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Did you know that H.S.H. Princess Grace personally helped Josephine Baker?

Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker / Photo credit: SBM

Two Americans who have gained worldwide fame had a strong friendship. In the mid-1960s, when Josephine Baker lost her entire fortune, the Princess of Monaco personally came to her help, offering her a home for life.

The Principality cares for its celebrity visitors. Josephine Baker was one such recipient, who was a huge star and possibly the world’s first Afro-American celebrity.

Grace Kelly and Josephine had a strong friendship, which began in 1951 when the future princess of Monaco bore the title of a rising star of Hollywood.

The meeting of Josephine and Grace took place in the glamourous Stork Club restaurant in New York. Josephine Baker returned to the States, where the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) named her the Woman of the Year.

Ironically, Josephine’s visit to New York was marred by an incident: the Stork Club staff refused service to the famous dancer. Being a witness to the outrageous scene, Grace Kelly unceremoniously left the restaurant with the black star and never returned there.

Even after Grace married Prince Rainier III, becoming the princess of Monaco, their relationship remained the same.

After great success Josephine, she had greater bad-luck and racial issues and by the mid-1960s, she had used up her entire fortune. 

A period of dark days overwhelmed her and her children when Brigitte Bardot and Princess Grace personally came to her help.

Bardot helped her financially and then Princess Grace invited her to Monaco. She helped her with funds, raised at galas held in the Principality, offering her a home for life.

Josephine’s Parisian concert dedicated to the 50th anniversary of her career was financed by the Prince of Monaco, Jackie Onassis and Princess Grace.

Josephine died a few days after her last concert from a brain hemorrhage. After the ceremony in Paris, she was buried in the cemetery of Monaco. 

Princess Grace also attended the funeral of Josephine, who found her final resting peace in the Principality of Monaco.

Josephine Baker banana dress
Josephine Baker in her legendary Banana dress

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