Princess Diana felt ‘connected’ to Grace Kelly during her friendship
In 1981, newly engaged Diana Spencer appeared at a London fundraiser in a strapless black Emanuel dress “two sizes too small”. Blinded by flashes and breathless in the tight dress, the 19-year-old thought she might faint.
“I was terrified, really — back then everything was everywhere,” Diana told her biographer. Grace Kelly, aka Princess Grace of Monaco, noticed the young woman’s discomfort and offered to retire together in the ladies’ salon.
Privately, Diana broke down in tears as Grace offered understanding and humor. “Don’t worry sweetie,” she joked, patting Diana on the cheek. “It will only get worse.”
Of course, Grace was right. Privately, the eldest princess worried about Diana. “They have nothing in common,” Grace said of Diana and Prince Charlesaccording to true grace author Wendy Leigh. “I think he’s way too old for her, and she’s very, very young herself.”
But the actress-turned-royal, whose husband Prince Rainier was a distant relative of Charles, would attend the couple’s elaborate royal wedding.
When Grace died in a car crash in 1982, Diana felt the need to pay her respects in person. “It’s important because she was a stranger who married into a big family, and I did the same, so it would feel good to me,” she told Charles, who insisted that his presence was not necessary.
Undeterred, Diana appealed to queen elizabeth, who agreed to allow him to travel to Monaco. It meant more to Diana than anyone realized. She told Grace’s daughter Princess Caroline that she felt “psychically connected” to Grace and would always treasure her kindness.