day life of the Grimaldi, especially in the 1960s, that you can't get elsewhere. The personalities of Grace and Rainier both come through. It is, understandably, slanted heavily towards the positive, with only a few rare signs of Grace as anything but warm, compassionate, patient, regal, and rather unreal. And, also understandably, very little about her childhood or Hollywood years. I wouldn't recommend for a first biography of someone wanting to learn about Grace's life, but nonetheless it's full of details you won't find elsewhere.
Profile Image for Casey Wheeler.
898 reviews35 followers
January 6, 2019
This book is a partial biography of Grace Kelly covering only the time period (25 years) that that she and the author were friends. It is an interesting read in that it focused on the friendship of the two women and not on any sordid details that one often finds in these types of books.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a some insight into Grace Kelly during her time as Princess Grace.

I received a free Kindle copy of My Days with Princess Grace of Monaco by Jaon Dale courtesy of Net Galley  and In-Lightning Publishing, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as the description sounded interesting. This is the first book by the author that I have read.
Profile Image for Rachel.
104 reviews
July 12, 2018
I learned a lot about the character of Grace Kelly, aka Princess Grace of Monaco, and also about Monaco itself from this book written by a friend of Princes Grace. It was nice to read a biography that was aimed at telling about a famous person without adding a lot of sensational material to shock readers. However the prose wasn't extremely engaging and was difficult to stay interested in at times, and repeated itself a lot. The book would have been better if it was shorter.

The book was very clean, with only very minor cursing.
Profile Image for Dianne.
116 reviews3 followers
March 23, 2023
What a lovely account of a beautiful friendship that lasted many years. Lots of heartache and an insight into very personal and extraordinary events and lots of wonderful memories of the years the two families had together. Very interesting reading.
410 reviews3 followers
January 30, 2015
This book was not an easy read, but definitely a book worth savoring. Perhaps one might compare the experience to receiving a bottle of fine wine which is to be sipped, not gulped, and that is how I approached it, reading a section or two at a time.

My Days With Princess Grace of Monaco is the story of two women, one of Princess Grace and her life with Prince Rainier, the other of Joan Dale with her husband Martin. Joan led a fascinating life, first as a diplomat's wife, then as the wife of the Privy Counselor to the Prince of Monaco, and finally as the wife of a successful business man, as her husband switched jobs over their twenty-five years of marriage. Her experiences reflect the excitement of life in the royal palace. The story focuses on the six or so years that Joan and Grace maintained a close, sisterly relationship, and continues on through correspondence and visits between the two until Grace's untimely death in 1982. There are numerous excerpts of letters and photographs to assist in making the past come alive. Joan Dale, a wonderful storyteller, fills this biography with interesting anecdotes of her life and that of her best friend, The Princess of Monaco.

Originally this book was written as a family history, but after Joan's death, her daughter Pamela Grace decided to publish this work for the benefit of the public. If a biography could have an objective, this one's goal would be to demonstrate the gracious kindness that Princess Grace exemplified as well as reflect her love of the arts and her desire to use her place of privilege to help others. "I wish to be remembered as a decent human being, and a caring one." is a comment the Princess made in her last public interview with Pierre Salinger on 20/20, and it is repeatedly demonstrated in the author's narrative.

What I found most compelling about this work is not the minute details Joan Dale has included, but the fact that I grew up in that same era and so was familiar with many of the names and dates mentioned. Joan kept extensive journals which, along with her newsy letters home to her parents, described the jewelry and outfits worn by the rich and famous as well as the lavish meals served at the numerous extravaganzas the Dales attended with the royal couple. The reader is able to vicariously experience the grandeur (along with the tedium) of life in the public eye filled with dazzling parties, incredible jaunts to amazing locales, and the flashing bulbs of the ever present paparazzi. Monaco seemed to be the go to place of many of the world's leading entertainers and bureaucrats, perhaps because of the beauty of the Rivera or the appeal of the casino at Monte Carlo. Actors, such as David Niven, had summer homes in Monaco where the residents lived tax free. Now, if don't recognize world renowned individuals such as David Nivon, Frank Sinatra, and Cary Grant, or Aristotle Onassis and Charles DeGaulle, or if you've never heard about the marriage of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier, then you probably won't appreciate the minutiae within this book. I, however, am familiar with many of the names and events relayed as Joan tells her story, which greatly enhanced my enjoyment.

Next to Diana's wedding to Prince Charles, the wedding of Grace to Rainier was the event of the 20th century. Everyone was in love with the beautiful actress Grace Kelly and when she accepted Prince Rainier's proposal to become the Princess of Monaco, it was a fairy tale come true. Grace loved planning and attending parties which was fortunate since her life was a whirlwind of social events filled with performances by world famous artists. Joan Dale was in the unique position to share this lifestyle with us.

An eye opening story which I am tempted to retell, but I'll let you discover it for yourselves. Please pick up and read this four and a half star book and transplant yourself back to life in the late fifties and early sixties.

A special thank you to Netgalley, Inlightning, and Pamela Dale (Joan's daughter, as well as the god daughter of Princess Grace) for allowing me to download a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted on my blog, Gotta Read.
Profile Image for Heather C.
492 reviews80 followers
February 9, 2015
This memoir is of Joan Dale’s life, but focusing on her time spent with and intimately knowing Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. Joan did not know Grace during her Hollywood glamour days, so if you are looking for that perspective, you will be disappointed. But if you are looking to know Grace the princess you will become deeply acquainted with her in this memoir. Joan often references how she was referenced as “unknown woman” in all of the photos that she appeared in with Princess Grace – she was always there, but entirely unknown. Joan’s husband was Prince Rainier’s closest advisor and accordingly they were frequently present with the Prince and Princess.

We get all of the details of the balls, dinners, and other fabulous events that they attended – including extensive explanations of what EVERYONE was wearing (it almost felt like an awards style episode at times). At the same time, we are treated to the intimate moments when the families were just alone by themselves.

Much of this book is comprised of and composed from letter from Joan Dale’s collection – there are letters to and from Grace, Joan’s parents, her husband, Prince Rainier, and others. It is a great writing strategy to include these intimate peeks into Joan’s life. Additionally, there was an extensive collection of personal photos from Joan Dale providing a visual peek into the Dale and Grimaldi lives.

While I found this book an enjoyable, lighter read, it wasn’t without its issues – which I feel like comes with the territory when the memoir is written by someone who isn’t actually a practicing author. There is A LOT of repetition. Mostly this is involved with the letters. Within the text Joan’s letters are transcribed, but then immediately following each letter the author explains the events that are introduced in the letter. However, the narrative tends to tell exactly the same thing as the letters just with a little more detail – it felt very repetitive. Additionally, while the memoir does focus on Joan’s life with Grace, there is a lot just about Joan’s life as well. While this makes sense, as it is Joan who is writing the book, those portions of the book are much less interesting to the reader – especially if someone is picking up the book to learn about Grace Kelly. Additionally, I frequently felt that Joan was defensively explaining her relationship with Grace – as in, she feels the need to make it clear that she was actually one of Grace’s closest friends. She goes to great lengths to make this point and it made it feel a little pushy.

I did learn a lot about the private side of Princess Grace and it was an enjoyable, light read, but it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping the book would be.

This book is the combined works of Joan Dale (friend of Grace Kelly’s) and her daughter, Grace Dale. Joan Dale passed away prior to the publication of the book.

This review was previously posted at The Maiden's Court blog.
Profile Image for Sandy.
566 reviews
October 5, 2014
There have been books written about Princess Grace of Monaco. There have been movies about her and her family, as well. This is the story of a friendship. This wonderfully written book explores another side of Grace Kelly – that of a friend. This poignant account of two women and their evolving and profound friendship is touching, as well as informative. The reader gets to experience never-before-seen personal photos, letters and diaries that give insight and depth to the woman that we all knew as Princess Grace.

Seeing Princess Grace in this light shows what a truly genuinely beautiful person she was from the inside out. I have to say that I can understand her bond with the author, Joan Dale. She was definitely deserving of the trust that Princess Grace bestowed on her and their relationship.

Princess Grace lived a charmed life, but experienced the same day to day emotions, worries and sentiments of mothers, wives and women in all walks of life. That, more than anything was my takeaway from this book. It is a fascinating and personal peek into a magical life. No matter how much you feel you know about Princess Grace, this book will give you new insight to this fascinating woman, and her friend, Joan Dale - who creates a picture of a fascinating woman, an enduring love affair and a long-lasting friendship. I enjoyed it very much, and highly recommend!

*An advance reading copy was generously provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
124 reviews
June 21, 2018
I truly had very high hopes for this book. Princess Grace has fascinated many generations, so much but yet so little is known about one of the most elegant and graceful Princess. The author gives insight into her friendship with the Prince and Princess, but there is a lot of emphasis on her husbands career. True without her husband, Martin Dales, career as a diplomat their would not have been a meeting of the Royal family and the Dales. I feel that the author left a lot on the table in her descriptions of her days with Princess Grace. The author often repeats observations about Princess Grace and her personality and passions. I lost count of how many times it was mentioned that Princess Grace was the President of the Red Cross in Monaco. Over all it was a good book but I think with the documentation and the relationship the author had with the Royal Family a more personal look at them could have been accomplished. There are three royals that have that special elegance that totally capture the publics attention Princess Grace, Princess Diana, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, anything written about them is sure to capture any readers interest.
Profile Image for Taffy.
960 reviews59 followers
October 11, 2014
I've always admired Grace Kelly. I thought she was beautiful and talented, well dressed and elegant. When I saw this book on netgalley (thanks for the read, netgalley!), I knew I had to read it!

The author became friends with Grace Kelly when they were young and married. The friendship grew and strengthened through the years until Grace died in a car accident. Their children grew up together, they weathered political wars and enjoyed vacationing together.
The author did a fantastic job of allowing us to have a small glimpse into Princess Grace's charmed life. It wasn't always charmed, she was human after all, but the stories and notes give us a better understanding of Princess Grace's personality and life. She was an amazing woman.
At times I was distracted by the author's personal life being in the forefront of the story than Grace's, but that is to be expected when it comes from her point of view.

If you want to know more about Grace Kelly, the Princess of Monaco, this is a perfect read for you!
Profile Image for Lyn .
329 reviews12 followers
October 20, 2014
A heartwarming tribute written about an enduring friendship. Princess Grace and Mrs. Dale became acquaintances due to their husbands. They became friends later, raising their children together and enjoying each other. Mrs. Dale’s daughter has captured this portion of her Mother’s life in an attempt to share with her children what they have missed by not knowing both their grandmother and her Godmother, Princess Grace. If you are looking for gossip and secrets- look elsewhere, this is a fabulous book that tells of the era, the wealth, and the privilege without resorting to tawdry tales. Absolutely a fantastic glimpse into a friendship that just happened to take place with a Princess. Enjoy! NetGalley and In-Lightning provided an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Katarina.
860 reviews23 followers
September 19, 2014
A phenomenal book that brings a bygone era to life.

Beautifully written account of a close friendship between 2 women, one of whom happened to be Princess Grace of Monaco.

Princess Grace is one of those timeless women, who will forever live in our memories, like Diana and Audrey Hepburn. It was wonderful to read memories and letters chronicling the BFF relationship in a fairytale setting, in a time that doesn't exist anymore. The book also contains lots of wonderful photos from the private collection of the author.

The mutual respect and affection of these two women is evident on every page, and makes this a very special book. Don't expect gossip or some king of tell-all. This book doesn't have a trashy paragraph in it. It's classy all the way, just like the women it's about.
89 reviews4 followers
December 1, 2014
This was a lovely insight into the private life and persona of a much loved public figure, as seen through the eyes of a close friend. Behind the scenes Grace was clearly a loving wife and mother and a loyal friend. Keeping home life as near normal as possible given the many public duties she had to undertake, Grace comes across as warm and vibrant and full of fun.

What a wonderful asset for Monaco, her adopted home.
Profile Image for Shelley.
56 reviews
September 27, 2016
Such a wonderful book about Princess Grace. Very insightful, written by her good friend and confidant of over 25 years. She truly was a caring compassionate woman, dearly loved by family, friends and the principality of Monaco.
Profile Image for Michelle.
246 reviews22 followers
November 24, 2014
thank you, netgally for providing me with a copy of this book.

2.5 stars overall. This book was a lovely portrait of a friendship and a generally happy book for the most part.
Profile Image for Rachel.
560 reviews
January 20, 2016
I really enjoyed this book! It was interesting reading about Princess Grace through the perspective of her friend.
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