John B. Kelly also left behind a sporting legacy. Starting in 1946, after he helped found the Atlantic City Race Track, the zenith of his social season was a pilgrimage, taken with a dozen-and-a-half carefully selected companions, to the Kentucky Derby for the weekend. "After John B. Kelly died, Uncle Jack upheld the tradition, and after he died, in 1985, I took charge of sustaining the custom," Le Vine says. Prince Rainier, Albert's father, used to belong to the entourage, and for the last nine years Albert has been a participant in this adventure.
There's something else that John B. Kelly left behind, something Prince Albert says is his most cherished possession. Back in his office the prince slowly opens a small velvet-covered box. It contains a gold ring, ornate in its etching. "This was my grandfather's Olympic ring, from the 1920 Games in Antwerp," Prince Albert explains. "My mother gave it to me."
Of course there is a story attached to the ring. John B. Kelly, a Philadelphia bricklayer, traveled to Henley in 1920 to participate in the ultimate individual rowing event, the Diamond Sculls, only to be denied a spot in the competition. The heir to the throne of the British Empire, Prince Edward, determined that because Kelly worked with his hands, he should be deemed a professional and not allowed to participate. Later that summer Kelly defeated the Diamonds Sculls champion, Jack Beresford, in a race for the Olympic gold medal by a margin that rowers call "a horizon job." In an act of retribution, Kelly sent the green cap that he had worn in the Olympic races to the royalty that had excluded him, along with a letter saying that his son, Jack Jr., would someday prevail in the Henley race from which he was excluded. In 1948 Jack Jr. made good on that pledge. So it is a natural consequence that Prince Albert's deepest enthusiasms are inclined toward the perspiring arts.
Another love of the prince's is rock and roll music, so we must ask: If Prince Albert were forced to exist in a world without sports or one without music, which world would he choose? He ponders the question for perhaps half a minute and says, "If I chose the world that included sports, perhaps I could then create my own music. Of course, you could do that the other way around as well."
When you are the man who has everything, solutions like that come easy.
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