On 24 July 1946, the 76-year-old Louis II, Prince of Monaco, married the 45-year-old actress Ghislaine Dommanget. They had been in a relationship for at least five years prior to this, and the match angered many in the family. Prince Louis had one daughter named Charlotte with Marie Juliette Louvet, whom he had adopted, and she was now known as Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois. She had ceded her succession rights to her son Prince Rainer in 1944.
Ghislaine would be the first Grimaldi bride without a dowry, and the wedding was snubbed by the entire family. Many of them suspected that Ghislaine would try to persuade her new husband to change his will in her favour. He indeed bequeathed half of his personal fortune to Ghislaine, while the remaining half was to be divided between Charlotte and her children Rainier and Antoinette. Not much information about the wedding itself has survived. The civil wedding was on the 24th, while the religious wedding was held on the 26th.
Newspapers neglect to mention anything of the bride’s dress or jewels. The New York Times reported only, “Prince Louis II, 76-year-old ruler of the pocket principality of Monaco on the Rieviera (sic), which contains the world-famous gambling center, Monte Carlo, married Chislaine (sic) Dommanges (sic), a naturalized citizen of Monaco, this afternoon in a sumptuous ceremony at the chapel of his palace at Monte Carlo, it was learned here.”1 There does not even appear to be a wedding photo. Or could the one below be from the civil wedding? Who knows?
She was reportedly close to Princess Grace and encouraged her to return to acting. “You must do that movie, and you mustn’t let anyone stop you. If you have Rainier’s permission, who cares what anyone else thinks? He’s the Prince. You are a brilliant actress, and you should not allow that talent to be wasted. As long as Rainier approves, what is it to you, my dear? Nothing but yourself.”2 She later added, “Oh, screw the Monegasques. How dare they? Why, you are Princess Grace! Live your life as you choose!”3
- The New York Times
- Once upon a time: the story of Princess Grace, Prince Rainier and their family by J. Randy Taraborrelli p.239
- Once upon a time: the story of Princess Grace, Prince Rainier and their family by J. Randy Taraborrelli p.251