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Deep Dive into History: The Death of Grace Kelly

Tuesday, Sep 14 2021 by

Grace Kelly was a beautiful, famous and successful movie star who seemed to turn a fairy tale into real life. She met a charming, handsome prince and fell in love. Soon, she was married in the most-watched ceremony in the world, and followed with attention and admiration for the rest of her life.

Her life, however, did not end happily ever after. On September 14, 1982, she passed away at 52, after being in a car crash the day before. It was a sad, early end to a beautiful life. On the anniversary of her death, let’s look back on her life and legacy.

Childhood Home, Philadelphia, PA

Grace was born in Philadelphia, and raised in an affluent, important family. Her dad was a Olympic athlete-turned construction company owner and local politician. The 6,000 square foot family home was bought by her son in 2016.

Prince Albert II paid about $755,000 for the home, and restored it to its original splendor. The home is now used for local business for the Princess Grace Foundation, and other programs run by the royal family.

Grace Kelly's Childhood Home (Birds Eye)
Grace Kelly's Childhood Home

Intercontinental Carlton Hotel, Cannes, FR

Grace was a famous Hollywood actress, and favorite of director Alfred Hitchcock. In 1955, she filmed To Catch a Thief on location in the French Riviera. Some filming took place at the famous Intercontinental Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France.

While she was in staying at the Carlton Hotel during the  the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, she participated in a photo shoot with Prince Rainier III, the ruler of Monaco, a “microstate” next to France, to promote the festival.

Carlton Hotel (Birds Eye)
Carlton Hotel

Prince’s Palace, Monaco

Grace met Prince Rainier on May 6 at the Prince’s Palace, the official residence of the sovereign of Monaco. Portions of the castle date back to 1191, when it was built as a fortress on a high point jutting out from Monaco.

Over the centuries, the palace has been enhanced and renovated, but it has always maintained its fortress structure. Because Monaco is a small but coveted principality, it has been critical to protect the royal family and center of power for the principality.

Also, because the city-state is so small (smaller than Central Park in New York City!), there was never enough room for a second palace.

This palace was where Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier were publicly married, in one of the most-watched events in television history.

Prince's Palace of Monaco (StreetView)
Prince's Palace of Monaco

Monte Carlo, Monaco

When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III, she became the Princess of Monaco. Monaco, a tiny strip of land sandwiched between France and the Mediterranean Sea, is the second-smallest sovereign state in the world, the most-densely populated, and one of the wealthiest in the world.

A large reason Monaco is so wealthy is because of Monte Carlo, a district within the principality, that has attracted high-stakes gambling, international investment as a tax haven, and wealthy tourists. The district is famous for its luxurious vice, and is featured in many films, like James Bond, and more.

Monte Carlo (Google Maps)
Monte Carlo

Monaco Grand Prix

Adding to the allure of Monaco is the annual Monaco Grand Prix, a Formula One race that takes place every year in early summer. It is one of the most important and most well-regarded events in racing.

Drivers race through the tight, winding streets of Monte Carlo and Monaco, up and down the hilly streets. It even includes a tunnel, making it more challenging than other races because of the change in light while navigating a serpentine course.

Monaco F1 Grand Prix Pit Lane (Birds Eye)
Monaco F1 Grand Prix Pit Lane

Villa l’Aiglon, France

Grace Kelly was very involved in promoting the development of Monaco, as well as raising three children to be leaders of Monaco and influential citizens. Her personal property included a villa in France, close to Monaco, where she could go as a retreat when needed.

The Villa, known as Villa l’Aiglon, was for a time home to Josephine Baker, the American-French dancer, in her later years. Grace was a friend of Josephine, and supported her personally and professionally.

Grace Kelly's Villa (Google Maps)
Grace Kelly's Villa

Accident Site, France

On September 13, 1982, Princess Grace was returning with her daughter Stephanie to Monaco from a retreat at a family estate in France. While driving on the winding, narrow road, Grace suffered a stroke and caused a car crash. While Stephanie sustained several significant injuries, Grace was gravely injured. She was pronounced dead the next evening, at age 52.

Princess Grace of Monaco accident site (Birds Eye)
Princess Grace of Monaco accident site

Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate, Monaco

On September 18, Princess Grace was laid to rest alongside other Grimaldis in the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate, which is sometimes called Saint Nicholas Cathedral. Many heads of state and celebrities attended her funeral, including Cary Grant, Princess Diana, Nancy Reagan, and others. When he passed in 2005, her husband Prince Rainier III was laid to rest by her side.

Monaco Cathedral (StreetView)
Monaco Cathedral

Memorial Rose Garden, Monaco

In 1984, Prince Rainier officially opened a memorial rose garden in her memory. The garden is part of a community park, and is open to the public daily. A special rose created in her memory grows at the park, along with 4,000 other rose bushes, and a statue of the Princess.

Roseraie Princesse Grace (Birds Eye)
Roseraie Princesse Grace

While her life ended too soon, her memory has endured, both through her memorable film legacy, and through her role as a kind, charitable leader of a small but influential principality. Thirty nine years after her death, she is as loved as ever, and her memory will endure.


The US Open Tennis Championship

Wednesday, Sep 8 2021 by

The US Open Tennis Championship has been in full swing for nearly two weeks now, and it will wrap up later this week.

As these amazing athletes compete on the court for the last of the annual Grand Slams, let’s take a look at the venues, people, and history involved in one of tennis’s greatest, and most historical, events.

USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, NY

The fourth, and final, Grand Slam, is held annually at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York. There are a total of 22 courts among three stadiums, which are among the largest-capacity in the world. The Arthur Ashe Stadium is the largest tennis stadium in the world, and even features a retractable roof.

The tennis center is named after famed tennis champion and female tennis advocate Billie Jean King. She has long been considered one of the best female tennis athletes of all time.

USTA National Tennis Center (Google Maps)
USTA National Tennis Center

International Tennis Hall of Fame, RI

In 1881, the first national tennis competition in the United States was held at the Newport Casino in Rhode Island. Contrary to what the name implies, the facility was designed as an athletic center for well-to-do residents, rather than a gambling facility.

The nation-wide tennis event was held here until 1914, when the event moved elsewhere. In 1954, the building was turned into the Tennis Hall of Fame. The hall includes 252 inducted members, from 23 countries.

There is a museum dedicated to the game of tennis, retelling the history of tennis from its medieval, royal starts, to today, as well as memorabilia and other interesting exhibits. Fitting in with the modern age, these exhibits are accessible virtually, as well as in person.

International Tennis Hall of Fame (Google Maps)
International Tennis Hall of Fame

Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, AU

The professional tennis season has started with the Australian Open in January or February nearly every year since 1905. The event has been hosted in several Australian cities, and even in New Zealand, but since 1972, it’s been hosted in Melbourne.

It boasts the highest attendance of the four grand slams, with more than 800,000 attending in 2020, and has been held at the Melbourne Park since 1988. The Rod Laver Arena is the largest of the courts, named after a three-time Australian Open winner and world-renowned player. The stadium was the first tennis stadium to have a retractable roof, for indoor play in hot or wet conditions.

Rod Laver Arena (Birds Eye)
Rod Laver Arena

Roland Garros, Paris, FR

The French Open, officially called “Roland-Garros” after famed French aviator Roland Garros, is held in May each year. Roland-Garros is played at the eponymous stadium Rolland-Garros in Paris. The tournament is known as the most difficult of the Grand Slams because it is played on clay, which makes the game more challenging, and because it requires more rounds to the championship, and other reasons.

The now-unique clay court was once a common feature of tennis courts. The courts at Roland-Garros are actually limestone covered with a thin, hard-packed layer of crushed brick, which mimics the natural clay court well without the drawbacks of the old style. The red courts are a hallmark of the tournament, and are important to the identity of the meet.

Roland Garros (Google Maps)
Roland Garros

Wimbedon, London, GB

On the heels of the French Open comes Wimbeldon, the oldest and most prestigious tennis championship. Officially called the “Championships, Wimbledon”, the event is unique because it is the only one of the Grand Slams still played on grass.

The event takes place in late June and early July, and is held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, in Wimbledon, an area of London. Players must follow a strict all-white dress code, and spectators often dress up. The event has the added prestige of royal attendants, as many members of the British royal family enjoy watching the sport. Prince William and his wife Kate love to attend the event.

The stadium installed retractable roofs in 2009, to allow athletes to compete in inclimate weather, which is a great feature considering the summer weather in England can be rainy.

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (Google Maps)
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club

Tennis has a long, and formal history. Knowing a little more about where it came from, and where the athletes compete these days, makes the fast-paced, aggressive sport even more exciting and engaging. Game, Set, Match!


Salma's Having a Birthday

Thursday, Sep 2 2021 by

Happy Birthday, Salma! Today, we celebrate one of Hollywood’s most glamorous, classic, and enduring actresses on her birthday. Let’s take a look at Salma’s history, and how she went from a telenovela actress to one of the world’s glamor power couples.

Salma was born 55 years ago today in Mexico. She moved to the United States to further her acting career as a young woman. Her talent was undeniable, and she quickly became a star. In 2009, she married François-Henri Pinault, one of the richest men in the world. The couple have one daughter, and appear as happy and in love as ever.

Hollywood Hills Home, Los Angeles, CA

Salma bought one of her first properties in the Hollywood Hills in 1996 for around $500,000. The 4-bed, 3-bath bungalow is gorgeous, with all the upgrades and amenities any up and coming movie star could want.

Even after she moved on to bigger and better homes, Salma has held onto the property. Currently, it rents for around $10,000/month. With a pool, privacy, amazing views, and high-end furnishings, ten grand a month is probably steal for this piece of LA real estate.

Salma Hayek's House (Birds Eye)
Salma Hayek's House

Bel Air Mansion, Los Angeles, CA

Salma bought this gorgeous, 8,000 square foot mansion in tony Bel Air right before she became engaged to her husband. She bought the estate from Kelsey Grammer and his then-wife Camille in 2007, for more than $20 million.

The 1-acre estate was a main residence for the family until January 2020, when they moved out in order to demolish the home and rebuilt a massive 17,500 square foot estate! When you’re one of the richest and most famous couples in the world, you can get away with crazy things!

Salma Hayek's House (Google Maps)
Salma Hayek's House

Rental Mansion, London, UK

Salma and her family have been living in London since 2017. They’ve been renting a mansion formerly rented by Justin Bieber. It’s unclear whether they’ve privately bought the property, or prefer to rent, but it doesn’t appear the family have moved since settling into the North London estate.

It has 17 bedrooms, an indoor pool, spa, wine cellar, movie theater, massive garage, gorgeous bedrooms, and ornate wood stylings. The residence is perfect for the private family, as it has a large brick wall and iron gate to keep the family’s activities to themselves.

Justin Bieber's London Rental House (StreetView)
Justin Bieber's London Rental House

The Blue House, Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City, MX

Salma gained attention in Hollywood for her beauty and persona, but her portrayal of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo brought her critical acclaim as well. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her work in the film “Frida”.

Frida Kahlo is one of Mexico’s most renowned artists. Her home in Mexico City, the Blue House, has been turned into a museum. Visitors are given an intimate look at the artist’s life and work, and see how each impacted the other. The garden is a highlight of the museum, as well as an exhibition on the beautiful and memorable dresses Frida was known to wear.

La Casa Azul. Museo Frida Kahlo (StreetView)
La Casa Azul. Museo Frida Kahlo

La Fenice Opera House, Venice, IT

Salma and François-Henri were married in a small ceremony in Paris on Valentine’s Day 2009, but in April that year, the couple had an all-out affair in Venice, Italy.

They were married at La Fenice Opera House, a stunning, historic, theater in the heart of Venice, one of the most romantic cities in the world. The gold theater was enhanced by white roses, glass, and more gold decor for the wedding. Guests included Bono, Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, and even former French President Jacques Chirac!

The opera house has played an important role in music, including commissioning pieces by Verdi, premiering works by Rossini, Verdi, and more. Even today, musicians leap at the chance to perform here. Talented  performers include Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, and many more.

Teatro La Fenice (StreetView)
Teatro La Fenice

Salma is more than a celebrity; she’s an icon. Looking back over her life, it’s clear her determination carried her to where she is today. As she reflects on another year on the planet, at the peak of her life, it’s no doubt she’s going to celebrate life, and love, to the fullest. Happy Birthday, Salma!


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