In a rare interview with French magazine Point de Vue, Princess Stephanie of Monaco opened up about life after the tragic car accident that killed her mother Princess Grace of Monaco in 1982.
"After I got over my anger, got past the sense of injustice that was inside me, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I said, 'Wait! Logically, you should have died too,'" she explained of surviving the car crash. "'If I was kept alive it was for a reason. You have a place in this world. You have to find it.'"
The 50-year-old princess admits she found her place with the help of her two Asian rescue elephants Baby and Nepal. "When I tell you that Baby and Nepal arrived at the right moment in my life," she shared. "I firmly believe it."
Baby, 42 and Nepal, 43, were saved by Stephanie after they were condemned to be euthanized by the zoo in Lyon, France after possibly being exposed to tuberculosis. The elephants were saved by the princess and are now currently residing at the Fontbonne Reserve in France, a location that is 15 minutes away from Monaco.
And even elephants need a caring mother figure. "I stayed with them every day," the royal continued. "Watching, slowly began to recognize signs which showed that a true trust, mutual respect, was settling in between us. This requires a lot of patience."
As her own three children, Louis Ducrue, 22, Pauline Ducruet, 21, and Camille Marie Kelly Gottlieb, 17, got older, she leaned on the companionship of Baby and Nepal. She stated: "Every mother in the world knows this feeling one day... of emptiness, a time comes where you feel a little less useful because you're no longer running left and right. Life no longer has the same rhythm."
Instead, her life is in a different groove. "I'm no longer the same. Everyone said this story was doomed to fail, and I'm terribly proud of having saved these elephants," Stephanie, who also is a part of Fight AIDS Monaco, mentioned. "But through it, I felt I was showing my children that we should not be afraid to fight, that the important thing is to always believe in what is fair."
The head of the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo also has learned life lessons by caring for the elephants and also her brother Prince Albert's land. "There's a peace here, a contagious serenity," she said. "Since I've been spending my days here, everything seems easier to manage."