The Prince & the Showgirl: Gisèle Pascal, Prince Rainier & Marilyn Monroe

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Gisèle Pascal, Prince Rainier and Marilyn Monroe

The Prince & the Showgirl: Gisèle Pascal, Prince Rainier & Marilyn Monroe

In the early 1950s,Prince Rainier of Monaco was the perfect age to marry – he had been born in 1923. He was wealthy, handsome and the ruler of a magical principality. However, he was a shy and retiring man.

For several years he had been living with a French actress, Gisèle Pascal and the time was approaching when he needed to marry to produce heirs to his principality. However, marriage to Gisèle was frowned upon.

The Royal Council  was widely reported to claim that they disapproved because Gisèle had no royal blood but historically, this should not have been  problem.

The real reason was because of a plot hatched by Rainier’s sister, Antoinette.

She was determined to usurp Rainier, put her young son on the throne and act as his regent.The last thing she wanted was Rainier to marry and produce an heir who would be before her own son in the line of succession.

Antoinette was powerful with important friends. She was also a popular character in Monaco. She spread the rumour that Gisèle was unable to have children.Obviously, this meant that she would not be able to bear the prince an heir. There was even a medical report prepared, presumably  at the behest of (and possibly paid for by) Antoinette.

Rainier remained firm, although the succession of the throne was an important issue. But Gisèle herself brought matters to a head at the Cannes Film Festival. Both Rainier and Gisèle attended and at one of the social occasions, Gisèle danced – in an intimate fashion – with actor Gary Cooper. Later, in his authorised biography, Rainier said that seeing the two of them together was ‘like a knife going through my heart’.

The romantic prince continued to wear the ring that Gisèle had given him and once the relationship had broken up, showed no interest in finding a bride.

Enter Aristotle Onassis

Onassis was well-known asa ‘fixer’. He was also very fond of entertaining movie stars and moguls on his yacht, Christina. He had Greta Garbo’s manager on board and asked him to help find a ‘good American wife’ for the prince. The manager and his wife began their search, including offering female celebrities rent-free accommodation in Monte Carlo.

The publisher of Look magazine decided that he knew the perfect woman.

Enter Marilyn Monroe

Yes, the publisher believed that Marilyn Monroe would be the perfect wife for the prince. Marilyn, unsurprisingly, was entranced by the idea of marrying a prince.

She asked whether he was handsome. She had never seen a photograph of the prince and didn’t even know where Monaco was but nevertheless, she said that she wanted to meet Rainier. She was very attached to the thought of becoming a princess. She was asked if she thought that Rainier would want to marry her.  Reportedly, her reply was:

‘Give me two days alone with him and of course he’ll want to marry me’.

As we know, this was not to be.


As we also know, Rainier married the actress Grace Kelly in 1956 and they had three children. And I do think that the name Princess Grace was more suitable than Princess Marilyn. CAn you imagine what Monaco would be like today if Marilyn had got her way? Rainier and Grace were married until she was killed in a car crash in 1982.

In the same year Grace Kelly married Rainier, Marilyn was filming  a movie , coincidentally named The Prince and the Showgirl. She went on to marry sportsman Joe DiMaggio and then the playwright Arthur Miller. She reputedly had affairs with John and Robert Kennedy. When she died in 1962, it was deemed that she had taken her own life although to this day, there are those who believe that she was murdered by the Kennedys.

And Gisèle? She married in 1955 and  lived until 2007 when she died at the age of eighty five.

In 1962, Gisèle gave birth to a daughter. She had  been able to bear children after all.




Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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