Astrology Book Reviews Back to Book Reviews Home Page



Book Title:

True Grace: The Life and Times of an American Princess by Wendy Leigh Date Published: 2007 review by John Townley



True Grace by Wendy Leigh

Celebrities aren’t only in the news during their lifetimes. Some of them — like Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Lady Di — keep being reinvented in the public imagination as new biographies or juicy bits of unrevealed information surface long after their passing.

Such is the case with the fairy-tale Hollywood-goddess-turned-princess Grace Kelly, whose cometary superstar career from High Noon (1952) to High Society (1956) morphed into a 26-year reign as Princess of Monaco until her tragic death in an auto accident in 1982. Widely-viewed as a wildly-desirable but unapproachable ice queen, but with smoldering rumors to the contrary, she has been the subject of several biographies, but none as thorough and revelatory as this season’s True Grace: The Life and Times of an American Princess by noted celebrity biographer Wendy Leigh. Leigh’s exhaustive research and 100+ new interviews and undiscovered resources have revealed much of previous speculation about the princess’s life and love to be true, and more. Some of it is fascinating (her later romances, after her marriage), some disturbing (her personal betrayal of a close friend). Throughout, the writing is clear, articulate, and witty where it needs to be without overwhelming the story it is trying to tell — a model in both approach and execution for an historical biography.

But what makes this of particular astrological interest is that in keeping with Grace Kelly’s own notable psychic ability and her penchant for consulting experts in the field, her biographer chose to include this writer’s own, retrospective horoscope of Princess Grace at the end. Below is the portrait of the celebrity princess, as originally given to the author, including a couple of wrap-up paragraphs not included in the book, plus her birthchart, her death chart, and her progressions at the time of the book’s release:

begin text by John Townley, pp 247-248:

Here is a person totally gifted by birth with an innate sense of feeling — a grand water trine of Sun and Mars with Moon and Pluto, whose watchwords are character, work, emotion, and faith — through which she instinctively intuits what goes on in the hearts of others, the essence of a performer who must  play and actually become the part of another. Plus, with Mercury rising, intelligence and clarity are a natural, a person who is in control of her thoughts and knows what to say even when she doesn’t.

With quadruple-Scorpio Sun and Ascendant together with Mars and Mercury, control, reticence, and withholding are also built-in, which gives her a sense of external propriety second to none, whatever may be going on underneath. Jupiter conjunct the Vertex means destiny awaits where display, ambition, and the latest fashion are determiners of what must be. It’s big-time or bust. The positions of the Moon’s nodes, especially with Chiron, indicate that partnerships are critical to her most important life moves, even though they wound her in the process.

Oddly enough, the inspiration — the fire positions in the chart — are crusty Saturn and Uranus, which indicate that what truly moves her is traditional, and yet unusual. Undiscovered history and older persons with an unpredictable twist are what really connect her to her inner spirit. A wide but applying square of Moon to Saturn makes her initially dislike and even fear the demanding and insistent side of that world, especially her parents and upbringing, but once she gets over it, it actually becomes a lifelong motivation and rich source of inner support and understanding.

Sadly, her Venus — planet of desire, needs, and inner satisfaction — is in her hidden 12th house of trouble and sometimes disaster. What people think she wants, or those they think she loves, are not in fact at all as they seem — and her true heart’s desire can bring her hidden and uninvited trouble, providing learning from experience but perhaps not the intended reward. Her composite charts with Frank Sinatra and David Niven — two often speculated-upon relationships — both bear the mark of Mars and Saturn, the banked fires of friendship based on shared and enduring energy, but perhaps not indulgent passion. Her chart with her husband Prince Ranier is both loving and enthusiastically royal, but with hints of obligatory distance as befits such a public though private relationship. It may be safest to say that she ultimately got what she wanted but may not have been entirely pleased by it, and she kept it to herself. Watch out what you ask for, even when it’s handed you on a silver spoon…and whatever comes, stoop not to complain…

As an astrological type, she is one of those few who are from birth both talented and privileged, have endless energy, and although they do not have to struggle as much for what they achieve compared to others in the same field, still garner amazing and almost universal admiration. The Kennedy clan comes to mind. The result is often early success, later overtaken by the backwaters of missed possibilities in the midst of glory — the classic development pattern for this kind of horoscope. In this case, it was a person who folded her hand early and collected her winnings, perhaps in fear of unknown hidden odds against her (which were, indeed, lurking in the wings), perhaps to hide and preserve her too-well-known remaining joys (which she did well). She deftly abandoned a world audience screaming for more, though dangerously ready to crucify her at a whim, and quietly wrapped herself in a personally-acquired nation, like a protective, billion-dollar mink coat. It was a strategic retirement which fellow Scorpio-rising Jackie O, born the same year, could only mimic… 

An early death hides from us what might have eventually come of this beautiful, carefully conceived and consistently concocted gamble. But it was a gamble most would envy, as they envied her fairy-tale blaze across the sky — she was born wealthy, aspired to and became a nearly overnight international film star, met and married a prince, and lived happily ever after, ending with a sudden, unanticipated, and effortless exit while still in the flower of beauty. Any astrologer looking at a chart cast for the moment she left this earth, unless first told the nature of the event, might have described it as a major career move. Maybe it was. The planets make many promises in life, but they seldom seem to deliver better than this.


From TRUE GRACE by Wendy Leigh, Copyright © 2007 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.