For many people of a certain age the Principality of Monaco will be forever associated in our minds with the American actress and star of three unforgettable Alfred Hitchcock movies To Catch a Thief, Dial M for Murder and Rear Window – the timeless beauty Grace Kelly. Hollywood was rocked to its foundations when she retired from films and married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco at the peak of her career in April 1956 and became Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, although the shorter title of Princess Grace was quickly adopted by fans and press alike.
When I found this vintage souvenir postcard of the main facade of the Palace of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco – Le Palais de S.A.S. le Prince de Monaco – the first thing I did, therefore, was to double check the date; when I saw that it had been posted in 1959, I found myself smiling to think that this was more or less how Princess Grace would have found it when she first moved to Monte Carlo. Indeed, it was her husband Prince Rainier III, who is “credited with restoring the greatest part of the lost glory of the Palace to its present splendid state”. (See: The Prince’s Palace of Monaco)
The postcard itself is a scalloped edged tinted Bromocolor real photograph card printed from a black and white original image. The reverse of the postcard is also interesting from a philatelic point of view – the 20 franc stamp is cancelled with a fine postmark advertising the first edition of Scolatex, an interschool and international educational philatelic exhibition which ran from 16 - 20 May 1959 – and would later become a prestigious event organised by the Monaco National Commission for Unesco.
Monaco is, incidentally, the second smallest country in the world by geographical size - only the Vatican City, the walls of which I can see from where I'm sitting at my computer as I type - is smaller.
Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.