As we wrote earlier, Prince Albert bought the Grace Kelly’s childhood home for $754,000 in the fall 2016, after the previous owner died. Prince Albert II of Monaco, told to the People magazine that the home could be opened to the public by 2018 – or ‘possibly earlier’.
‘While it is a historical landmark, I don’t think that a dedicated museum is the right avenue to take, – Prince Albert told. –‘There will though be any number of events which will facilitate public viewing’.
He says his team is working to develop events that will attract visitors to the museum.
The home will serve as an outpost for the Princess Grace Foundation and Monaco’s Princess Grace Irish Library. The Library is partnering with Villanova University to plan lectures, readings, concerts and kid’s activities.
It is the very home where Prince Rainier III of Monaco proposed to Grace Kelly. She left home to pursue an acting career in 1950, going to star in the films like To Catch A Thief, Dial M For Murder, Rear Window and Country Girl before she retired and married Prince Rainier in 1956.
Prince Albert flew out to the U.S. in October to visit the Kelly family residence, and said being there made him nostalgic for his youth.
‘I hadn’t seen the house for a good many summers and some of it is in relatively good shape, he said. ‘The previous owner hadn’t touched some parts in 40 years. Other parts need great work . . . I can still see the living room carpet. It’s not there anymore but I remember the pattern. And the kitchen where we all had breakfast every morning.’
‘Seeing it without furniture was odd,’ he said. ‘And, it seems a little small. Of course, when you’re young everything seems bigger. But it seems a lot smaller than I remembered.’
The house remained in the family until 1974, when Kelly’s mother Margaret sold the estate to Thomas and Janet Lawnton, who then sold it six days later to Marjorie Bamont. Bamont, who was believed to be suffering a mental health crisis at the time, eventually pleaded no contest after she was convicted of 14 counts of animal cruelty in 2014. She died two years later.
The house was purchased after four months on the market.
A grandson of Kelly’s father said the royal family is securing the estate for the winter and were planning renovations.
Kelly’s father John was a three-time Olympic gold medalist and a prominent bricklayer in Philadelphia who was almost elected to be the city’s mayor.
The family was known for throwing incredible parties and hosting carnivals for the children of the community.
‘People still recollect seeing Grace waiting for a bus and how sweet and kind she was,’ – Gernerd said.
‘The family was beloved by the neighborhood as a gregarious and magnanimous group of local dignitaries. Their nobility was a force that shaped the community.’
Gernerd said that much like the family’s legacy, the house has also maintained its original shape through the years.
‘It’s a solid-structured building with great bones in it,’ she said.
‘It was built correctly, and most of the originality is still there. The architecture of the time didn’t get muted.’
‘When people came to look at it, the integrity remained and you could feel the flavor when it was first built. That was the charm of the house overall.’
Gernerd said the house still has its original windows and bricks, as well as the stunning archways and staircase.
‘It really is a love story,’ she said.