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By the standards of Rainier's family, which was said to be subject to a matrimonial curse laid on a renegade ancestor in the 13th century, the marriage turned out remarkably well.Princess Grace took her duties seriously, set up the Princess Grace Foundation to administer her charities, founded a ballet school and built convalescent homes.The Prince was never happier than when poring over plans for new buildings; and with a constant stream of foreigners eager to establish residence in order to escape taxes, and American capital flowing freely into Monaco as a result of his marriage, he had both the motive and the means for construction.
He also used the favourable tax climate to attract banking and such light industries as plastics, cosmetics and jewellery.Her father, Jack Kelly, a brick manufacturer and self-made millionaire who had also won two Olympic gold medals for sculling, was initially unenthusiastic about providing a dowry - "My daughter doesn't have to pay any man to marry her" - but eventually agreed to pay million towards the cost of the wedding (Onassis also made a contribution) and to set up a trust for Grace's benefit.The wedding, on April 19 1956, caught the imagination of the world's media, even though heads of state - the Queen, President Eisenhower and General de Gaulle - remained aloof.Monaco had profited from the fact that gambling was illegal in France from 1836 to 1933; after the war, though, competition developed, both on the Riviera and elsewhere.To make matters worse, in the early 1950s the Société Monégasque de Banques et de Métaux Précieux, which held 55 per cent of Monaco's reserves, and much of Rainier's own fortune, went bankrupt; moreover, Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping magnate, had acquired control of the Société des Bains de Mer.
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It was Onassis who first had the idea that Rainier should improve the image of Monaco by marrying an American film star.