Long before Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle, there was another lavish fairytale wedding between a European royal and an American actress… when Prince Rainier III of Monaco married Grace Kelly in 1956.

Both were seemingly at the top of their worlds before they met: He had stepped up to , at the age of 26, after his grandfather died and she had just snagged the best actress Academy Award for the 1954 musical drama The Country Girl. But then a chance encounter on a French train spiraled into an introduction between the unlikely couple — and eventually led to one of the highest-profile romances of a generation.

Olivia de Havilland's husband had the idea to arrange a meeting between Kelly and Rainier

In the spring of 1955, some of the biggest names in cinema history were boarding an overnight train from Paris to Cannes to attend the Cannes Film Festival, an annual tradition since 1946. Two-time Oscar winner and Gone with the Wind actress Olivia de Havilland was on the luxury Le Train Bleu from Gare du Lyon with her newlywed husband, Pierre Galante, an editor at Paris Match雷电竞娱乐 magazine when they found out that Kelly was also on board.


De Havilland was tasked with tracking Kelly down on the train ride — and finally found her "on the small platform between the dining car and the next carriage when I overtook her to ask if she would agree to a meeting with Prince Rainier,” she told People. “Grace struck me on the first encounter as a rather reserved, self-possessed, well brought up young woman.”

雷电竞娱乐The two actresses’ conversation must have gone well since Kelly was game — but also gave herself a potential out. “She immediately agreed but made the highly professional proviso that such a meeting must first be approved of by the studio sponsoring her visit to Cannes: MGM,” de Havilland said.

雷电竞娱乐That stipulation could have been a hurdle since at the time Kelly’s relationship with her studio was tense since she had refused to make a film with Robert Taylor. But de Havilland was just glad her fellow actress didn’t shut down the idea immediately.

Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly

雷电竞娱乐Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III at the Monte Carlo Ball

A series of unfortunate events almost derailed Kelly and the prince's first meeting

When the train arrived in Cannes on Thursday, Galante started making the proper arrangements and set up a 4 p.m. meeting at Rainier’s palace the very next day. When the information was passed along to Kelly, she declined the invite. After all, this was a work trip for her and she had an obligation to appear at a cocktail event for her film The Country Girl at 5:30 p.m., according to People.

. While both Rainier and Kelly were already under such a microscope because of their public personalities, little is known of what happened directly after that meeting, though many theories filled gossip columns.

that Kelly’s heart was still with Cassini and that familial pressure made her choose royalty, Kelly herself stepped out for a press conference in her hometown of Philadelphia before flying to Monaco for her wedding.

雷电竞娱乐“I think just taking the step of marriage is enough to give a girl a bit of a twinge and certainly leaving home to do it, well, it’s a very moving thing,” she told reporters. “I don’t know how to explain it.” When asked how her French language skills were (the language spoken in Monaco), she replied, “Comme ci, comme ça,” meaning “so so.”

Kelly and Rainier had an epic two-day wedding

The wedding of Hollywood’s darling and the prince of Europe’s longest-ruling family took place over two days: a 15-minute civil ceremony in the Palace Throne Room on April 18, 1956 (followed by a 25-minute recitation of 140 new titles that Kelly now held) and a religious ceremony the next day, in which she wore two custom gowns gifted to her by MGM by designer Helen Rose, .

, including Hollywood heavyweights like Cary Grant and Ava Gardner as well as society names like Conrad Hilton and Aristotle Onassis.

“Mom said it was ‘overwhelming,’ — that ‘excited’ or the word ‘overjoyed’ wasn’t strong enough to express her feelings,” their son Prince Albert . “My father said so too.”

雷电竞娱乐“It was such an incredible affair and it’s left such a mark on people,” . “What it has meant for people has been incredible. For us… it was our parents getting married. But what it’s meant for Monaco, for people around the world, and, how their story continues to fascinate people, that’s something unimaginable.”

After her wedding, Kelly gave up acting

As soon as she officially became a royal, Kelly became fully dedicated and gave up her Hollywood career. Even though she only made 11 films — including 1952’s High Noon, 1953’s Mogambo, and a trio of Alfred Hitchcock classics Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief — she cemented her reputation as a leading actress of the Hollywood’s Golden era.

“I loved working at my craft — I didn't like the public appearance of having to be a movie star,” she admitted in her last television interview with Pierre Salinger for ABC on June 22, 1982, shortly before her tragic death on September 14, 1982, of injuries from a car accident. “Even in Hollywood, my private life was pretty much my own. When I married, my private life became public and I really had no privacy at all — and that was an adjustment to make.”

. “We're impressed by the man. Marriage is not a game of musical chairs with us. We play for keeps.” And that she did.