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Nicole Kidman’s new movie stirs up royal controversy

nicole-kidman-600x450Nicole Kidman in character (l); Grace Kelly (r)

A new movie undergoing production, Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman about the life of Grace Kelly has enraged the Monaco royal family, which has denounced the work as being full of fiction. The project, which also stars Tim Roth as Rainier and Frank Langella as Father Tucker, was recently denounced by Grace’s son, Prince Albert, and his sisters Caroline and Stephanie, as ‘needlessly glamourised’ and riddled with ‘major historical inaccuracies and a series of purely fictional scenes’.

But the 106-page script is based on hundreds of interviews biographers have conducted over many years with palace insiders and other first-hand sources.

The family’s real fear, it seems, may be that the film has broken a long-standing Hollywood taboo about bringing the truth about the marriage to the big screen – and it may set the stage for more embarrassing projects.

The general storyline told by the movie tells of how Grace Kelly gave up her Hollywood career to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco, a man she believed was the perfect husband, but six years later – after bearing him an heir and an elder daughter – she was so disillusioned that she decided to flee back home to America, where she was offered 1 million dollars to star in Marnie, a new Alfred Hitchcock thriller.

But it wasn’t the money the money that attracted her, according to her confidence to her husband’s chaplain and closest adviser, Father Francis Tucker. She told the elderly priest that Rainier’s tyrannical rules and explosive temper had worn her out, the Daily Mail reported. She asked what would happen if she accepted the Hitchcock role and sought for divorce.

“Your children will suffer most. They are heirs to a European throne. You’ll be lucky to see them again. I suppose the world will also hang its head in disappointment,” the Daily Mail quoted Tucker as telling her.

According to the movie script, Rainier slept in a separate room from Grace, and is said to be constantly ‘busy’ during the daytime; although the production glosses over accusations that he was unfaithful. Allegedly, the suave, cigar-smoking prince began cheating on Grace soon after she became pregnant during their honeymoon. Within months, he had taken at least three mistresses.

Some biographers claim Rainier was violent as well as a control freak. During a tennis doubles match, he allegedly aimed a ball straight at Grace’s face. When it hit her, the friend who was his doubles partner defended him, saying he was just ‘desperate to win’.nicole_kidman_as_grace_kelly_in_grace_of_monacoWhen Grace finally plucked up the courage to tell Rainier that she would like to accept Hitchcock’s million-dollar offer of the leading role in Marnie, he assured her, saying, “I won’t stand in your way.” But his words ‘didn’t ring true’, and when her plans for the movie are leaked to the press – she suspected, by palace plotters – the prince’s 30,000 subjects are horrified. In the end, the role of Marnie went to another Hitchcock protégée, Tippi Hedren.

Despondent about life in a ‘golden cage’, Grace allegedly consulted an American divorce lawyer but, after being advised that she would lose her children, resigned herself to her fate in Monaco. Worn down by disappointment, she died in a 1982 car crash, apparently after suffering a stroke.

The royals – who were shown the screenplay when director Dahan applied for permission to shoot in Monaco – claim that to their astonishment, their numerous requests for changes were ignored.

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