Each year in Monaco, the Grimaldis gather at the Palais Princier for their annual Christmas tree celebration. The festivities include the distribution of gifts to local children, with the members of the princely family playing Santa Claus. Today, we’ve got a look back at the party held 45 years ago, when Princess Grace wore her best pearls for the occasion.
On December 23, 1976, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace joined two of their children, Prince Albert and Princess Stephanie, for the annual distribution of Christmas gifts at the palace. Father Christmas (or, more accurately for Monaco, Père Noël) also joined the family for the occasion.
Princess Grace wore a dark red dress for the occasion, nearly matching Santa’s outfit perfectly.
Her accessories for the occasion were something special: an important suite of pearl and diamond jewelry, with an extra diamond and ruby touch.
Her earrings, necklace, and bracelet are part of the demi-parure of pearls that Prince Rainier gave her as a wedding present in April 1956. The jewels were made by Van Cleef & Arpels. Here’s a closer look at the set, which also features a matching ring, taken during a retrospective of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry in Paris in 1992.
And here’s another look at the complete suite, displayed as part of the “Grace Kelly Years” exhibition in Moscow in October 2008. I especially like the earrings from this set, with their laurel-leaf diamond designs surrounding each pearl. The pearls have been worn in public most recently by Grace’s elder daughter, Princess Caroline.
Grace wore the necklace, earrings, and bracelet for the Christmas party in 1976. (She may also have the ring on her right hand; the photographs don’t show the ring well enough to say for sure.) On her left hand, Grace wears a ruby and diamond ring. This lovely ring, which features a large cabochon ruby, is part of a suite that many believe was purchased for her by Prince Rainier, to coordinate with the Bains de Mer Tiara.