Prince Albert of Monaco has opened up about the tragic death of his mother Grace Kelly, revealing that his father was never the ‘same man’ after the loss.
The prince, 59, called his mother’s death ‘traumatic’ for the royal family, particularly for his sister Stephanie, who was with her mother at the time of the car accident that claimed her life.
Grace Kelly died in September 1982 after driving around a hairpin curve in Monaco and crashing, with 17-year-old Stephanie in the vehicle.
Prince Albert, the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco, said it took years for his sister to come to terms with what happened.
Speaking on In Depth with Graham Bensinger last week, his majesty said he turned to his family in his grief over her death.
Prince Albert’s mother, the Hollywood movie star Grace Kelly, became Princess of Monaco after marrying Rainier III in April 1956.
Albert’s sister Princess Stephanie, now 52, suffered multiple injuries in the crash in 1982 – including broken ribs, three cervical fractures and a shattered collarbone – which occurred when Princess Grace was driving home to the palace with her daughter.
Albert, who has been married to Princess Charlene since 2011, said his younger sister struggled to deal with the fact that she couldn’t save their mother.
He said: ‘Well, it took a very long time for her to recover from this and it was a very painful recollection for her, and it took a number of years for her to come to terms with that.
‘You know, just the pain of being in that car with our mother and not being able to pull her out or to have a different outcome. She was injured, of course also, but I think it’s a traumatic experience and it would be for anybody.’
Prince Albert said his late father Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, who died in 2005, was a changed man following the death of his wife.
‘It was pretty obvious that he was deeply affected and he wasn’t quite the same man as he was before the accident,’ Albert confessed.
The father-of-four turned to his family to deal with his own grief over their loss, admitting it took him years to grieve properly.
Albert said: ‘It always takes a while you recover thanks to your other family members, to your friends, to the people who are dear to you and provide comfort.
‘It also takes years to really fully come to terms with that.’
The royal family had been eating breakfast when Albert’s father came in and told them there had been an accident.
‘Basically he said that we had to go down the hospital because mom and Stephanie had an accident.
‘I didn’t think twice about it and went down with him, Caroline as well, and of course it was a very shocking moment,’ the Prince explained.
‘One where you’re not sure what to think. Of course you think that things are going to improve and it’s not as bad an accident as you thought it was so… those few hours there were very tense and very emotional.’
He added: ‘It wasn’t until later that evening that it became apparent that the outcome was not going to be a good one.’
The royal also spoke about life in the public eye, saying it can be a case of having to ‘grin and bear it’ during public engagements.
‘Gradually, and around the age of probably four or five, you kind of notice that you’re in a bit of a different family, and people have different expectations of you, people making a fuss over you. It’s not always easy and not easy to come to terms with. It still isn’t in many ways,’ he said.
‘I consider myself a private person most of the time so it’s hard to perform in a very public situation and have to do… public appearances and speeches depending on what it is and what the situation is. And of course you get to meet great people.
‘Even at a younger age you try and figure your way around and at a later stage in life then it becomes a little tedious, but there are things you have to do and you have to grin and bear it and push forward.
‘You kind of learn early on to say you don’t have a choice.
‘You could just walk away and have your own life but that would be, first of all, not respecting what my father and mother did for this country, and trying to keep that moral obligation that there is to lead this nation and be the head of state.’
Originally published at Daily Mail
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