By Humphrey Carter
MAJORCA held a very special place in the hearts of both Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly - ironically their private yacht has made her way back to Palma.

Majorca was the first stop on their honeymoon Mediterranean cruise in May 1956 and the couple was later to return for the inauguration of the Hotel Son Vida.

The Prince and his Hollywood wife sailed into Palma just two days after their wedding on board Monaco's royal yacht Deo Juvante II and were looked after by the Consul for Monaco in Majorca, the Count of Ribas.

The Prince said at the time that they chose Majorca for the first port of call of their honeymoon because of his great fondness for the island.
During their stay in Palma they visited the nuns at Madre Alberta college where the Count of Ribas's children were studying and they took the nuns a great bouquet of flowers.

During their Majorcan honeymoon they sailed round to Formentor, in the north east of the island, and moored in the Bay. They went ashore to dine at the Hotel Formentor which organised a gala dance in their honour.

While there was always a photographer never too far away, the Prince and Princess of Monaco are said to have never objected to having their picture taken when at official events or in public places.

On May 2, the royal couple caused a major sensation at Palma bull ring when they attended a bull fight.
The whole place was decked out for the royal guests and, having heard that Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly were going to the bull fight, the rest of the spectators put their “Sunday Best” on for the grand occasion.

The Prince and Princess's relationship with the island continued for many years.

In 1961, the couple returned for the inauguration of the Son Vida Hotel which was also attended by Onassis and Maria Callas. The Prince and Princess's private yacht the STALCA has recently been put up for sale in Palma. Her British owner Brian Rutland bought the yacht as a “complete wreck” in 1999 and completely restored and refitted her over a period of 18 months on the hard in Portals. It needed 25'000 man hours to restore STALCA to her former glory.

Based in the Club de Mar, her owner regularly takes her out, but should a serious buyer be prepared to pay the right price, then Rutland would let her go. “We've maintained all her original features and she has a great air of class and nostalgia about her,” he told the Bulletin yesterday. “I've got old photos of the Prince, Kelly and the kids playing on board.”


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