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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Josephine Baker, friend of Grace Kelly: the tender memories of Albert II of Monaco

Expelled from her castle, Josephine Baker could count on her friend Grace Kelly in 1969. On the occasion of the induction of the singer to the Pantheon this Tuesday, November 30, 2021, Prince Albert II revealed tender memories of the activist to Sud Ouest …

A woman like no other. This Tuesday, November 30, 2021, Josephine Baker will be inducted into the Pantheon by Emmanuel Macron. First black woman honored and great figure of the Resistance, the showgirl of the Roaring Twenties will however remain buried in Monaco. Carried away by a stroke in 1975, the anti-racist activist and friend of Grace Kelly, rests in the Monegasque marine cemetery. On November 28, 2021, Prince Albert II recalled this link that the artist has woven with the Rock, in the columns of Sud-Ouest. The sovereign prince remembers a “lady with great elegance, kindness and generosity. She sometimes came in the summer with her children to the palace.

Albert II recalls a woman: “gentle, very kind to everyone and especially extraordinary with her children. Very kind also with my sisters and me”, he confides. The brother of Stephanie of Monaco remembers in particular the arrival of the artist in Monaco in 1969. Expelled from her castle in the Perigord, the dancer was then welcomed by Princess Grace of Monaco: “When Josephine Baker was at her lowest, my mother made the gesture of friendship to invite her to Monaco, to find her a home and help her find the taste of doing shows,” reveals the husband of Charlene of Monaco. “Her end of career was then dazzling”.

Josephine Baker saved by Grace Kelly

Thanks to the precious help of her friend, Princess of Monaco, Josephine Baker moved into the Villa Maryvonne in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, in the Alpes-Maritimes: “My mother knew that she had suffered not only because of her financial problems, but also other ailments and discrimination when she was young,” reveals Prince Albert II. The two families would get together from time to time: “They would come to swim with us in the pool, play games and have snacks. It was always a very warm moment, in a very simple atmosphere, not at all formal,” recalls the son of Grace Kelly. The former American-Monegasque actress offered to perform at numerous engagements: “She had to provide for us,” one of her 12 children told Sud-Ouest. As a token of thanks, the orphans of Josephine Baker did not want to transfer the body of the artist to the Pantheon.

Photo credits: ANGELI-RINDOFF / BESTIMAGE

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