fleur cowles

Of my countless photographs, I chose this favourite of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace because it personified their essential characters: the Princess’s great, dignified beauty and the Prince’s soft, proud style which we grew to know so well after countless years of affectionate friendship and visits made to us and them in England, Spain and Monaco.

—Fleur Cowles, 1996

Photo by Fleur Cowles.

Fleur [Cowles] stands before panels of exotic trees in terracotta urns painted by Prince Palovicini, commissioned by Fleur, 1954, Rome. Six of the panels act as shutters, five as wall hangings. The numerous frames canvases of Fleur’s work await to be sent to the Wildenstein Gallery in New York for an exhibition in November 2001.

—Brooke de Ocampo, 2002

Photo by Jonathan Becker.

Salvador Dalí stepping off the train in London after months of persuasion to launch the book he authorised me to write, The Case of Salvador Dalí, in the late 1950s. The launch was at The Planetarium and he actually demanded that the universe of the sky had to be arranged exactly as it was when he was born.

—Fleur Cowles, 1996

Cary Grant never missed a visit when he was anywhere in Europe. In this photograph in my study in London we are recounting the antics of the great Russian clown, Popoff, whom we watched with delight in Monaco at Prince Rainier’s annual Christmas Monte Carlo Circus. Following circus activities is one of the Prince’s private loves.

—Fleur Cowles, 1996


“Name ten flowers you would want to take with you if banished to a desert island - not just any island but one where any and every flower would grow, regardless of season or soil.”

“I chose ZUCCHINI so that I could eat the flower…

let the leaves grow over a trellis made from BAMBOO* 

where I would sit quietly in the shade and contemplate my beautiful ROSES and pure white IRIS.

Bees would make a hive in the fragrance of my APPLE tree and enjoy the LAVENDER and ROSEMARY to make their honey.

After running through my field of DAISIES, I would stretch out…sip a little rosemary tea and nibble on GLADIOLUS bulb (very rich in Vitamin C). I would be very kind to this much maligned flower whose sisters are bobbing up and down, precariously perched on the back decks of yachts in Monte Carlo Harbour, looking quite forlorn.

I would try to find a fresh water pond on the island for my WATER LILIES with the hope that their large leaves will attract frogs. Who knows?

One might turn into a handsome prince who would be decent enough to whisk me off this lonely island and take me back to civilization…

After all, I am really a city girl at heart!”

* “I hope you will accept it although I have never seen it flower.”

HSH Princess Grace of Monaco, 1979

In 1949, before Flair magazine was born, I went through printing plants and paper mills in Europe, where most of the finest hand-work was then being done. Here I am, in northern Italy, quietly studying paper samples in a fine paper plant (apparently of great interest to a friendly cat). I brought back to the U.S.A. some of the talented people I discovered on the voyage to creative Italian circles, including that then stateless genius, Count Federico Pallavacini.

—Fleur Cowles, 1975

Vivien Leigh and I at Look magazine when she was playing in Antony and Cleopatra in New York. We continued to see each other after I went to live in London as we were near-neighbours in our weekend homes in Sussex. This glamorous lady and I used to exchange recipes—he sardine soufflé is still a ‘must’.

—Fleur Cowles, 1996