Grace Kelly research post planned


Prince Albert II of Monaco has revealed an Irish university research post is to be set up to commemorate his late Hollywood actress mother Grace Kelly.

The royal visitor announced the fellowship at Trinity College Dublin during a three-day visit to Ireland with his fiancee, Charlene Wittstock.

Both the research role and an international conference in Monaco later this year on Ireland during the first World War came about through a private donation, the prince said.

“I’m moved by this gesture of friendship which only confirms the wonderful, friendly, long-lasting, historical links between Monaco and Ireland,” he added.

The trip marks the 50th anniversary of an official visit to Ireland in 1961 by the prince's late parents, Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.

The princess, well known for her roles in Dial M For Murder, Rear Window and High Society, was the Irish-American granddaughter of an emigrant from Newport, Co Mayo.

The Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco was opened by her husband in 1984 as a tribute to her roots. The library, which holds the princess’s private collection and thousands of other works of Irish literature, music and history, is organising the conference in October along with Trinity College.

During his visit to Trinity, Prince Albert looked at the Book of Kells in the university’s Long Room and spoke with students.

TCD provost Dr John Hegarty, also from Co Mayo, said he remembered as a 13-year-old boy the visit of his screen icon-turned-princess mother half a century ago. “I well remember the excitement that pervaded almost by osmosis across the whole population at the time,” he said. “So it is a pleasure to welcome her son back to Ireland on the 50th anniversary of that first visit.”

Ms Wittstock, a South African swimming champion, took the day off from official engagements for a private visit to a fashion museum which houses outfits worn by Grace Kelly.

The Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons has a Givenchy dress the princess wore during her 1961 Irish visit and also for lunch at the White House with the Kennedys. Also in the collection is a dress she wore in the 1956 musical High Society, her last film role.

Prince Albert (53), and Ms Wittstock (33), who met at a swimming competition in Monaco, are to marry in July.