Princess Grace suffered a stroke while driving her car...

By JOHN MOODY   |   Sept. 16, 1982
share with facebook
share with twitter

MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Princess Grace suffered a stroke while driving her car along a mountain road with her 17-year-old daughter Stephanie who tried to stop the vehicle with the emergency brake, a doctor said today.

Dr. Jean Duplay, director of the neurological surgery department of the central hospital at Nice, said he discovered evidence that Grace suffered a 'brain hemorrhage' and his diagnosis was confirmed by the results of a brain scan performed on the princess Monday afternoon.

He was the first physician to examine the onetime movie star following the accident.

Stephanie told her father Prince Rainier she tried to pull the emergency brake of the car, but was unsuccessful, he said.

There have been unconfirmed reports that Stephanie was driving the car -- although she is one year too young to have a licence -- and that she suffered a lesion of the seventh cervical vertebra.

The palace insisted Grace was at the wheel.

'It was definitely Grace who was driving,' said Duplay, who examined both women within hours of the accident Monday morning.

Duplay's disclosure came hours after the royal palace revealed that Stephanie was more seriously injured than originally announced in the accident.

'There is something wrong with her neck,' a palace spokeswoman said, adding that Stephanie was still suffering from shock.

The palace insisted Grace was at the wheel.

'It was definitely Grace who was driving,' said Duplay, who examined both women within hours of the accident Monday morning.

Duplay's disclosure came hours after the royal palace revealed that Stephanie was more seriously injured than originally announced in the accident.

'There is something wrong with her neck,' a palace spokeswoman said, adding that Stephanie was still suffering from shock.

The palace originally said the teenage princess suffered only superficial bruises in the accident which stunned Monaco when it was announced Tuesday night Grace had died from a cerebral hemorrhage.

A royal spokeswoman said Grace, 52, the former American film actress Grace Kelly who gave up an Oscar-winning career in Hollywood to marry Prince Rainier III in 1956, will be buried Saturday after an official funeral.

It will not be a state ceremony, so many heads of state will not attend. But among the mourners will be President Reagan's wife, Nancy. She and Grace were friends from their acting days in Hollywood.

The Monte Carlo casino, which closed its doors along with most other entertainment facilities hours after the news of Grace's death was announced, reopened for business this morning. A doorman said it has not been decided whether the world-famous gaming house would temporarily shut again during the funeral.

Long lines of citizens of Monaco, known as Monegasques, filed past her dark wooden coffin Wednesday to pay their respects to the princess, as the circumstances of her death were clouded with contradictory statements.

Showing the same serene beauty in death that she typified during her storybook life, Princess Grace lay in state dressed in a high-necked white lace dress, holding a rosary and wearing her simple gold wedding band.

Her ebony coffin was watched over by a 6-man honor guard, dressed in dazzling white uniforms with black arm bands, as subjects of the principality -- who were used to greeting her in the streets -- saw Grace for the last time.

Palace spokeswoman Nadia Lacoste, after seeing Rainier, Princess Caroline and Prince Albert visit the chapel to view Grace's body, said: 'It hurts to look at them.'

Foreigners were barred from entering the chapel, situated in the pink stone Grimaldi family palace on a peak overlooking the blue waters of the Mediterranean.

However, King Baudouin of Belgium and his wife Fabiola paid their respects in the afternoon and Queen Sofia of Spain reportedly was considering a visit.

'Don't you understand? Our beautiful princess is gone,' one woman stricken with grief shouted as she tried to evade radio reporters.

Miss Lacoste dismissed speculation that Grace's daughter Princess Stephanie, 17, was driving the Rover 3500 when it failed to negotiate a hairpin turn and plunged down a tree covered hillside on Monday.

Thomas Domingo, a chauffeur familiar with the stretch of road just above Cap d'Ail near La Turbie where the accident occurred said Wednesday, 'Whoever was driving lost control of the car. Madame (Grace) was a very good driver.'

Domingo said he believes Stephanie was driving at the time of the accident.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories