Prince Albert plans to open Grace Kelly's home to public soon

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Soon movie fans and royalty fans will get to indulge their joint fantasies of touring Princess Grace Kelly's childhood home. 

Prince Albert II of Monaco, Grace's son and the current reigning prince of the tiny Mediterranean principality she married into, says the childhood home of his late mother will reopen to the public next year or earlier.

Albert told People that the Philadelphia home he purchased last year for $754,000 will house regional offices for the Princess Grace Foundation and a U.S. extension of Monaco's Princess Grace Irish Library. It will also be made available for public events once it is renovated.

Albert says that since the home sits in a residential neighborhood, "it won't be exclusively a museum."

The brick, Georgian-style house on Henry Avenue and Coulter Street in the East Falls area was built by his grandfather, John B. Kelly, Sr., six years after Grace's birth in 1929.

Grace grew up there in a household headed by her father, a three-time Olympic gold medal-winning rower in the 1920s, before she departed for Hollywood and movie-stardom — and an Academy Award in 1955 for The Country Girl.

But that was nothing compared to the worldwide media clamor when she accepted a marriage proposal from his father, Prince Rainier III, in 1955, and sailed off to marry him in a cathedral in Monaco, that "sunny place for shady people" famous for its casino and tax exiles.

Princess Grace was killed in an car wreck in September 1982 as she was driving down a tricky Corniche road from her country home to the Palace of Monaco.

“The house was very beautiful and very special to our family,” says Albert, Grace's second of three children, recalling early memories traveling to the family home with his mother. “I couldn’t have been more than 2, probably my first visit to the house. I remember rolling about on the carpet in the living room. The house is filled with little moments like that. Moments of being a family.”

The 4,000-square foot house stayed in the Kelly family until 1974, before being purchased by Marjorie Bamont, who lived there for more than 40 years. She died April 20 at age 84.

Albert visited the home in October to discuss with locals his plans for it. At the time, he said he wanted to ensure residential and community concerns were addressed.

Maintaining the neighborhood’s residential quality is essential, he said. “While it is a historical landmark, I don’t think that a dedicated museum is the right avenue to take. There will be, though,  any number of events which will facilitate public viewing.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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