Louis, who tied the knot with his college sweetheart Marie Chevallier last weekend, rode away from his nuptials with his new wife in a 1956 Chrysler Imperial — the same car his grandfather Prince Ranier drove to pick up his then bride Grace Kelly when she docked in Monaco ahead of their royal wedding in April 1956.
The backstory of the car is even sweeter. When Rainier traveled to Grace’s hometown of Philadelphia just before Christmas in 1956, he proposed to the American actress. Their first public event as a couple came soon after at The Chrysler Imperial Gala at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The couple sat in the royal box to watch the “Night in Monte Carlo”-themed fashion show. For the finale, Grace and Rainier appeared on stage to pull the winning number from a rotating drum of the person who won a Chrysler Imperial for that evening’s raffle.
Rainier went on to get himself a Chrysler model in New York the following day and had it sent to Monaco. He picked Grace up in it at the port when her ship arrived just days before their nuptials on April 12, 1956.
The classic two-tone automobile, which features whitewall tires and show-stopping chrome work, is currently on exhibit at the Prince’s Collection in Monaco, but it was pulled from the exhibit for Louis’ wedding last weekend — making it the perfect “something borrowed” detail.
The car wasn’t the only nod to Princess Grace and Prince Rainier. For their religious ceremony, Louis and Marie chose to tie the knot in the principality’s Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate (also known as St. Nicholas Cathedral), which made them the first members of the royal family to marry there since the historic wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier.
The funerals of both Princess Grace (1982) and Prince Rainier (2005) were also held there, and they both are interred in the cathedral. Last November, Louis told Point de Vue magazine that this particular connection to his grandfather made the couple’s choice of venue a very simple one.
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“Growing up in the princely family binds you very strongly to this country,” Louis said, “for me it was therefore obvious to get married at the cathedral, so we will be near my grandfather, Prince Rainier III, – this will be our way of associating him with our happiness. My grandfather was a man I admired. I was very close to him.”