Elizabeth Taylor will be the subject of tonight’s episode of Hollywood Icons on Channel 5 at 9pm tonight. The double Oscar-winner and star from the age of 12 lived a glamorous lifestyle, but behind the glitz there was also a rollercoaster of success as well as shocking tragedy. The programme will offer insight from friends, colleagues and family members as well as rarely seen interviews with Elizabeth herself.
Given the actress’s huge fame, it is perhaps no surprise that she occasionally found herself in the company of the Royal Family on a number of occasions.
However, this led to fiery exchanges with the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret.
They should have met for the first time at a star-studded dinner party in Los Angeles in 1965, during Margaret’s controversial first visit to the US with then-husband Lord Snowden.
However, as detailed in the documentary Margaret: The Rebel Princess, Elizabeth and her husband Richard Burton left the event before the guests of honour even arrived, and didn’t return.
The couple, who were the world’s biggest stars at the time and accustomed to being treated accordingly, were sorely offended to have not been seated at the same table as the royal couple.
Burton, who got “extremely” drunk before leaving the event, was said to have been infuriated” — and ended up sending Margaret an apology note the following day.
This wouldn’t be the first time the couple came to blows, however.
While the Hollywood couple were in London in 1969 to celebrate the royal premiere of Staircase, Margaret joined them and a group of friends for dinner, and proceeded to “flirt terribly” with Burton.
Burton’s friend Brian Eagles told The Times reported in May last year: “Elizabeth was getting more and more cross as the evening went on because Princess Margaret was flirting terribly with Richard.
“He was flirting back and Elizabeth was getting very perturbed about it.”
There was also an occasion when Margaret branded Elizabeth’s diamond engagement ring from Burton “vulgar”.
Margaret reportedly said: “Is that the famous diamond? It’s so large! How very vulgar”. The actress responded: “Yes. Ain’t it great?”
Princess Diana also didn’t have the best relationship with Elizabeth.
Diana later told biographer Andrew Morton: “I was pregnant with William, and it was agonising because I didn’t find Elizabeth Taylor very easy to talk to. I thought she was stuck-up.
“I’d hoped she’d help me out because she’d been on the stage, in inverted commas, more than I had.”
As for Prince Charles, he appeared to have a better relationship with the star, even he still had a moment of tension with Elizabeth.
It depicted three feathers held together by a crown — but turned down Simpson’s offer to let her copy it.
She felt she had to buy it at the auction in honour of her late friend, once saying, “It’s a royal piece that I save for special occasions because it means so much to me.”
The gesture may not have gone down well with Charles. The Guardian reported Charles had wanted to give it to Diana.