Despite marked differences in the two women's trajectories, royal observers say Markle, like Kelly, could bring a welcome dash of modern flair to a royal family better known for hewing to tradition no matter the cost.
"Meghan Markle is the Grace Kelly of the iPhone generation," said Ana Romera, a monarchy specialist in Spain.
It was a photographer for French society magazine Paris Match who orchestrated Prince Rainier's first meeting with Kelly, muse of Alfred Hitchcock, during the Cannes film festival in 1955.
At 26 years old, Kelly was at the height of her career, having just won an Oscar for her role in "The Country Girl" alongside Bing Crosby.
Less than a year later she had married into royalty, but no one doubts that Rainier's union with one of the brightest stars of the silver screen put his domain on the map.
"Grace Kelly gave a spectacular boost to the image of the tiny principality. After the wedding tourists started coming in force, hoping to see the royal couple," said Bertrand Tessier, a French journalist who wrote a book on Kelly.
But the price of this success was the end of Kelly's dreams of continuing to act.