Grace Kelly, circa 1954, waves goodbye to New York as she departs for Monaco to wed prince Rainer. (photo: New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Library of Congress)
The Princess of Monaco may have passed away in 1982, but her advice and manners live on in a new book by Gina McKinnnon, What Would Grace Do? ($26, Gotham Books). Soon to be portrayed in a blockbuster biopic starring Nicole Kidman, Grace Kelly, who would have been 84 this month, set the standard for elegant living. Here, McKinnon taps her knowledge of the princess to provide us with tips on sophisticated holiday entertaining and more.
On Holiday Dinner: "You can bet your last dollar that all-American Grace would have sat down to a traditional holiday dinner each year, wherever she was in the world. To be on the same page as Grace over the holiday season, be sure to invite friends and family with open arms, and don’t spare the pumpkin pie."
On Shopping for Gifts: "We can just imagine Grace, filled with Christmas cheer, shopping on the Champs Élysées or Fifth Avenue. Her first stop might be Hermès to pick out some stylish leather gloves or a scarf for a girlfriend . . . We can also picture her browsing the toy store to buy something silly for the bottom of their stocking; Grace was an irrepressible practical joker."
On Hosting a Dinner Party: "Hospitable to a fault, Grace loved to entertain at the Palace of Monaco. To play hostess à la Grace, think themes. On turning 40, she threw an elegant ball around her birth sign, Scorpio."
On Birthdays: "After bonding with Ava Gardner at their impromptu joint birthday party on the set of Mogambo, Grace never failed to send her one-time co-star a birthday gift. Such generosity of spirit was typical of Grace. She never forgot a birthday and was a prolific sender of letters and cards to her dearest pals."
On Wedding Planning: "Attention to detail was the key to Grace Kelly’s wedding plans. Dubbed 'The Wedding of the Century,’ her 1956 marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco was a lavish affair. But despite the grand scale, the minutiae were also important. For instance, the delicate pink of Grace’s bridesmaids’ bouquets matched her civil ceremony gown from the previous day."