Did Grace Kelly Shed a Tear? The Monegasque Royal Wedding as a Disruptive Television Event

John Ellis

Abstract


Early television reveals the radical nature of the new medium as well as many of its affordances that were later rejected. The coverage of the Monegasque Royal Wedding of Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly exposes the differences between cinema newsreels and live TV, and how, even at a public event, TV could invade the personal space of its subjects. Like a detective, the author reconstructs how this historical event was covered by film and TV, and how that footage was later re-used. The montage of the footage in different contexts encourages the audience to suppose that Grace Kelly might have shed a tear during the wedding ceremony. While this question might seemtrivial, it is important for our understanding of celebrity in modern culture. The author’s answer to the question reveals the media historical meaning of both the media event, its coverage and the possible existence of that tear.

Keywords


television event; live television; royal wedding; Grace Kelly; Prince Rainier of Monaco; intimacy; archival footage; access

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