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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  971 ratings  ·  72 reviews
From master storyteller Taraborrelli comes the powerful and moving story of one of royalty's most secretive families, led by Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, told with passion and sympathy. photos.
Paperback, 632 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Grand Central Publishing (first published April 1st 2003)
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3.81  · 
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 ·  971 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Mar 23, 2011 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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Kimberly Thornbury
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Such a sad life for such a beautiful person!
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 rated it did not like it
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.
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.
Gary McGugan
Mar 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
It's rare occasion indeed that I don't finish a book. This one caught my attention and I downloaded it to Kindle because I hadn't read a biography for a while and thought this one might be somewhat entertaining. I was wrong.

First, the book is far too long. I learned about all I wanted to know in the first 100 pages. After that, the story was just too detailed, too slow moving, and too repetitive. I guess if one is fascinated with celebrity and just needs to know every microscopic detail about a
Frances Bradley
Princess Grace and Rainier

I did think the book was interesting and told of their marriage and the trouble they had with their girls, But , the book was boring in so many parts of it. It gave to much information about people or organizations that at least I didn’t know or care about. A few sentences would have been enough. Then when the book was over there was page after page of interesting tidbits that should have been put in the book. I guess I think the writer should have done a better job of
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very illuminating read. Because the book's focus is the relationship between Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, Kelly's Hollywood career doesn't receive as much attention as it would in other biographies. But Taraborrelli does a great job establishing all that Kelly gave up to marry the prince of Monaco. The story is engaging although the author does tend to repeat himself from time to time rephrasing the same idea in different sentences. But he does a great job of opening up Grace's and Rainier' ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book, I did not know barely anything about Grace Kelly other than that she was a beautiful actress who became a Princess. This book really made me feel like I could relate to her, because her experience is the universal experience that every truly beautiful woman goes through as she ages and must become a wife and mother instead of the star of her own life. I found Princess Grace completely relatable and the book was well written. Her death and funeral made me cry. This book ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty good story, but sad, of course. I remember when Princess Grace died, but I didn't really know much about her before I read this book. It definitely fills in several blanks and makes me appreciate her more.

This fulfills the 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge: "Set in a country that fascinates you" or "About a Real Person" I reserve the right to put it in a final category at the end of the year.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I especially liked reading about the background of the events that happened during my lifetime. I e

Very good biography of the royal family of Monaco; the story was well researched and beautifully written. I especially liked learning the background of events that occurred during my lifetime. I am a longtime admirer of Grace Kelly, and this author has wonderfully answered all of my questions!
Lorri Stanton
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Loved this book! Princess Grace is a legend and what a life she created for herself with all the protocol and rules of being royalty. Tragic end to her life and my heart goes out to Rainier and her family.
Leslie Goddard
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
A solid read. Gives a good overview of their marriage, focusing on Grace and her life in Monaco with much less on her Hollywood life.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book! It opened my eyes to the life of Grace Kelly . . . so interesting!
Jan Norris
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Though repetitive, this is an interesting Biography. Her life was so different than what I had thought.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Grace Mead
Jul 28, 2014 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 rated it really liked it
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
Kristin Lundberg
Mar 11, 2012 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
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Jamie Jones Hullinger
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
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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