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The Times (16/Sep/1982) - The world mourns with Monaco

(c) The Times (16/Sep/1982)

The world mourns with Monaco

The funeral for Princess Grace of Monaco will take place at 11am local time on Saturday at the Principality's Roman Catholic Cathedral, the royal palace announced last night. The 52-year-old Princess died from a brain haemorrhage on Tuesday night in the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco after being injured in a road accident the day before.

Her husband, Prince Rainier III, and two of her children, Caroline, aged 25 and Crown Prince Albert, aged 24 were at her bedside.

Another daughter, Stephanie, aged 17, who was involved in the accident, was still in hospital last night under observation but apparently suffering from minor injuries. Contrary to some press reports, she knew of her mother's death but was not at her bedside when she died, a palace spokesman said. The ancient Principality with its 5,000 indigenous inhabitants, and 30,000 "foreign" residents was plunged into mourning, stunned at the totally unexpected death of their greatly beloved and still beautiful Princess.

The red and white Monegasque flag, topped by a black crepe bow, hung limply at half mast under a sultry sky from skyscrapers and other buildings, crowded up against the towering cliffs that surround the Principality, and from the boats below that lay at anchor in the picturesque harbour of the horse-shoe shaped bay. The Monte Carlo Casino, the municipal swimming pool, and many shops and restaurants remained closed throughout the day, while Monte Carlo radio broadcast sombre classical music in place of its usual diet of pop music. The casino will be closed for three days. A championship football match was moved from Monte Carlo.

Up at the thirteenth century royal palace which dominates the bay perched on a rock in the old town, the silent crowds waited in the unseasonally hot and humid weather, with temperatures reaching nearly 30° Centigrade in the shade, in order to pay their last respects to the dead princess as she lay in state in an open coffin in the Palatine chapel inside the palace grounds.

Some managed to control their emotions sufficiently to describe the Princess, dressed all in white, with a rosary entwined between her folded hands as she lay in an off-white satin-lined coffin, surrounded by flowers, in the dark chapel, a single beam of light playing on her heavily made-up face with a member of the palace guard, also dressed all in white, standing at each corner of the coffin.

Before she died, Princess Grace asked that if people wished to send flowers to her, they should be small bouquets.

LONDON: The Queen sent a personal message of condolence to Prince Rainer of Monaco on the death of his wife. Buckingham Palace announced. The text of the message was not released because of its personal nature.

Princess Grace last visited Britain in March, 1981, when she attended the first public engagement of the Lady Diana Spencer at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

King Baudouin of the Belgians went in person with his wife to offer condolences to Prince Rainier and his family.

In a telegram to Prince Rainer, M Pierre Mauroy, the French Prime Minister, expressed "the sadness of all French people" over the death of the Princess, who had "touched all our hearts".

As Hollywood mourned its former star, President Reagan, who like the Princess had given up a career in films, led a host of tributes to her from the United States. The President said: "She brought character and elegance to the performing arts."

Frank Sinatra, the singer, said he was "stunned shocked and totally grief-stricken. Grace was a gracious, wonderful woman who was a Princess from the moment she was born".

Tributes came too from Bob Hope, the comedian, and Gene Kelly, the actor and dancer. James Stewart, who starred with the then Miss Kelly in the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock thriller Rear Window, said: "Throughout both of her careers she had one basic attribute: class."

The Princess's widowed mother, who lives in Ocean City, New Jersey, has not been told of her daughter's death because of her own failing health, a spokesman for the family said.