An evening of royalty and revelry capped one of Carnival's most anticipated social events, the ball of the Mystic Club.
The venerable club returned to Monaco for an evening to celebrate one of the most storied regal romances of all time — the marriage of Prince Rainier III and his American bride, Grace Kelly.
Reigning over the Mystic ball as Princess Grace was Mrs. Patrick Albert Talley Jr.
As the scene unfolded, the club reminded those in attendance of historical elements of the glittering gala.
"This evening, the Mystic Club will revisit a city-state that we visited seven years ago. That time we went to February of 1890 as guests of Prince Albert I of Monaco and his princess, the former Alice Heine of New Orleans — Monaco’s first American princess. Now we are moving forward to April 1956 to meet Prince Rainier III and his new consort, the former Grace Patricia Kelly of Philadelphia — Monaco’s second American princess."
The true tale of Hollywood romances and monarchal marriage recounted the whirlwind courtship and two marriage ceremonies (one civil and one lavish in the St. Nicholas Cathedral) of the Oscar-winning actress and the ruler of Monaco. A public celebration with 3,000 guests was also held.
But the Mystic merriment focused on the intimate affair in the evening following the grand reception and ceremonies.
"For Mystic’s jaunt ... there was an intimate formal gathering for the 600 guests who would be attending the church wedding.
"Royalty, aristocracy and socialites mingled with some of the world’s wealthiest people, along with a few of the biggest names Hollywood had to offer. Paris and Hollywood couturiers jostled to dress the fashionable women. Grace herself brought a wardrobe fit for a princess designed by Hollywood’s Helen Rose."
Taking the roles of the ladies in waiting to the queen were Mesdames Beau James Box Sr., as Princess Astrid of Norway; Albert Peyton Bush IV, as Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte of Luxembourg; John Jay Charpentier, as Princess Ileana of Romania; William Kethley Dossett, as Princess Margaret of Bourbon; William Christian Gambel Jr., as Princess Margaretha of Sweden; and Geoffrey Paul Mayar, as Princess Georgina of Liechtenstein.
Debutantes of the season presented to their majesties included Misses Grace Allen Gambel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gambel Jr.; Elizabeth Lynn Lunn, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William Wilburn Lunn; and Isabella "Bella" Rawson Mathes, daughter of Mr. Melvin William Mathes and Ms. Marion Hardie Mathes.
Her majesty, Sharon Parker Talley, is the mother of Sarah Ilene Talley, Patrick "Trey" Albert Talley III and Peyton Joseph Talley. A graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge, she received bachelor's and master's degrees from Louisiana State University in education. At LSU, she was a member of Pi Beta Phi and later became the president of Pi Beta Phi Alum Club in New Orleans.
She has taught at Holy Family School in Port Allen, Galvez Elementary in Ascension Parish and Chateau Estates Elementary and Vic Pitre Elementary in Jefferson Parish. After a brief retirement from teaching, the monarch returned to the classroom part-time at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, where her daughter attended and her husband later served as Board of Trustees president.
She is currently a resource teacher at St. George’s Episcopal School.
Her majesty also served as a board member of Holy Name of Jesus School. She is a sustaining member of the Junior League of New Orleans and past president of the league's Gardening Club and member of the Interior Decorating Club. She is also a member of Le Petit Salon and Sybarites.