Welcome to 'Lost in the Myths of History'

It often seems that many prominent people of the past are wronged by often-repeated descriptions, which in time are taken as truth. The same is also true of events, which are frequently presented in a particular way when there might be many alternative viewpoints. This blog is intended to present a different perspective on those who have often been lost in the myths of history.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Grace Kelly on Motherhood

Inspired by Christina's discussion of feminism, I wanted to post this article, published July 30, 1971 in Life magazine. Grace's remarks on motherhood highlight some aspects of her personality that are perhaps apt to be neglected in all the racy biographies and speculation on her private life. Her words ring even truer today than they did 40 years ago.
On a visit to Chicago last month, Princess Grace of Monaco, mother of three, came out firmly for motherhood- and against quite a few other things. Appearing at a convention of La Leche League, a women's group organized to encourage breast-feeding, she urged other mothers to take up the practice, to be "happy in their role and aware of its importance." She breast-fed each of her children for two months, starting with Caroline, born in 1957. "I couldn't think of having a baby without feeding her myself," she said.
The princess also advised breast-feeding as a means to help "combat the current wave of public indecency. Nothing is sacred anymore," she said, "anything goes. Watch some of the commercials on television or listen to some of the songs. Everything is being debased, made cheap. But in the family, if a mother nurses her baby, the other children can see the wholesomeness of sex, the naturalness of it. And that helps them prepare for what they'll see outside the home."
A Roman Catholic, she is firmly against abortion-"any kind, legal or illegal." She fended off questions on women's liberation, but had little good to say about some of the movement's goals-such as day-care centers. "It's a pity," she said, "There seems to be a great tendency to get rid of children, even among mothers who don't work."
The princess, who presumably does not have any baby-sitter problems of her own, is opposed to mothers sharing the child-rearing chores, even with fathers. "Why should they help?" she asks. "It's against nature. With animals you don't see the male caring for the offspring. It's a woman's prerogative and duty, and a privilege." This feminine uniqueness extends to the delivery room. In her own case, the princess asked Prince Rainier not to attend. "I didn't want him there," she said. "I had to concentrate on the business at hand."


Val said...

Great information on Princess Grace, Matterhorn! I especially love the photo you've posted. Thanks for sharing :-)

Christina said...

What an interesting article and what a lovely mother! I am not sure that I agree about parents not sharing childrearing chores - and the males of many species of animals (eagles, guinea pigs, penguins for example) do participate actively in rearing their young - and, of course, in some ways times have changed for the better since the 1950s but the message about the dignity of motherhood is very lovely.
Regarding nursing the children herself, Princess Alice comes immediately to mind - shocking her mother, Queen Victoria to the extent that the Queen named a cow in the royal dairy, 'Alice'. Queen Victoria didn't really understand 'maternal' until she became a grandmother!!
Thank you for the interesting article!

Matterhorn said...

Thank you, Val and Christina, for the kind words and the additional reflections!

Val said...

Christina - I quite agree with you about what you've said! It's a beautiful thing to have the father actively involved in the lives of their children. Many male birds (cockatiels included!) will sit on the eggs, feed the mom and share in raising activities - some also mate for life. That being said, I think Princess Grace's comments were very spot on for her generation. There is something so beautiful about that picture of her and her children too :-)

Yes - I thought the same thing about Princess Alice nursing her own children (of course, Alix did the same) and QV's reaction to it! She really had a different attitude towards her grand-children though....a change for the better, I think!