Grace Kelly’s fairy-tale 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier was simply a glitzy business deal masterminded by Aristotle Onassis to transform impoverished Monaco into a gambling cash cow, according to movie producer Robert Evans.
In his blockbuster book ‘The Fat Lady Sang’, Evans explains how the Greek shipping magnate, who’d later wed Jacqueline Kennedy, was partners with the bankrupt consortium operating the Casino de Monte Carlo. To protect his investment, he hatched a scheme to transform the gambling den “into a *@#$%^& money machine.”
Onassis told Rainier to marry a glamorous actress and turn the tiny principality into a playground for Hollywood’s rich and famous – and wealthy people who wanted to mingle with them.
Evans writes Onassis told Rainer, “Get off your royal ass and find yourself a bride. The right bride could do for Monaco’s tourism what the coronation of Queen Elizabeth did for Great Britain.”
But pickings were slim as the sexiest star of all, Marilyn Monroe, was already in a relationship with Arthur Miller and besides that, she didn’t know where Monaco was on the map.
Grace Kelly, the drop-dead gorgeous Oscar winner for 1954’s “The Country Girl”, fit the bill but she, too, was far from virginal.
Writes Evans, “Our Serene Highness was well known in Hollywood for playing summer camp with most every leading man she flicked with” – a list that includes Ray Milland, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and Gary Cooper.
“There wasn’t a microscope on Earth powerful enough to find a virginal spot on her soon-to be- royal anatomy,” notes Evans, 83, who had a lengthy affair with Kelly in 1950.
When Grace attended the 1955 Cannes Film Festival, a photo shoot was arranged for her and Rainier. She was willing to be Princess, but had to give the performance of her life to convince the Prince she was worthy.
“Confessing she was no virgin, she was Catholic, fertile, rich – and ‘a big ******’ movie star! Four out of five was good enough to close the royal deal,” writes Evans, the producer of “Chinatown” and “Marathon Man”.
Onassis oversaw every little detail of the wedding, then watched from the deck of his yacht as the couple married April 12, 1956.
He’d turned the monarchy, which is less than half the size of New York’s Central Park, into a gambling Magic Kingdom that is still pumping out money to this day.