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Parallel Princesses: Grace and Diana

Two new movies bring two beloved royals to life on the big screen (and they’re played by best friends Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts)

Left: Portrait of the Monegasque royal family, 1967. Right: Princess Diana and Prince Charles with sons William and Harry, 1986.

1967: Prince Rainier and Princess Grace with (clockwise from lower left) Caroline, Albert and Stephanie. 1986: Princess Diana and Prince Charles with (from left) sons Harry and William. — Manchester Daily Express/Getty Images and Tim Graham/Getty Images

Royal Offspring

Grace had three children: Caroline, Princess of Monaco, born in 1957; Albert II, Prince of Monaco (1958), the current ruler; and Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Countess Polignac (1965).

Diana was mother to two boys: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (1982); and Prince Henry (aka Harry) of Wales (1984).

Marital Ups and Downs

Rainier proved almost as controlling as Grace's father, banning her movies from being shown in Monaco. When asked by the director in 1962, he was willing to allow his wife to star in Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie. But Monaco's citizenry didn't want to witness their princess kissing another man on the big screen and she dropped out. He later refused to allow her to do the 1977 ballet drama The Turning Point. Biographers have suggested that both spouses sought out affairs as their union cooled.

Both Diana and Charles found comfort in the company of others as early as 1985, she with Maj. James Hewitt and he with ex-girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles. Tapes were leaked with the royals engaging in intimate conversation with their paramours in 1992. The pair separated in January 1993 and Diana announced she would withdraw from public life. More details of the troubled union emerged in ensuing years, and a divorce was issued on Aug. 28, 1996.

Next page: Two tragedies. »

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