Prince Albert of Monaco Says Mom Princess Grace 'Still Captures People's Imagination' 4 Decades After Her Death

American Oscar winner Grace Kelly became Princess Grace when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco — but she was only 52 when she died in 1982

<p>George Rose/Getty Images</p> Princess Grace of Monaco in 1978

George Rose/Getty Images

Princess Grace of Monaco in 1978

It's been 41 years since Princess Grace of Monaco died — something that's hard for her son, Prince Albert, to believe.

The American actress and Oscar winner (known as Grace Kelly before her 1956 marriage to Prince Rainier) was just 52 when she died in a car crash after suffering a stroke.

"It doesn't seem like 40 years," Prince Albert, 65, exclusively told PEOPLE last year. "Many times during a day, a week, not only do I find myself thinking of her, but numbers of people still recall her to me. They remember her and that's a great tribute to her and who she was — to what an exceptional human being she was."

"Forty years on, she still captures people's imagination," he added. "She managed to capture the imagination and attention of several younger generations and not many have done that. It's an incredible gift that she had."

<p>Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images</p> Grace Kelly on the set of 'Green Fire'

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Grace Kelly on the set of 'Green Fire'

Related: Hollywood Royalty! Every Glamorous Photo of Princess Grace You Have to See

"She had charm and incredible allure about her. And It's not only her beauty or the fashion icon that she was that attracts people," Prince Albert continued. "It was her warmth, her heart, the humanity people saw in her that they remember."

Prince Albert said that if he could speak with her, "I would say that I wish she were here to see her grandchildren and how great they are. They're great kids."

In addition to Prince Albert's two children with his wife Princess Charlotte, 8-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, Albert also has son Alexandre and daughter Jazmin from previous relationships.

Princess Grace would also be a grandmother to Princess Caroline and Princess Stéphanie's children. Caroline is a mother to Andrea Casiraghi, Charlotte Casiraghi Pierre Casiraghi and Princess Alexandra, while Stéphanie has three children: Louis Ducruet, Pauline Ducruet and Camille Gottlieb.

Bettmann Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco with their children
Bettmann Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco with their children

Having been raised in Philadelphia, Princess Grace brought some American traditions to the palace — including Thanksgiving.

When Grace arrived in Monaco, turkey was a rarity. While yams and pumpkins were available and the English had already begun a Christmas turkey tradition, turkeys didn't really hit the table until the '80s in France and Monaco.

Turkey farming was very much a small French cottage industry in Princess Grace's day, literally involving small cottages and intrigued farmers. To purchase one, you often found your way by word-of-mouth to one of the very few poultry shops that supplied the specialty, being certain to place your order by mid-October.

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Continuing the family holiday tradition, Prince Albert has introduced the holiday to his twins but admits his practice is "on and off." The American holiday (which falls in the week after Monaco's Nov. 19 National Day celebrations) sometimes gets shorted, he said, "because other commitments get in the way, sometimes travel schedules, and so we don't celebrate every year."

"We used to in my Mom's day of course," the royal said. "We either had a Thanksgiving lunch here at the palace or we would join the American Club over there on the Riviera or the Monaco/USA Association. They had Thanksgiving luncheons either at the Hotel de Paris or in another location and so we would participate in that."

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