How Princess Margaret offended the Old Hollywood elite - late royal said to have upset Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and Judy Garland in ONE evening

Princess Margaret offended the Old Hollywood elite at an exclusive dinner during her 1965 tour of the US - but it wasn't the only time

Princess Margaret greets the film star couple Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton at the Royal Film Performance of their new film Taming Of The Shrew, watched by actor Sir Ralph Richardson.
(Image credit: © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis/ Getty Images)

Princess Margaret offended the Old Hollywood elite while on her no famous tour of the US in 1965. The tour was said to be somewhat of a disaster as the royal offended the upper echelons of American high society and La La Land, so much so that the UK's US ambassador advised against sending her to the US on a royal tour again.

President Lyndon Johnson (R), Princess Margaret, Mrs. Johnson, and Lord Snowdon pose for photographers in the Queen's room at the White House November 17th, prior to a dinner-dance in honor of the Princess and Lord Snowdon.

(Image credit: Bettmann / Contributor/Getty Images)

Princess Margaret’s extravagant lifestyle featured a whole maelstrom of OTT behaviours that made it crystal clear the late royal was a bit of a diva. You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to see that Princess Margaret's decadent morning routine, her six-week honeymoon, and her fabulously lavish way of paying for things were an indicator that she liked a bit of luxe.

Owing to that, you'd think she'd feel at home among the finest stars of the day but in fact, Princess Margaret offended the Old Hollywood elite so much that it's now the stuff of legend. 

In fact, per the Telegraph, documents from the early 1970s released from the National Archives revealed that the late Princess made such a bad impression that Lord Cromer, who was the British ambassador to the US, advised against sending her to the US on a tour ever again.

Her three-week-long American tour in 1965 was chop full of fabulous parties and events that saw her rub shoulders with US President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House and the who's who of the movie world. 

There was one night in particular, during which the Princess is said to have offended Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, and Judy Garland - some of the most famous stars of all time.

The swanky Beverly Hills dinner party, organised by Douglas, included elite guests like the three female stars and stars like Fred Astaire, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, and Mia Farrow. 

Screen star lovely Elizabeth Taylor bends low to kiss Judy Garland and wish her luck during a visit backstage at the Palace. Looking on at the buss business is actor Montgomery Clift, Miss Taylor's escort to the theater, where Judy is reviving the lost art of Vaudeville.

(Image credit: Bettmann / Contributor/Getty Images)

Once Princess Margaret arrived, she reportedly ordered Wizard of Oz star Garland to perform. The Telegraph reports that in response, Garland told a royal aide, “tell her I’ll sing if she christens a ship first," and that the, "nasty, rude little princess," should make the request directly.

Not content with irritating the high-profile star, she is also said to have ticked off Kelly, the star of iconic films like High Society and Rear Window, who became Princess Grace after marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco.

Princess Margaret allegedly said, "you don’t look like a movie star,” to the stunned actor. To which Kelly responded, "well, I wasn’t born a movie star.”

American actress Grace Kelly (1929 - 1982), circa 1955.

(Image credit: Archive Photos/Getty Images)

You're probably wondering about what the Princess did to rile Taylor and Burton. In Margaret: The Rebel Princess, a PBS documentary, a friend of the late Princess shared that the legendary couple arrived at the dinner before anybody else and were gravely offended by the seating arrangements. 

To be precise - they were furious that weren't going to be sitting at the Princess and her then-husband Lord Snowdon's table. So much so that they left before the royal even arrived!

“[This] did not sit well with Elizabeth and Richard. Everywhere they went, they were the most important people in the room," she explained. "And here they were not the most important people in the room. So they up and left... And they didn’t come back.”

Princess Margaret with Elizabeth Taylor in New York on May 11,1969.

(Image credit: PL Gould/Images/Getty Images)

According to Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, written by biographers Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, this wasn't the last time Princess Margaret would offend Taylor.

A couple of years later, in 1967, the star and her on-again-off-again husband invited Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, in a tight-knit group of 150 relatives and friends, to the London premiere of The Taming of the Shrew - which they co-starred in.

Taylor famously had a jewellery collection that could rival the Royal Family's - including her 33.19 karat Krupp Diamond ring.

Noticing the bling, Princess Margaret reportedly asked, "is that the famous diamond? It’s so large! How very vulgar!”

Unphased by the royal's rudeness, the Cleopatra star allegedly responded, “yes, ain’t it great?”  

Seemingly the Princess then, in a total U-turn, asked if the actor would mind if she tried it on. Taylor allegedly retorted, "not so vulgar now, is it?"

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.