Princess Margaret BANNED from returning to US British officials after debauched Hollywood visits – Daily Mail

Known as the ‘royal rebel,’ Princess Margaret was the world’s beloved bad girl who insisted on living life on her own terms. Unburdened by the monarchical responsibilities that kept her dutiful older sister, Queen Elizabeth II restrained – Princess Margaret flouted convention that roiled the royals and fascinated the public by her antics that seemed more often beatnik than lady-in-waiting and more louche than regal roost.

Princess Margaret (pictured in her black Rolls-Royce) during her first visit to Los Angeles in 1965. The trip became so defined by its hard-partying that British officials later banned her from returning in 1973

Princess Margaret (pictured in her black Rolls-Royce) during her first visit to Los Angeles in 1965. The trip became so defined by its hard-partying that British officials later banned her from returning in 1973

Princess Margaret (pictured in her black Rolls-Royce) during her first visit to Los Angeles in 1965. The trip became so defined by its hard-partying that British officials later banned her from returning in 1973

The glamorous but hard partying princess embedded herself among some of the greatest and most famous actors, writers, musicians, artists and eccentrics of her time. With a cigarette permanently fixed to one hand and a tumbler of Famous Grouse scotch in the other – Margaret danced, drank and dazzled her way through well-heeled bohemian circles.

Though for all Margaret’s admirers, Hollywood seemed to bring out her worst. The self-appointed aristocracy of the film capital, (accustomed to imperial treatment themselves) did not take well to her princess pageantry. Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Grace Kelly and Linda Ronstadt were all victims left in the wake of her royal hauteur and acerbic wit. 

When she wasn’t insulting the toast of Tinsel Town, she was causing panic among her royal handlers for joining private porn screenings with the legendary theater critic, Kenneth Tynan; or for attending a party in Beverly Hills where she turned down cocaine from Jack Nicholson and danced all evening with John Travolta. 

But it’s in the clutch of stories about Margaret’s exploits, uncensored remarks, controversial friendships and alleged liaisons that we see the colorful legend of a Princess emerge.

Princess Margaret (left) with film producer Alfred Hitchcock on the set of his film, Torn Curtain starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. After the meet and greet, the royal couple attended a luncheon with Mary Pickford, Charlton Heston, Maurice Chevalier, James Stewart on a sound stage at Universal Studios

Princess Margaret (left) with film producer Alfred Hitchcock on the set of his film, Torn Curtain starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. After the meet and greet, the royal couple attended a luncheon with Mary Pickford, Charlton Heston, Maurice Chevalier, James Stewart on a sound stage at Universal Studios

Princess Margaret (left) with film producer Alfred Hitchcock on the set of his film, Torn Curtain starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. After the meet and greet, the royal couple attended a luncheon with Mary Pickford, Charlton Heston, Maurice Chevalier, James Stewart on a sound stage at Universal Studios

Their visit began at a Beverly Hills dinner party that ended disastrously when Margaret offended Judy Garland by asking her to 'sing,' insulted Grace Kelly by telling her that she 'didn't look like a movie star' and humiliated Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor by purposely sitting them at a table near the kitchen

Their visit began at a Beverly Hills dinner party that ended disastrously when Margaret offended Judy Garland by asking her to 'sing,' insulted Grace Kelly by telling her that she 'didn't look like a movie star' and humiliated Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor by purposely sitting them at a table near the kitchen

Their visit began at a Beverly Hills dinner party that ended disastrously when Margaret offended Judy Garland by asking her to ‘sing,’ insulted Grace Kelly by telling her that she ‘didn’t look like a movie star’ and humiliated Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor by purposely sitting them at a table near the kitchen 

Princess Margaret (left) smiles at Frank Sinatra who was one of the many high-profile Hollywood A-listers to attend the Beverly Hills dinner. Margaret supposedly had a long standing crush on Frank Sinatra, that he learned about from Sharman Douglas' boyfriend Peter Lawford - an old friend of Sinatra's from their shared times as MGM contract actors

Princess Margaret (left) smiles at Frank Sinatra who was one of the many high-profile Hollywood A-listers to attend the Beverly Hills dinner. Margaret supposedly had a long standing crush on Frank Sinatra, that he learned about from Sharman Douglas' boyfriend Peter Lawford - an old friend of Sinatra's from their shared times as MGM contract actors

Princess Margaret (left) smiles at Frank Sinatra who was one of the many high-profile Hollywood A-listers to attend the Beverly Hills dinner. Margaret supposedly had a long standing crush on Frank Sinatra, that he learned about from Sharman Douglas’ boyfriend Peter Lawford – an old friend of Sinatra’s from their shared times as MGM contract actors 

Margaret’s debut in Hollywood happened in November 1965 at the invitation of her American friend, Sharman Douglas. It was the second stop on a five city tour that saw Margaret charm San Francisco’s old money families, light up New York City’s aristocracy, gracefully greet local residents of small town Arizona and monumentally impress President Johnson at a black tie dinner held at The White House.  

Sharman (also known as Sass) was the wealthy socialite of a former US Ambassador to Great Britain during the 1940s. During that time, the Vassar-educated blonde with wholesome ‘girl next door’ looks forged a fast and close friendship with Princess Margaret. Being two years older, Sass Douglas was already a fixture on the West End nightclub circuit and she brought 17-year-old Margaret into the fold of her glamorous circle of friends that were a refreshing change from the tweedier types.

Their lives were a whirl of balls, premieres, nightclubs, receptions, race meetings and royal garden parties,’ wrote Noel Botham in Margaret -The Last Real Princess. The press dubbed them the ‘Sharman Set’ after their ringleader they christened, ‘Charmin’ Sharman. Gossip rags hounded their every move, insatiable for the exciting group that generated yards of tantalizing copy.  

Sharman 'Sass' Douglas (left) stands next to Princess Margaret (right) at the Royal Ascot in 1950, Captain Peter Townsend (Margaret's first love) looms to the left in the background. Sass was the Vassar educated, socialite daughter of the US Ambassador to Great Britain. She quickly became a fixture on the London party circuit and brought Princess Margaret into the fold, the two girls spent many 'hysterical' nights at Buckingham Palace gossiping

Sharman 'Sass' Douglas (left) stands next to Princess Margaret (right) at the Royal Ascot in 1950, Captain Peter Townsend (Margaret's first love) looms to the left in the background. Sass was the Vassar educated, socialite daughter of the US Ambassador to Great Britain. She quickly became a fixture on the London party circuit and brought Princess Margaret into the fold, the two girls spent many 'hysterical' nights at Buckingham Palace gossiping

Sharman ‘Sass’ Douglas (left) stands next to Princess Margaret (right) at the Royal Ascot in 1950, Captain Peter Townsend (Margaret’s first love) looms to the left in the background. Sass was the Vassar educated, socialite daughter of the US Ambassador to Great Britain. She quickly became a fixture on the London party circuit and brought Princess Margaret into the fold, the two girls spent many ‘hysterical’ nights at Buckingham Palace gossiping

Princess Margaret (left) stands next to Sharman Douglas (right) at another Royal Ascot, it was at the invitation of Douglas that Margaret made her first journey to the United States in 1965. Years later, royal biographer, Noel Botham alleged that the two women were lovers

Princess Margaret (left) stands next to Sharman Douglas (right) at another Royal Ascot, it was at the invitation of Douglas that Margaret made her first journey to the United States in 1965. Years later, royal biographer, Noel Botham alleged that the two women were lovers

Princess Margaret (left) stands next to Sharman Douglas (right) at another Royal Ascot, it was at the invitation of Douglas that Margaret made her first journey to the United States in 1965. Years later, royal biographer, Noel Botham alleged that the two women were lovers 

It was in this spirit that Princess Margaret and her husband, Antony Armstrong- Jones descended upon the Beverly Hills Hotel with a 16 person entourage and 75 pieces of luggage; their presidential suite had already been primed with a boundless supply cigarettes for the chain smoking couple- Chesterfields for Margaret and Gauloises for Lord Snowdon.

The trip inevitably did not achieve what it set out to do as it became more defined by Margaret’s raucous late night partying, epic hangovers and A-list debauchery than it did princess poise. Her behavior created so much controversy and negative press on the home front that British diplomats later banned the princess from returning to the United States in 1973. 

‘It was a mistake that so much of their time was spent with and organized by Miss Sharman Douglas, though she did her best, after her own fashion, to make sure the visitors had a gay and amusing time,’ wrote the British Ambassador in a memo.

Headlines pointed out ‘the insensitive vulgarity of conspicuous expenditure’ as they demanded to know ‘Who pays?’ for Margaret’s ‘jet-set parties.’ The New York Times grumbled: ‘Since they have been in Los Angeles, the royal couple have done little but associate themselves with the film colony.’ 

The trip began with an A-list bang. Douglas hosted a private welcome dinner in Beverly Hills that she said was  ‘strictly for my Los Angeles friends.’ Her selected 90 person guest list read like a ‘who’s who’ of Hollywood heavyweights: Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire, Grace Kelly, Robert Mitchum, Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Rock Hudson, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow.

Margaret talks to Sean Connery and his wife, actress Diane Cilento at an event sometime during 1965 though Connery was a guest of both Hollywood events that saw Margaret partying until the wee hours of the morning. She famously carried around a gold lighter engraved with '007' that was given to  her by Connery

Margaret talks to Sean Connery and his wife, actress Diane Cilento at an event sometime during 1965 though Connery was a guest of both Hollywood events that saw Margaret partying until the wee hours of the morning. She famously carried around a gold lighter engraved with '007' that was given to  her by Connery

Margaret talks to Sean Connery and his wife, actress Diane Cilento at an event sometime during 1965 though Connery was a guest of both Hollywood events that saw Margaret partying until the wee hours of the morning. She famously carried around a gold lighter engraved with ‘007’ that was given to  her by Connery

Princess Margaret (right) greets Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in a receiving line. Taylor and Burton were accustomed to being the most famous people in every room but the notoriously bombastic couple was instantly insulted when they discovered that the princess had snubbed them in their seating arrangement

Princess Margaret (right) greets Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in a receiving line. Taylor and Burton were accustomed to being the most famous people in every room but the notoriously bombastic couple was instantly insulted when they discovered that the princess had snubbed them in their seating arrangement

Princess Margaret (right) greets Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in a receiving line. Taylor and Burton were accustomed to being the most famous people in every room but the notoriously bombastic couple was instantly insulted when they discovered that the princess had snubbed them in their seating arrangement

Uncharacteristically on-time, Princess Margaret made a glittering entrance at 8:45 pm wearing an embellished, cream-colored evening gown with a white mink fur draped across her shoulders. Lord Snowdon is pictured smiling behind her as the two make their way inside the restaurant. During the dinner, Margaret sat between Warren Beatty (a rumored lover) and Gregory Peck at the head table while her husband entertained Rosalind Russell and Hope Lange

Uncharacteristically on-time, Princess Margaret made a glittering entrance at 8:45 pm wearing an embellished, cream-colored evening gown with a white mink fur draped across her shoulders. Lord Snowdon is pictured smiling behind her as the two make their way inside the restaurant. During the dinner, Margaret sat between Warren Beatty (a rumored lover) and Gregory Peck at the head table while her husband entertained Rosalind Russell and Hope Lange

Uncharacteristically on-time, Princess Margaret made a glittering entrance at 8:45 pm wearing an embellished, cream-colored evening gown with a white mink fur draped across her shoulders. Lord Snowdon is pictured smiling behind her as the two make their way inside the restaurant. During the dinner, Margaret sat between Warren Beatty (a rumored lover) and Gregory Peck at the head table while her husband entertained Rosalind Russell and Hope Lange

‘Charmin’ Sharman:’  Princess Margaret’s American confidante 

Sharman Douglas, an American socialite poses for Vogue Magazine in 1947

Sharman Douglas, an American socialite poses for Vogue Magazine in 1947

Sharman Douglas, an American socialite poses for Vogue Magazine in 1947

According to Peter Lawford’s biography Sharman Douglas spent many ‘hysterical’ evenings at Buckingham Palace ‘racing up and down the halls creating chaos,’ and spending ‘the better part of the next day in the Princess’s bedroom, gossiping.’ Lawford and Douglas were romantically linked for a short period of time while she lived in London.

The American Embassy was also home to several debauched parties, most famously one in 1949 where Margaret and Sass performed the can-can in front of 250 people wearing frilly petticoats, lace underwear, red feathers and black stockings. The morning paper’s headline read: ‘Princess Margaret High-Kicks It!’ Princess Elizabeth meanwhile, was dressed as an Edwardian parlor maid and her husband, Prince Philip donned a butler’s uniform.

The two friends remained close for their entire lives. Though it remains unconfirmed, royal-writer, Noel Botham claims that their relationship was briefly intimate. He alleges that David Pelham, the Gillette Razor heir and mutual friend of both women said that it was well known within their inner circle and that Sharman, despite dating Peter Lawford at the time, was a ‘confirmed bachelor girl.’  

Her visit created a media frenzy. For weeks, local gossip columnists speculated on who was (and perhaps more importantly, who wasn’t) on the guest list. While usually frosty toward visiting luminaries, all of Hollywood was particularly keen on the Princess, the New York Times wrote: ‘The movie colony’s most lustrous names were all bent on achieving a common objective: Gaining admission to the Bistro Sunday night.’

Swarms of paparazzi and spectators surrounded the restaurant to catch glimpses of the beau monde disappear into into the trendy restaurant that was opened and owned by a consortium of cinematic legends: Billy Wilder, Tony Curtis and the Hollywood Jacks – Benny, Warner and Lemmon.

Sharman was escorted by Roddy MacDowell, ‘Shirley Maclaine swept by in a column of white silk’ and ‘Julie Andrews, who was with Mike Nichols, was one of the few who arrived in a Bentley,’ reported the New York Times.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, (never too shy of attention), created a spectacle when they arrived with Rosalind Russell in a beautifully refurbished 1932 English taxicab.

Last to appear was Princess Margaret in her black Rolls-Royce, wearing a shimmering cream- colored evening gown with a white mink draped around her shoulders.

However, the ‘genuine feeling of levity’ that Steve McQueen’s wife Neile Adams later recalled in her biography would not last long. Over the course of a single evening, Margaret’s charm offensive on Hollywood inevitably turned into a dinner party from hell.

The Princess’ bad habit of insulting close allies and new acquaintances with cunning regal disdain reared its ugly head and left a few of Tinsel Town’s biggest stars smarting from her infamous barbed tongue.

Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco was first to receive the royal snub when Margaret greeted the former actress and celebrated beauty with sharp disregard: ‘You don’t look like a movie star,’ she said. Taken aback by the reproach, Kelly could only muster a weak response: ‘Well I wasn’t born a movie star.’

‘The rebuke became her calling card, like Frank Ifield’s yodel or Tommy Cooper’s fez,’ said Craig Brown in his biography, Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret. ‘It was almost as though, early in life, she had contracted a peculiarly royal form of Tourette’s Syndrome, causing the sufferer to be seized by the unstoppable urge to say the wrong thing.’

1,000 people lined the streets to see Margaret dressed in full princess regalia for a charity ball at the Hollywood Palladium on her second night in Los Angeles. The New York Times said, 'the guest list of 1,700 was a Who's Who of Hollywood.' The British Ambassador later condemned the trip, he said: 'Hosts must understand that it does the royal party no good to turn the period of rest into a jamboree of actors and photographers, as was the case with the visit to the Douglas family'

1,000 people lined the streets to see Margaret dressed in full princess regalia for a charity ball at the Hollywood Palladium on her second night in Los Angeles. The New York Times said, 'the guest list of 1,700 was a Who's Who of Hollywood.' The British Ambassador later condemned the trip, he said: 'Hosts must understand that it does the royal party no good to turn the period of rest into a jamboree of actors and photographers, as was the case with the visit to the Douglas family'

1,000 people lined the streets to see Margaret dressed in full princess regalia for a charity ball at the Hollywood Palladium on her second night in Los Angeles. The New York Times said, ‘the guest list of 1,700 was a Who’s Who of Hollywood.’ The British Ambassador later condemned the trip, he said: ‘Hosts must understand that it does the royal party no good to turn the period of rest into a jamboree of actors and photographers, as was the case with the visit to the Douglas family’

Frank Sinatra arrived at the Bistro with his soon-to-bewife, Mia Farrow. Farrow at the time was  just an up and coming starlet - fresh off the success of Peyton Place, and still three years away from her starring role in Rosemary’s Baby

Frank Sinatra arrived at the Bistro with his soon-to-bewife, Mia Farrow. Farrow at the time was  just an up and coming starlet - fresh off the success of Peyton Place, and still three years away from her starring role in Rosemary’s Baby

Actor and dancer Fred Astaire is photographed  walking into the Beverly Hills restaurant where he spent the evening drinking and dancing with Princess Margaret, who also took to the floor with Gene Kelly and Danny Kaye

Actor and dancer Fred Astaire is photographed  walking into the Beverly Hills restaurant where he spent the evening drinking and dancing with Princess Margaret, who also took to the floor with Gene Kelly and Danny Kaye

Guests Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow (left) arrive at the Beverly Hills Bistro restaurant where Margaret spent the night dancing with Fred Astaire (right), Gene Kelly and her life-long friend, Danny Kaye

Italian actress Claudia Cardinale leaves the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills with publicity man Rupert Allen after attending party for Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. For weeks gossip columnists speculated on who would get an invite to the exclusive dinner party that had all of Hollywood's stars angling for a ticket. Kenneth Tynan's daughter Tracy, wrote in her memoir: 'It was quite a sight to see Hollywood royalty scrambling over each other's backs to get to real royalty. People were shoving each other aside to get the princess's attention'

Italian actress Claudia Cardinale leaves the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills with publicity man Rupert Allen after attending party for Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. For weeks gossip columnists speculated on who would get an invite to the exclusive dinner party that had all of Hollywood's stars angling for a ticket. Kenneth Tynan's daughter Tracy, wrote in her memoir: 'It was quite a sight to see Hollywood royalty scrambling over each other's backs to get to real royalty. People were shoving each other aside to get the princess's attention'

Italian actress Claudia Cardinale leaves the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills with publicity man Rupert Allen after attending party for Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. For weeks gossip columnists speculated on who would get an invite to the exclusive dinner party that had all of Hollywood’s stars angling for a ticket. Kenneth Tynan’s daughter Tracy, wrote in her memoir: ‘It was quite a sight to see Hollywood royalty scrambling over each other’s backs to get to real royalty. People were shoving each other aside to get the princess’s attention’

Barbra Streisand (next to Omar Sharif) shakes hands with Princess Margaret at the 1969 London premiere of Funny Girl. It was during this event that Streisand's agent, Sue Mengers first met the Princess. Years later in 1979, Margaret would attend one of Mengers' legendary star-studded parties that were known for the cliche: 'If a bomb went off at Bel Air Road, then half of Hollywood would be obliterated

Barbra Streisand (next to Omar Sharif) shakes hands with Princess Margaret at the 1969 London premiere of Funny Girl. It was during this event that Streisand's agent, Sue Mengers first met the Princess. Years later in 1979, Margaret would attend one of Mengers' legendary star-studded parties that were known for the cliche: 'If a bomb went off at Bel Air Road, then half of Hollywood would be obliterated

Barbra Streisand (next to Omar Sharif) shakes hands with Princess Margaret at the 1969 London premiere of Funny Girl. It was during this event that Streisand’s agent, Sue Mengers first met the Princess. Years later in 1979, Margaret would attend one of Mengers’ legendary star-studded parties that were known for the cliche: ‘If a bomb went off at Bel Air Road, then half of Hollywood would be obliterated

Margaret also used the dinner as an opportunity to take a swipe at her Hollywood rival, Elizabeth Taylor. Instead of seating Taylor and Burton in the pride of place at the head table, Margaret pulled her weight and banished the unofficial king and queen of movieland to a spot near the kitchen. (The culinary equivalent of Siberia). Burton was so furious over the seating arrangement slight, that he proceeded to get extremely drunk before making a scene and storming out of the party early.

Nonetheless, the ‘Sharman show’ at the Beverly Hills Bistro carried on to the wee hours of the morning. Fueled by copious amounts of alcohol, Margaret danced with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and comedian Danny Kaye, who royal biographer, Theo Aronson said was one of her ‘earliest theatrical obsessions…She sang his songs, imitated his dance steps and mimicked his patter.’ Danny Kaye was the only person ever allowed to address Her Royal Highness casually as ‘honey.’

On hand to provide laughs was Laurence Harvey, who pulled down his pants to moon fellow party goers whenever the royal couple wasn’t looking. Diners enjoyed seafood hors d’oeuvres, sliced sirloin steak and imported baby carrots at the request of Princess Margaret, who sat between (rumored lover), Warren Beatty and Gregory Peck at the primary table, while Lord Snowdon entertained the company of silver screen siren, Rosalind Russell and Peyton Place ingenue, Hope Lange.

It was only inevitable, that as the night continued, Margaret would cross swords with somebody who took umbrage to her sense of entitlement.

‘After a succession of drinks, she was at last able to enter a stiffer, grander, more subservient world, a world in which people still knew their place,’ wrote Craig Brown, ‘And then her rudeness knew no bounds.’

Judy Garland, a triple-threat talent, did not take well to demands, especially when it came from a royal aide on behalf of the Princess, asking if she will perform. According to a report conducted by the British Ambassador to America at the time, Garland responded: ‘Go and tell that nasty, rude little princess that we’ve known each other for long enough and gabbed in enough ladies’ rooms that she should skip the ho-hum royal routine and just pop over here and ask me herself.’ Before adding, ‘Tell her I’ll sing if she christens a ship first.’  

Paul Newman (left) with Princess Margaret and her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones on the set of Torn Curtain. The press began to criticize the royal couple's lavish trip to Hollywood, the New York Times wrote: 'Since they have been in Los Angeles, the royal couple have done little but associate themselves with the film colony'

Paul Newman (left) with Princess Margaret and her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones on the set of Torn Curtain. The press began to criticize the royal couple's lavish trip to Hollywood, the New York Times wrote: 'Since they have been in Los Angeles, the royal couple have done little but associate themselves with the film colony'

Paul Newman (left) with Princess Margaret and her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones on the set of Torn Curtain. The press began to criticize the royal couple’s lavish trip to Hollywood, the New York Times wrote: ‘Since they have been in Los Angeles, the royal couple have done little but associate themselves with the film colony’

After a few days of hard partying, Charman Douglas (left) whisked Princess Margaret (center) and Lord Snowdon (right) to her family's 35,000 acre ranch in Arizona. She told the press: 'We have no plans - no plans at all. We will do as much or as little as they want to. It has been a happy by arduous journey. This is a private visit'

After a few days of hard partying, Charman Douglas (left) whisked Princess Margaret (center) and Lord Snowdon (right) to her family's 35,000 acre ranch in Arizona. She told the press: 'We have no plans - no plans at all. We will do as much or as little as they want to. It has been a happy by arduous journey. This is a private visit'

After a few days of hard partying, Charman Douglas (left) whisked Princess Margaret (center) and Lord Snowdon (right) to her family’s 35,000 acre ranch in Arizona. She told the press: ‘We have no plans – no plans at all. We will do as much or as little as they want to. It has been a happy by arduous journey. This is a private visit’

The night only got worse for Garland who next found herself on the receiving end of another prodigious drunk, Richard Burton. Garland finally agreed to indulge Margaret’s request for a song but nearly tripped on the microphones cord and had to be helped by her publicist. ‘I n a voice for all to hear, Richard said, ‘She’s drunk again.’ Shortly afterward, he and Elizabeth walked out,’ wrote Kitty Kelley in her biography of Elizabeth Taylor. Relieved, actress Joanne Woodward said, ‘I thought they would never leave!’

Capping off the comedy of errors at the Bistro that evening was Steve McQueen’s wife, Neile Adams who found herself in the bathroom at the same time as Princess Margaret. Unaware of the royal protocol that accords a princess immediate privacy of the facility, Adams found herself meandering through mundane small-talk with Margaret.

‘Little did I know that the reason she kept talking was to get me the hell out of there so she could use the john in peace and quiet,’ wrote Neile Adams in her memoir. After that, Adams said that ‘she barely gave me an imperious nod of the head!’ Adding, ‘The whole episode deeply embarrassed me.’

A flurry of critical headlines began to emerge. The New Statesmen described her trip as a ‘private rubber-necking trip to the American fun centers.’ The Sunday Express called it a ‘holiday frolic among the tinsel princes and princesses of Hollywood.’ The royal couple put in a few perfunctory hours touring a department store and the Los Angeles County Art Museum, ‘But by noon, they were lunching on a sound stage at Universal Studios in Studio City with such persons as Mary Pickford, Charlton Heston, Maurice Chevalier, James Stewart’ said the New York Times. 

Spectators line up to catch a close glimpse of the Princess heading to the exclusive party. The NYT reported said that 'the movie colony's most lustrous names were all bent on achieving a common objective: Gaining admission to the Bistro Sunday night.' Those on the guest list included Grace Kelly, Robert Mitchum, Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Rock Hudson, Judy Garland, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman

Spectators line up to catch a close glimpse of the Princess heading to the exclusive party. The NYT reported said that 'the movie colony's most lustrous names were all bent on achieving a common objective: Gaining admission to the Bistro Sunday night.' Those on the guest list included Grace Kelly, Robert Mitchum, Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Rock Hudson, Judy Garland, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman

Spectators line up to catch a close glimpse of the Princess heading to the exclusive party. The NYT reported said that ‘the movie colony’s most lustrous names were all bent on achieving a common objective: Gaining admission to the Bistro Sunday night.’ Those on the guest list included Grace Kelly, Robert Mitchum, Natalie Wood, Warren Beatty, Rock Hudson, Judy Garland, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Stewart, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman

Antony Armstrong-Jones dances with Mrs. Bill Welsh, head of Los Angeles of WAIF charity ball that took place at the Hollywood Palladium. The Palladium was given a $50,000 face lift for Princess Margaret's visit and was decorated with 20 chandeliers borrowed from the Warner Brothers movie lot. Margaret opted out of any dancing that evening, she said she was suffering from laryngitis and a splitting headache

Antony Armstrong-Jones dances with Mrs. Bill Welsh, head of Los Angeles of WAIF charity ball that took place at the Hollywood Palladium. The Palladium was given a $50,000 face lift for Princess Margaret's visit and was decorated with 20 chandeliers borrowed from the Warner Brothers movie lot. Margaret opted out of any dancing that evening, she said she was suffering from laryngitis and a splitting headache

Antony Armstrong-Jones dances with Mrs. Bill Welsh, head of Los Angeles of WAIF charity ball that took place at the Hollywood Palladium. The Palladium was given a $50,000 face lift for Princess Margaret’s visit and was decorated with 20 chandeliers borrowed from the Warner Brothers movie lot. Margaret opted out of any dancing that evening, she said she was suffering from laryngitis and a splitting headache

Interior of the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills where Margaret's dinner was held. The eatery was owned by Hollywood moguls and actors Billy Wilder, Tony Curtis, Jack Benny, Jack Warner and Jack Lemmon who opened the restaurant in 1963 over the lack of continental dining options in Los Angeles. The New York Times called the restaurant a 'people watcher's paradise' with its mirror lined walls so that even 'the more narcissistic can comb their hair without leaving their table'

Interior of the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills where Margaret's dinner was held. The eatery was owned by Hollywood moguls and actors Billy Wilder, Tony Curtis, Jack Benny, Jack Warner and Jack Lemmon who opened the restaurant in 1963 over the lack of continental dining options in Los Angeles. The New York Times called the restaurant a 'people watcher's paradise' with its mirror lined walls so that even 'the more narcissistic can comb their hair without leaving their table'

Interior of the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills where Margaret’s dinner was held. The eatery was owned by Hollywood moguls and actors Billy Wilder, Tony Curtis, Jack Benny, Jack Warner and Jack Lemmon who opened the restaurant in 1963 over the lack of continental dining options in Los Angeles. The New York Times called the restaurant a ‘people watcher’s paradise’ with its mirror lined walls so that even ‘the more narcissistic can comb their hair without leaving their table’ 

Later that evening, 1,000 spectators lined up to see Margaret in full princess regalia attend a charity ball for the World Adoption International Fund at the Hollywood Palladium. The massive event space (which formerly served as venue for Laurence Welk’s Orchestra) was given a hefty $50,000 royal refurbish in preparation for its distinguished guest.

Like the previous night, the ball was brimming with marquee names who danced under 20 crystal chandeliers that were ordered from the Warner Brothers movie lot while guests dined on gold vermeil, sterling silver and bone china provided for by Tiffany & Co of Beverly Hills.

Curiously, the event was one of Sonny and Cher’s first public performances that went horribly wrong when the Princess (suffering from laryngitis and a headache) complained that the volume was too loud, which subsequently caused a sound technician to accidentally cut Cher’s microphone entirely.

Sir Patrick Dean, the British Ambassador condemned the trip in his report: ‘Hosts must understand that it does the royal party no good to turn the period of rest into a jamboree of actors and photographers, as was the case with the visit to the Douglas family.’

It didn’t help that after a few days of pathological partying, Sharman Douglas whisked the royal couple off to her family’s ranch in Arizona, where she told the press: ‘We have no plans – no plans at all. We will do as much or as little as they want to. It has been a happy by arduous journey. This is a private visit.’

The royal tour concluded at the end of November, but Margaret continued to mix with bohemian types back in London where her assembled cast of iconoclasts, actors, writers and musicians included the film critic Kenneth Tynan who would host the princess at his home for private porn screen parties with other writers like Christopher Isherwood, the wicked essayist Gore Vidal, and the flamboyant playwright Noel Coward. ‘Her royal presence was enough to gratify the snobbish tendencies of the bohemians, while her snooty behavior let them laugh at her behind her back…’ wrote Craig Brown.

Sue Mengers stands between Faye Dunaway and Robert Evans. Evans first met the Princess in 1970 at a screening of his film Love Story in London. Margaret shook his hand and introduced herself: 'Tony saw Love Story in New York. Hated it.' Smiling back, Evans recalled thinking to himself: 'F**k you too'

Sue Mengers stands between Faye Dunaway and Robert Evans. Evans first met the Princess in 1970 at a screening of his film Love Story in London. Margaret shook his hand and introduced herself: 'Tony saw Love Story in New York. Hated it.' Smiling back, Evans recalled thinking to himself: 'F**k you too'

Sue Mengers stands between Faye Dunaway and Robert Evans. Evans first met the Princess in 1970 at a screening of his film Love Story in London. Margaret shook his hand and introduced herself: ‘Tony saw Love Story in New York. Hated it.’ Smiling back, Evans recalled thinking to himself: ‘F**k you too’

Princess Margaret talks to Paul Newman and Julie Andrews on the set of Torn Curtain. Andrews was a select member of Margaret’s head table at the Beverly Hills private welcome dinner on the night of the couple’s arrival and also presided over a luncheon held in the Princess' honor at Universal Studios

Princess Margaret talks to Paul Newman and Julie Andrews on the set of Torn Curtain. Andrews was a select member of Margaret’s head table at the Beverly Hills private welcome dinner on the night of the couple’s arrival and also presided over a luncheon held in the Princess' honor at Universal Studios

Princess Margaret talks to Paul Newman and Julie Andrews on the set of Torn Curtain. Andrews was a select member of Margaret’s head table at the Beverly Hills private welcome dinner on the night of the couple’s arrival and also presided over a luncheon held in the Princess’ honor at Universal Studios

The royal couple enjoy their time visiting the Lewis Douglas Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. The local residents of Page, Arizona warmly welcomed the Princess at a dinner held in the city's only lodging, the humble Arrowhead Motel. Residents brought their own fancy silverware to make the Princess feel at home and erected a fake island in the middle of the lake where they dressed up in grass skirts and Hawaiian leis to perform a hula dance

The royal couple enjoy their time visiting the Lewis Douglas Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. The local residents of Page, Arizona warmly welcomed the Princess at a dinner held in the city's only lodging, the humble Arrowhead Motel. Residents brought their own fancy silverware to make the Princess feel at home and erected a fake island in the middle of the lake where they dressed up in grass skirts and Hawaiian leis to perform a hula dance

The royal couple enjoy their time visiting the Lewis Douglas Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. The local residents of Page, Arizona warmly welcomed the Princess at a dinner held in the city’s only lodging, the humble Arrowhead Motel. Residents brought their own fancy silverware to make the Princess feel at home and erected a fake island in the middle of the lake where they dressed up in grass skirts and Hawaiian leis to perform a hula dance

While Margaret was accused of not putting in enough hours doing royal duty, she took time to visit the California Institute of Technology campus, Pasadena, California

While Margaret was accused of not putting in enough hours doing royal duty, she took time to visit the California Institute of Technology campus, Pasadena, California

While Margaret was accused of not putting in enough hours doing royal duty, she took time to visit the California Institute of Technology campus, Pasadena, California

In 1973, the Princess’ request to return to the United States was denied by Lord Cromer, the British Ambassador to Washington. A memo written to the Foreign Committee said: ‘You will remember that Lord Cromer is not at all keen on having the Princess in the United States, possibly for some time to come. This is mainly due to the behavior of some of HRH’s friends, who tend to take such visits very lightly.’

Though eventually, Margaret prevailed and came back to Los Angeles in 1979 at the invitation of the powerful celebrity super-agent, Sue Mengers. ‘Like many British royals, she was fascinated by the place,’ said Vidal.

Sue Mengers was a bawdy, caftan wearing, fast talking, dynamo from the Bronx who represented half of Hollywood’s top billing. Mengers was famous for hosting legendary soirees at her mid-century Beverly Hills party pad where silver bowls of cocaine were displayed for guests to help themselves. ‘I was putting sugar in my coffee,’ remembered Michael Caine of his first visit to La Casa de Sue, ‘and she said, ‘Don’t touch that. It’s cocaine.’

So star studded were her parties that gossip rags and guests joked: ‘If a bomb went off at Bel Air Road, then half of Hollywood would be obliterated.’

Though Mengers was already Hollywood’s de-facto social arbiter, she aspired to climb the social ladder even higher and the perfect opportunity presented itself in 1969 when she hit it off with Princess Margaret while in London promoting her client, Barbra Streisand’s film, Funny Girl.

Margaret’s ‘rebellious nature and sophisticated, party girl persona were bound to appeal to her,’ said Brian Kellow in his biography of Sue Mengers titled ‘Can I Go Now? The Life of Sue Mengers, Hollywood’s First Superagent.’

Margaret took Sue up on her invitation and in October, 1979 Sue hosted the princess in what would be her most elaborate and exclusive gathering yet. ‘It seemed like we did nothing from March to October but plan the party,’ said Cindy Pearson in Can I Go Now?

Jack Nicholson (right), a client of Hollywood power agent, Sue Mengers (pictured) attended the private dinner soiree with his girlfriend Anjelica Huston. He recalled: 'Sue accused me of ruining her connection to the royal family. At the party Gore Vidal kinda nudged me into offering Princess Margaret a sample of illegal substance. Which she declined'

Jack Nicholson (right), a client of Hollywood power agent, Sue Mengers (pictured) attended the private dinner soiree with his girlfriend Anjelica Huston. He recalled: 'Sue accused me of ruining her connection to the royal family. At the party Gore Vidal kinda nudged me into offering Princess Margaret a sample of illegal substance. Which she declined'

Jack Nicholson (right), a client of Hollywood power agent, Sue Mengers (pictured) attended the private dinner soiree with his girlfriend Anjelica Huston. He recalled: ‘Sue accused me of ruining her connection to the royal family. At the party Gore Vidal kinda nudged me into offering Princess Margaret a sample of illegal substance. Which she declined’

American novelist and playwright Gore Vidal (center) stands next to Sue Mengers in 1969. Gore was a lifelong close ally of Princess Margaret, speaking of Margaret's time in Tinsel Town, he observed: 'Like many British royals, she was fascinated by the place'

American novelist and playwright Gore Vidal (center) stands next to Sue Mengers in 1969. Gore was a lifelong close ally of Princess Margaret, speaking of Margaret's time in Tinsel Town, he observed: 'Like many British royals, she was fascinated by the place'

American novelist and playwright Gore Vidal (center) stands next to Sue Mengers in 1969. Gore was a lifelong close ally of Princess Margaret, speaking of Margaret’s time in Tinsel Town, he observed: ‘Like many British royals, she was fascinated by the place’

Mengers was unusually nervous, ‘Sue was one of the toughest agents in Hollywood, but when the time came to meet the Princess at the door of her home, she almost collapsed with fright’ wrote Michael Caine in his autobiography What’s It All About? Lord Mountbatten had just been murdered on his boat by the IRA only weeks before – security was super tight. Scotland Yard brought bomb dogs to sniff the house and hovered over the property in helicopters for the entire night.

The guest list included the usual Mengers line up: Barbra Streisand, Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, Michael Caine, Robin Williams, Gregory Peck, Ryan O’Neil, John Travolta, Neil Diamond, Ali McGraw (her husband Steve McQueen was apparently too ill to show up from taking too much cocaine). Others in attendance were Farrah Fawcett, who looked fetching in silk pajamas, Gene Hackman, Barry Diller, Gore Vidal, Kenneth Tynan, Sean Connery, Barry Manilow (a personal request from the princess herself).

As always, Margaret knew how to give the people what they wanted: a princess. She wore a black and silver Dior dress with a show stopping diamond necklace and a pair of earrings given to her by her grandmother, Queen Mary.

‘I was considered socially safe enough to be seated at her right hand at the dinner table,’ wrote Caine. On the other side of Margaret was Governor Jerry Brown of California, who committed two cardinal sins right off the bat: first he addressed the princess as ‘Your Highness,’ leaving the word Royal out of her title and second, he announce that he was leaving the formal occasion early because he had other plans. ‘The Princess did not stop smiling, but she just turned her back on him without a word and engaged me in conversation until he left.’

Bob Hope (left, behind the candelabra) sat at the head table with Princess Margaret who is pictured talking to Mayor Yorty of Los Angeles during the WAIF charity ball. Curiously, the event was one of Sonny and Cher's first public performances that went horribly wrong when the Princess (suffering from a headache) complained that the volume was too loud, which subsequently caused a sound technician to accidentally cut Cher's microphone entirely

Bob Hope (left, behind the candelabra) sat at the head table with Princess Margaret who is pictured talking to Mayor Yorty of Los Angeles during the WAIF charity ball. Curiously, the event was one of Sonny and Cher's first public performances that went horribly wrong when the Princess (suffering from a headache) complained that the volume was too loud, which subsequently caused a sound technician to accidentally cut Cher's microphone entirely

Bob Hope (left, behind the candelabra) sat at the head table with Princess Margaret who is pictured talking to Mayor Yorty of Los Angeles during the WAIF charity ball. Curiously, the event was one of Sonny and Cher’s first public performances that went horribly wrong when the Princess (suffering from a headache) complained that the volume was too loud, which subsequently caused a sound technician to accidentally cut Cher’s microphone entirely 

Princess Margaret (right) spent time on royal duty admiring British merchandise and fashion at the J.W. Robinson department store in Beverly Hills

Princess Margaret (right) spent time on royal duty admiring British merchandise and fashion at the J.W. Robinson department store in Beverly Hills

Princess Margaret (right) spent time on royal duty admiring British merchandise and fashion at the J.W. Robinson department store in Beverly Hills

Things got worse when the Governor’s date, singer Linda Ronstadt ‘wearing a white cotton dress up to her knees and dear little red boots’ (according the Daily News Suzy gossip column) strolled over to the head table and braced herself on the princess’ shoulder as she leaned in to ask ‘What are we having to start?’ Her mistake turned unforgivable when she reached in to grab a piece of food off Governor Brown’s dinner plate. ‘I have seen people shrug many times,’ said Caine, ‘but the Princess’ shoulder shrugged like a punch from a boxer and with almost the same effect on Miss Ronstadt. She almost overbalanced and fell on the floor.’

Though Michael Caine remembers that Mengers and the princess ‘got on like a house on fire;’ Mengers remembers it being a complete disaster. She told Vanity Fair in 2009 ‘Every time she looked my way I curtsied. I was curtsying all night! She thought I was an idiot.’ The Daily News reported that the biggest sensation of the evening was Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston. When they arrived together, the Daily News wrote: ‘everyone gasped.’

Though Sue Mengers accused her rising star client, Jack Nicholson of destroying her chances of ever being able to visit Buckingham Palace, ‘Sue accused me of ruining her connection to the royal family,’ said Nicholson. ‘At the party Gore Vidal kinda nudged me into offering Princess Margaret a sample of illegal substance. Which she declined.’

Princess Margaret lived up to her reputation of having a generous amount to drink, Michael Black, a former Hollywood agent told Kellow: ‘Princess Margaret got a little sauced and was definitely coming on to John Travolta.’ She left the party at 12:30, driven home by Prince Rupert Loewenstein, the ruling wit of the international jet set and manager of The Rolling Stones.

Lord Snowdon (standing next to Princess Margaret) leans in to talk to the film director, Alfred Hitchcock

Lord Snowdon (standing next to Princess Margaret) leans in to talk to the film director, Alfred Hitchcock

Lord Snowdon (standing next to Princess Margaret) leans in to talk to the film director, Alfred Hitchcock

The rivalry between Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Margaret 

Elizabeth Taylor (in blue) with her husband John Warner and Princess Margaret (right) at a dinner party in New York City, the women crossed paths socially for their entire lives

Elizabeth Taylor (in blue) with her husband John Warner and Princess Margaret (right) at a dinner party in New York City, the women crossed paths socially for their entire lives

Elizabeth Taylor (in blue) with her husband John Warner and Princess Margaret (right) at a dinner party in New York City, the women crossed paths socially for their entire lives

Some believe their feud started over Princess Margaret’s alleged affair with Elizabeth Taylor’s fourth husband, Eddie Fisher. His daughter, Carrie Fisher made the claim in 2016 on The Jonathon Ross Show.  

In 1967, Princess Margaret told the playwright Emlyn Williams that Elizabeth Taylor was ‘a common little thing.’

At a 1969 London wedding, Taylor was wearing her hulking 33.19 carat Krupp diamond ring that Burton had gifted her when Margaret quipped, ‘Is that the famous diamond? It’s so large! How very vulgar!’ When she asked to try it on, Taylor rebutted: ‘It doesn’t look so vulgar now, does it?’

For her crimes against the Princess, Taylor was guilty of making her wait 30 minutes and failing to curtsy on several occasions.    

In 1982, journalist Selina Hastings found herself at an awkward intimate dinner party at Kensington Palace with the Princess and Elizabeth Taylor when both women got too drunk. At 2am, Margaret looked at her rival and said loudly: ‘Is anyone going to take her home – or we’ll have to find a sleeping bag?!’

There was also no love lost for Richard Burton, who wrote in his diary that Margaret was ‘infinitely boringly, uncomfortable to be around.’ 

Margaret had a way of violating expectations explained biographer Craig Brown. When one would expect royal grace, she gave hauteur, when one needed empathy, she gave distance. Her moods shifted on a dime, often in the middle of a conversation if she felt one was getting too familiar. ‘The, h aving enticed them in and helped them loosen up, she would suddenly and without warning snap at them, making it clear that by attempting to engage with her on equal terms they were guilty of a monstrous presumption,’ wrote Brown, ‘returning to her familiar world of starch and vinegar.’

Her unpredictable moods would cause even her closest friends to quake. Kenneth Tynan, the film critic known for his caustic wit and circle of famous friends hosted Margaret at his home in Beverly Hills for lunch before the Mengers party. The guest list was practically the same lineup with a few additions: Joan Didion, Tatum O’Neil, David Hockney and Christopher Isherwood (who was very nervous to meet the Princess for the first time).

‘It was quite a sight to see Hollywood royalty scrambling over each other’s backs to get to real royalty,’ said Kenneth Tynan’s daughter, Tracy. ‘People were shoving each other aside to get the princess’s attention.’

Craig Brown wrote: ‘From their point of view, the bohemians enjoyed the cachet – ironic, satirical, tongue-in-cheek, but cachet nonetheless – of having a royal on display, a real-life Princess to lend a bit of pageantry to things.’

 

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