Princess Grace of Monaco suffered multiple fractures and her...

MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Princess Grace of Monaco suffered multiple fractures and her 17-year-old daughter Stephanie was slightly injured Monday when a vintage car driven by the former American movie idol lost its brakes, plunged off a winding hillside and caught fire.

The two were rescued by a 62-year-old flower nursery owner who extinguished a fire in the motor, dragged Stephanie from the car and called emergency aid to rescue the 53-year-old Princess Grace -- trapped behind the driver's wheel.


A spokesman for the royal palace in Monaco said Grace, the former Grace Kelly of Philadelphia who gave up a brilliant career in Hollywood to marry the dashing Prince Ranier III in 1956, suffered a fractured right thighbone, a broken rib and a shattered collarbone.

The palace said the accident was caused by brake failure as the British-made car was trying to negotiate a sharp turn on a snaking mountain road between the town of La Turbie and the main road of the Cote D'Azur region.

Stephanie, the younger of the royal couple's two daughters, was slightly bruised in the accident but otherwise uninjured, the palace said.

Both were rushed to a hospital named after Grace, where they were reported in good condition. It was not clear how long they would be hospitalized.


The car, described by the palace as a vintage Rover 3500, plunged about 45 feet off the road and flipped several times down a tree-covered hillside before it landed in the flower garden of Sesto Lequio.

'The young girl (Stephanie) in the car was almost unconscious when I reached her,' Lequio told UPI by telephone from his home in Cap D'Ail. 'She said, 'You must notify my father, my father.'

'I said, 'I don't know who your father is.' Then she told me,' he said.

Lequio said he then extinguished a fire in the car's engine and helped Stephanie out of the car to his house, where he called Monaco emergency police. They arrived 10 minutes later.

Lequio said Princess Grace was trapped in the car, with blood across her head and face. She was removed by police through the back window of the car.

A hospital spokesman said Princess Grace was driving the car along the scenic route in the Maritime Alps on the way back to the family palace after a stay at their mountain retreat, Rocagel.

Prince Rainier, ruling monarch of the tiny coastal principality best known for its gambling casinos, was with his wife at the hospital.


The couple's other daughter, Princess Caroline, 25, was attending a film festival in Deauville, France, during the weekend but the palace spokesman said she was believed to have returned to be with her mother and sister.

The daughter of John Kelly, a bricklayer who became a millionaire and winner of Olympic gold medals in the sculls, met Rainier while she was making an Alfred Hitchcock film, 'To Catch A Thief,' with Cary Grant on the Riviera in 1954.

They were married in a short civil ceremony at the palace April 18, 1956, at which time she officially became Princess of Monaco. The next day, Rainier and Grace were again married in a elaborate three-hour ceremony at Monaco's Cathedral of St. Nicholas.

Princess Grace won the Academy Award for best actress for her 1954 role in 'The Country Girl.'

Despite many offers, Princess Grace has never returned to the movies.

'Why should she?' Gary Cooper once said. 'She's moved from an artificial stage to a real one.'

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