Princess Grace of Monaco (formerly known as Hollywood star Grace Kelly) passed away on September 14, 1982, one day after her car plunged off a mountain pass in her adopted country of Monaco. The sudden loss of the beloved princess left the world not only heartbroken, but begging for answers to a number of haunting questions.

Grace KellyPhoto: Traverso/Rex/Shutterstock

Who was Princess Grace?

Born Grace Kelly in 1929 in Philadelphia, Princess Grace had a magic about her that, in retrospect, makes it seem she’d always been destined for greatness. Her first major Hollywood role was opposite Gary Cooper in 1952’s High Noon, but she’s probably best known for starring in Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder and Rear Window. In 1956, after an aborted romance with fashion designer Oleg Cassini, she abandoned Hollywood to marry Prince Ranier III of Monaco, with whom she’d have three children. One of them, Princess Stephanie, was with her that fateful day when her car spun out of control on the treacherous D37 highway in Monaco, plunging 120 feet off the side of a mountain.

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Who was driving Grace Kelly's carPhoto: AP/Rex/Shutterstock

Who was actually driving the car?

One thing we know for certain is the accident occurred while Princess Grace and Princess Stephanie were driving back from their vacation home in Roc Agel in a Rover P6 3500. Who was behind the wheel is not entirely clear. One rumour suggests Stephanie, not Grace, was the driver, which would have been a problem because Stephanie did not have a driver’s licence. One witness claimed he’d seen Stephanie driving. In addition, Stephanie was extracted from the driver’s side of the car. But Stephanie has always denied she was driving.

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Why would Grace Kelly have been drivingPhoto: Silverside/ANL/Rex/Shutterstock

Why would Princess Grace have been driving?

Another complication about the question of who was driving is that while Stephanie was not a licensed driver, Grace was known to despise driving. Following a car crash in Monaco in the 1970s, she was heard to swear off of driving forever. Thereafter, she employed a chauffeur—except on that fateful day. According to an excerpt from Rainier and Grace: An Intimate Portrait published in the Chicago Tribune, the backseat of the Rover was covered with dresses and hat boxes, leaving no room for Grace, her daughter, and a chauffeur. The chauffeur even offered to make a second trip for the clothes, so then why did Grace insist she would drive anyway, especially given that the road back from Roc Agel was a notoriously treacherous mountain descent?

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