This week saw the launch of a new book by royal photographer Reginald Davis – ‘My Life Photographing Royalty and The Famous’*. In it he states that whilst his favourite royal subject was Princess Margaret, his least favourite was most definitely Princess Grace of Monaco.
Talking to the Daily Express, he revealed that the former was “the Diana of her day”, and that everything he took of her was “in demand”. Whilst Princess Grace – the former Hollywood actress who starred in movies such as High Society with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, and Hitchcock’s Rear Window with James Stewart – was a difficult and haughty subject. In her day (Princess Grace died in 2002), the former actress was feted by the Pop Art scene, with both Andy Warhol and James Gill dedicating portraits to her. She also seems to have been beloved by her acting co-stars. During shooting of High Noon, Gary Cooper was enthralled by this new actress who was “different from all these actresses we’ve been seeing so much of”, and at her funeral a distraught James Stewart recalled:
“You know, I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met. Grace brought into my life as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her, and every time I saw her was a holiday of its own. No question, I’ll miss her, we’ll all miss her, God bless you, Princess Grace.”.
Numerous fashion exhibitions have been dedicated to her around the world, most notably at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In 2010, her wardrobe went on display there in ‘Grace Kelly: Style Icon’ which paid homage to her contribution to the world of fashion and her unwitting, continued stylistic influence thereon.
Indeed, the Hermes ‘Kelly Bag’ was named for her after she was photographed so much with the accessory during her pregnancy with her daughter, Princess Caroline.
During the Art Today Magazine ‘European Grand Art Tour’ last Summer, we were certainly caught up in the glitz and glamour that Monaco and Monte Carlo still evoke of its most darling Princess. We visited the St Nicholas Cathedral where she and Rainier married – the stunning white facade befitting of such a naturally beautiful and elegant woman. The principality’s Beaux Arts architecture is still infused with her taste, style and natural finesse.
Davis’ fascinating book also touches on his work for other world-famous and influential clients such as the Shah of Iran, Princess Paola of Belgium, and Sophia Loren. Although now 92 years of age, he is famous for continuing to release iconic shots from his photographic library began in the 1950s.
*’My Life Photographing Royalty and The Famous’ by Reginald Davis (published by Austin Macauley) is available on amazon.co.uk for £15.40 (Hardback). Launched 31 May 2017.
[Credits: The Daily Express; Harper’s Bazaar; National Magazine Company Ltd (Hearst UK); amazon.co.uk]