"Vera Maxwell keeps a small painting done by Prince Rainier in the living room of her New York apartment. Three fat ladies walk toward a green house in the middle of the painting. On the other side of the house the same three ladies, nude, light as air, are flying on angel wings. The prince gave it to the designer as a souvenir of the two-week cure she took with Princess Grace and her sister at Neiman-Marcus's Greenhouse in Dallas, Texas.
"I think we both lost more inches than pounds-- I lost only four pounds," says Mrs. Maxwell. "I remember Fleur Cowles was there, and the first night Grace and I were so starved we ate the parsley off her plate. We still had hunger pains the second night, not realizing that you could call down and have skimmed milk sent up."
"You soon get used to it. We were on neither maintenance nor minimum diet; we had 1,000 calories per day, and the food-- what there was of it-- was marvelous. We had fish and meat only twice a week, but there were endless, beautiful souffles (made with broccoli or lobster or apricot and using one yolk to three egg whites)...
"The only thing we really didn't like was that we couldn't find a place to take a walk. Despite all the exercise, you long to get out for a quiet stroll. In Texas they've got nothing but roads with cars coming at you. Grace and I gave up--the closest we came to nature was getting stuck on the sandy 'soft shoulders' on the side of the road."
I cannot tell you how much I relished this story. Commemorative art work of Princess Grace's fat farm visit? In which she and friends are depicted as fat ladies? If you can find me that painting, I will marry you, even if you are not the prince of Monaco.
And that last image haunts me: the glamorous American princess, stranded beside a road in Texas, sustained only by a sliver of apricot souffle, unrecognized as traffic rushes past.