The accident that changed Monaco forever (Part two)

accident grace
dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Read part one here.

While Stéphanie remained unaware of what was happening, Prince Rainier, Prince Albert and Princess Caroline were living a nightmare. Doctors were finally able to give Prince Rainier a full update on his wife’s condition. Her brain damage was severe and permanent – there was no longer any brain function present. Princess Grace was now in a coma and being kept alive by machines. From the early hours of the morning of 14 September, she was clinically dead.

Albert and Caroline were asked to say goodbye to their mother. Prince Rainier stayed behind with his wife, and around noon, he gave the doctors permission to turn off the life support machines that had been keeping her heart beating. On 14 September 1982, at 10.35 p.m., Princess Grace died. She was still only 52 years old.

Rumours began to circulate around the accident that Princess Stéphanie had been the one driving or that the brakes had failed. Stéphanie herself was injured in the accident, which would have made it impossible to switch places with her mother. In addition, she always denied the rumours. Friends of the family also said that Grace would never have allowed Princess Stéphanie to drive. Grace herself would not usually have driven herself either, but she wanted to take the dresses with them. Nadia LaCoste, who worked for Grace, said, “She did not like to drive at all. Thus, you can talk of fate.”1 The Princely Palace issued a statement on 21 September retracting their initial statement of a brakes failure and confirming that Grace had suffered a stroke.2

From 15 September until 17 September, Grace laid in state in the chapel of the Princely Palace. She was surrounded by candles and white flowers as two guards watched over her. Countless people came by to pay their respects to the Princess. Princess Grace’s head had been shaved in the hospital for the CT scan, and so a blonde wig was placed on her head. It also covered the serious head wound she had. She held a rosary in her clasped hands and was dressed in a long, silk Dior dress that had been in the backseat of the car that day.

Read part three here.

  1. Grace. A Biography by Thilo Wydra p.303
  2. The New York Times

About Moniek Bloks 2740 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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