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Royals

Prince Albert on His Dad’s Heartbreak After Princess Grace’s Death: ‘He Wasn’t Quite the Same Man’

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Prince Rainier and Princess Grace
AP Photo

Prince Albert is opening up about his mother Princess Grace‘s tragic death, and the moment his father, Prince Rainier, told him about the deadly car crash that claimed his mother’s life and injured his sister, Princess Stephanie.

Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace when she wed Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956, suffered a stroke while driving back to Monaco from the royal family’s country home on Sept. 13, 1982. She lost control of the car and drove off a steep mountainside. When paramedics arrived, she was in critical condition. She and her then-17-year-old daughter, Stephanie, were transported to the hospital, where Grace later succumbed to her injuries. Stephanie suffered a concussion and fractured vertebra.

Prince Albert and his mother, Princess Grace, in 1974
Prince Albert and his mother, Princess Grace, in 1974. AP

Albert was having breakfast when his father came in to tell him about the crash.

“Basically, he said that we had to go down to the hospital because mom and Stephanie had an accident,” Albert said in a recent interview with Graham Bensinger. “And so I didn’t think twice about it and went down with him and [sister] Caroline as well.

“It was a very shocking moment, you’re not quite sure what to think, and of course, you think that things are going to improve and it’s not as bad an accident as you thought it was. And so those few hours there were very tense and very emotional.”

Keystone-FranceGamma-Rapho via Getty
Keystone-FranceGamma-Rapho via Getty

He continued: “It wasn’t until later that evening that it became apparent that the outcome was not going to be a good one.”

Albert also spoke out about Stephanie’s recovery and how she came to terms with her mother’s death.

Princess Stephanie
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

“It took a very long time for her to recover from this, and it was a very painful recollection for her,” Albert said. “It took a number of years for her to come to terms with that — the pain of being in that car with our mother and not being able to pull her out or to have a different outcome.

“It was a traumatic experience and would be for everybody.”

As for how he dealt with the shock of his mother’s death, Albert said: “It always takes awhile, you recover thanks to your other family members and to your friends and to people who are dear to you who can provide comfort. It also takes a few years to really come to terms with it.”

Michael Calcagno

As for his father, Albert said he was never the same after losing his beloved wife.

“He was deeply affected and he wasn’t quite the same man as he was before the accident,” Albert said.

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

His mother’s legacy now lives on in her adopted home of Monaco.

“She was a great ambassador for Monaco,” he said. “It was her personality and generosity of heart and spirit that charmed people and made them want to come and visit and engage with Monaco.”