The Stunning Transformation Of Princess Stephanie Of Monaco

Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, or, as you may know her, Grace Kelly's daughter, has always been the subject of fascination. After all, she is the child of Hollywood royalty and the child of real royalty.

Born in 1965 in Monaco, Stéphanie grew up in the Palais de Monaco. Although she was raised surrounded by the traditions of Monaco's royal family, the princess has walked to the beat of her own drum. She experimented with different career paths, got into fashion design, and dated a string of well-known public figures.  

In more recent years, however, Stéphanie has settled into her role as a royal in Monaco, taking on a number of projects, such as fighting for animal rights. As of 2023, Stéphanie is a proud mother and grandmother who is carrying on her mother's legacy. From rebellious young princess to proud grandmother, here is the stunning transformation of Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

Stéphanie had a one-of-a-kind childhood

Princess Stéphanie of Monaco was guaranteed to have an extraordinary life from the moment she was born on February 1, 1965. The daughter of Hollywood icon Grace Kelly (known for starring in major films like "Rear Window," "High Society," and "To Catch a Thief") and Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Stéphanie was famous in both America and Monaco from the very beginning. 

The youngest of three, Stéphanie is the little sister to Princess Caroline of Monaco and Albert II, Prince of Monaco. And by all accounts, it sounds like Princess Grace always put her kids first. "She put a lot of herself into being a mother and that took over from any other aspect of her former life or the fact that she was a princess and that she had official duties," Albert told The Times. What's more, the royal kids were raised in a bilingual home. "My sister and brother and I grew up speaking both languages — French to our father and English to our mother," Stéphanie once told the Los Angeles Times. "But when we three kids are talking to each other, we use English."

Growing up with a royal for a father and an Oscar-winning legend for a mother certainly seems like a recipe for an unconventional childhood, but at least Stéphanie has always known what it is to be in the spotlight — and that has come in handy.

Stéphanie was rebellious from a young age

One word that is almost always used to describe Princess Stéphanie of Monaco is "rebellious" — and it's easy to see why. Even as a young girl, Stéphanie showed signs of resisting authority and tradition. "I was always the headstrong child in the family," she told the Los Angeles Times in 1986. "My mother and father called me a rebel at 2 years old. But they always accepted me as an individual." 

When Stéphanie got a little older, her rebellious nature really began to shine through, when she began getting tattoos, pursuing her own career, and making unexpected moves in her dating life. "I'm quite happy to perform my official duties," she once said, per Hello! magazine. "But on the other hand, I've always wanted to be independent and to have my own career." While some may call her a rebel, it sounds like Stéphanie has always just wanted to do her own thing — and there's nothing wrong with that.

Stéphanie grew up with a passion for fashion

Given how stylish her mother was, it shouldn't come as a surprise that fashion has always been a part of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco's life. "I've always been interested in clothes, from as early as I can remember," Stéphanie told the Los Angeles Times in 1986. "I used to love playing paper dolls with my mother — she would cut them out and I would dress the dolls."

As a child, Stéphanie's passion for fashion resulted in a few noteworthy outfits. According to The New York Times (via Vogue), she was spotted in ermine (a type of fur) at age of 4. Then, as a teenager, she was said to have passed on a royal event because she was set on wearing jeans. (Evidently, that didn't exactly satisfy the dress code.) As always, she was both fashionable and rebellious.

And those sartorial moves have been passed down to the next generation. Years later, Stéphanie's daughter, designer Grace Ducruet, chatted with Tatler about the influence her mother's unique, progressive sense of style had on her own life. "She always played a huge role in how I see fashion because I grew up seeing her dress up for galas and admiring photos of her in the Eighties," she said.

In 1982, Princess Stéphanie's mother died

Tragedy struck in 1982. When Princess Stéphanie was just 17, she and her mother, Princess Grace of Monaco, were involved in a car crash. While Stéphanie survived, Kelly was killed in the collision. As if the traumatic loss of a parent in a horrific accident wasn't enough, Stéphanie also had to face rumors about whether or not she caused the crash. "The only real witness to the accident saw that my mother was at the wheel, that I wasn't driving," Stéphanie told Hello! in 2002. "I've had enough of people saying that I killed her." She added, "Nobody can imagine how much I've suffered, and still suffer." 

Understandably, the scrutiny surrounding the accident became too much. In another interview with Paris Match, she begged the press to leave her and her family alone. "I just want to say, 'Stop! Let me raise my children in tranquillity, and go forward with my own life in serenity'" (via The Guardian).

Over time, as the pressure from the press died down, Stéphanie developed a new outlook on life. "I realised how lucky I was to have life," she said in the aforementioned Hello! interview. "I had my arms open to the future and I said to myself, 'This could be all over tomorrow.' Nobody has really tried to understand me or my behaviour, which just reflected my decision to enjoy life to the full."

Stéphanie made waves in the fashion industry as a model

Princess Stéphanie turned her obsession with fashion into a career. She began modeling, appearing on runways and at fashion shows and even launching her own clothing lines. She began by studying design at the Fashion Design School in Paris. However, as she told the Los Angeles Times, she dropped out one year later. "You lose time studying fashion in school," she said. She was then hired as an intern at Christian Dior. When she expressed an interest in modeling, her father, Prince Rainier III was said to be furious. However, she persevered and launched a swimwear line with Alix de la Comble, a friend from Dior, called Pool Position in 1986. 

Turns out, even princesses can struggle to find a swimsuit that checks all of the boxes. So, Stéphanie created a range of suits that suited her just right. "We tried to make the suits as sexy as possible but never vulgar," she said to UPI at the time.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, Stéphanie initially modeled the swimsuits herself and made up to $10,000 a day. Throughout the '80s, she even appeared in magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue. However, it wasn't long before Stéphanie decided she was done with that line of work. "I got sick of modeling and I was afraid of getting overexposed," she said.

The world of pop music called to the princess

After finding success as both a model and a fashion designer, Princess Stéphanie changed gears. In the mid-'80s, the royal kicked off her singing career. Her first single, "Ouragan," went to No. 1 in France. Unsurprisingly, the princess was thrilled with the song's success. "Who would think I could sing with this voice?" she joked to the Los Angeles Times.  "We worked on the record for four months, because it had to be extremely professional — I didn't want anyone to say I was getting by on my name." She went on to create a music video for the song. Later that year, Stéphanie released her first album, "Besoin," and in 1991, she released her followup album, "Stéphanie."

As Stéphanie once said in an interview, her mother, Grace Kelly, had predicted that she would be a performer. "When I was a little girl, my mother told my father that I would end up being an artist," she said (via Pop Music Deluxe). "I've always liked to sing and dance." In another interview, she added, "You know, it's for her that I sing."

Stéphanie dated a series of famous men

As a young woman, Princess Stéphanie of Monaco's dating life made headlines and sparked speculation. In the early '80s, she dated Paul Belmondo, a race car driver; a rumor later spread that she and her mother had been arguing about Belmondo before the fatal car crash. Stéphanie later dated Mario Jutard, a nightclub owner. According to the Los Angeles Times, she met Jutard when a photographer asked her to pose with him. With him, Stéphanie felt she could be "normal." "Our favorite thing to do together is just laying back in the sun and seeing our friends and being real settled, like normal people, and then have a barbecue at the house," she said. "We have our really close friends, and that's it. We don't see other people."

Stéphanie also dated actor Rob Lowe. Lowe had a crush on Stéphanie and was eventually introduced to the princess through friends. Lowe later divulged in his autobiography "Stories I Only Tell My Friends" that Stephanie had orchestrated the entire affair and even had her butler clear out her old boyfriend's belongings just before she brought Lowe over. Alas, their romance fizzled out rather fast. Stéphanie went on to date Anthony Delon, a French actor. She was also linked to some of her bodyguards as well as multiple circus performers.

In 1992, Stéphanie had her first child

Princess Stéphanie had two children with her first husband Daniel Ducruet: Louis Ducruet, born in 1992, and Pauline Grace Ducruet, born in 1994. Per People, Prince Rainier III told reporters in 1995 that his daughter had become "a happy and tranquil mother....Finally, this young man has put my daughter back on the right path." Stéphanie had another child, Camille Gottlieb, in 1998. Camille's father is former palace guard Jean Raymond Gottlieb.

Motherhood changed everything for Stéphanie. "Being a mother is the only true meaning in my life. It's everything," she once said, per Hello! magazine. By the sounds of things, Stéphanie is still very close with her children. In fact, she even spent lockdown with her daughters. As the family told Monaco Info, they spent their time doing yoga, drawing, and going on walks. They also had a little tradition — according to the Daily Mail, every night, they chanted the hymn of Monaco on their balcony in honor of the country's healthcare workers.

She's had two short-lived marriages

Princess Stéphanie of Monaco has married twice. First, she tied the knot with her ex-bodyguard Daniel Ducruet in 1995; the pair already had two children together at the time of their nuptials. However, their relationship quickly fell apart in the wake of a cheating scandal. Ducruet was photographed cheating on Stéphanie with another woman, and the tabloids pounced on the images. After the news of her husband's infidelity broke, Stéphanie reportedly moved out of her family home, per The Irish Times. Their divorce was finalized in 1996.

Shortly after the birth of her third child, Camille Gottlieb, Stéphanie dated Franco Knie, an elephant trainer. For a year, she and her three children lived with Knie at the circus. "She just went off and joined the circus, with her kids," royal commentator Brittani Barger said to the Express. Just one year after that relationship fell apart, Stéphanie married for a second time. In 2003, she tied the knot with Adans Lopez Peres, an acrobat from Portugal. "It happened in a village near Geneva," said a spokesperson. "It was a private ceremony and neither family was present." The pair divorced less than a year later.

Stéphanie is a devoted advocate for AIDS issues

Over the years, Princess Stéphanie has taken on a few causes. One of her greatest efforts has been to campaign for AIDS patients. In 2004, she launched the charity Fight Aids Monaco, an organization that aims to help those affected by the disease. "I join all those who are fighting against HIV in their own lives, I encourage everyone to get tested, to protect themselves and I thank everyone who devotes their time, their money to the mobilization against AIDS," reads Stéphanie's statement on the organization's website.

For years, Stéphanie has been attending events and fundraisers as part of her work for Fight AIDS Monaco. In 2021, for instance, she attended a tribute for World AIDS Day at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, where eight commemorative quilts were unveiled. "It is always a very emotional moment, hearing this long list of names of people who have died from HIV... It's the story of HIV too: discrimination, stigma," the princess said to Monaco Info (via Monaco Tribune). "The quilts are made to replace a gravestone or a shroud. So as not to forget people just because they died of HIV. ... It also helps remind us, especially at the moment, that HIV is still around and that we must still continue to fight, and fight against inequalities."

Circus animal rights are important to the princess

In addition to her work with AIDS organizations, Princess Stéphanie is also passionate about animal rights. In fact, during her time in the circus, she worked closely with animal trainers. She has since been named the Honorary President of the Federation Mondiale du Cirque in Monaco.

Stéphanie doesn't support the release of all circus animals. When a new bill was introduced in Monaco in 2021 that proposed outlawing circus animals altogether, she explained her position. "Many people believe the animals have been taken out of the wild," she told Monaco-Matin in 2021 (via Monaco Tribune). "Not at all, that was outlawed in 1950. They are born and raised in the circuses, bottle-fed, loved, cared for ... Why punish people who do their job well, and for whom it's the only job they know?" However, Stéphanie went on to address why it's important that domesticated animals are treated well. "An animal is like a child, it needs to be given an education," she said. "And treated like a living being." Expressing her concern with the trend of designer pets, she added, "It's not an iPhone!"

Stéphanie released a perfume in 2021

Back in 1989, Princess Stéphanie released her first perfume, named simply Stephanie. In 1991, she released L'Insaisissable, which means "elusive" in English. In 2021, she returned to the perfume industry, releasing her Princesse de Coeur ("Princess of Hearts") scent. As Hola! reported, the perfume was developed with Laurent Mazzone Parfum as part of a campaign for her AIDS organization, Fight AIDS Monaco.

The perfume can be found online for sale at £66 (or around $85). According to the listing, the perfume "is one of those rich, deep scents that wraps you in elegance and softness." The product description continues, "A perfume with a generous soul, in the image of the extraordinary woman who inspired it, S.A.S. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco." Smells like queen spirit. 

In 2023, Stéphanie became a grandmother

Princess Stéphanie became a grandmother for the first time in 2023 when her eldest child, Louis Ducruet, had his firstborn, Victoire, with his wife Marie Chevallier. The news was officially announced by Stéphanie's brother, Prince Albert II, who said, "My nephew Louis Ducruet and his wife Marie have the joy of being parents of a little girl." In his own announcement, Louis confirmed his uncle's statement. "I've been waiting for it for a very, very long time, it's true," said Louis to Gala Magazine (via Monaco Life). "In fact, I've wanted to be a dad since I was 26."

As Louis explained to Point do Vue in 2020, his mother was apparently beyond ready for her son and daughter-in-law to expand their family. "Right now we're under a bit of pressure. From our mothers, but also from my grandmother," he said (via Hola!). Although Stéphanie has yet to make any announcements about the birth of her granddaughter, based on how much she loves motherhood, it feels safe to assume she already loves being a grandmother, too.