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When Marilyn Met the Queen: Marilyn Monroe's Life in England

Michelle Morgan

8 Reviews

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Biography: arts & entertainment

In July 1956, Marilyn Monroe arrived in London, on honeymoon with her husband Arthur Miller, to make The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier. It was meant to be a happy time, but it didn't turn out that way.

'England? It seemed to be raining the whole time . . . Or maybe it was me'
MARILYN MONROE

In July 1956, Marilyn Monroe arrived in London, on honeymoon with her husband Arthur Miller, to make The Sleeping Prince (later released as The Prince and the Showgirl) with Laurence Olivier.

When the couple arrived at London Airport, they were looking forward to a peaceful stay. Marilyn would work during the day at Pinewood Studios, while Arthur would write. Then, in the evening, the couple would be able to relax together in their private English country cottage. It didn't quite turn out that way.

The 'cottage' was actually a mansion, which belonged to Lord Drogheda, the managing director of the Financial Times. Raised in tiny hotel rooms and apartments, Marilyn felt herself being watched. She was, by Lord Drogheda's servants, who were selling stories to the papers.

When filming began, it was a disaster. Director Joshua Logan had written to Olivier, offering advice on how to handle Marilyn as an actress, but Olivier ignored him. Instead, he condescended to her in his introduction to the cast, pooh-poohed her views on acting, and dismissed her stage-fright as an inconvenience. Marilyn grew to hate Olivier with a passion; the feeling was mutual.

Marilyn found herself torn between settling into married life, being a curiosity for the frequently hostile British press, and her work on The Prince and the Showgirl. She took solace in small acts of kindness from members of the public, and a new fascination with Queen Elizabeth.

Marilyn made a point of adopting some of the Queen's favourite brands, buying gloves from Cornelia James, perfume from Floris, and switching from Chanel No. 5 to Yardley's Lavender. Marilyn made a point of asking the film's PR manager to add a royal meeting to her schedule, but each day Olivier would delete the request.

Michelle Morgan describes Marilyn's trip to late-1950s' Britain in evocative detail, exploring the making of the film alongside the film star's troubled private life and her quest to meet the Queen.

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Praise for When Marilyn Met the Queen: Marilyn Monroe's Life in England

  • Praise for the author's Private and Undisclosed: A gorgeous collection offering a fascinating insight into Monroe's personal life. - Woman and Home

  • Praise for the author's The Girl: 'The Girl truly is a must-have. If I had my way, it would be on the shelf of every person in the world. - Classic Blondes

  • Praise for the author's Madonna: A must-have for fans of the Queen of pop, this gorgeous tome by Michelle Morgan charts the singer's career and features more than 200 photographs.

  • Praise for the author's The Body Beneath the Flagstones, and Other Victorian Scandals: This is a great book for dipping into . . . the cases themselves are written engagingly and with appealing dramatization of key events. - Crime Review

  • Praise for the author's The Girl: This compelling portrait of Marilyn Monroe reveals the layers of her private self. Michelle Morgan proves that the star was much more than a decorative blonde.

  • Praise for the author's The Body Beneath the Flagstones, and Other Victorian Scandals: Ghoulishly entertaining. - The Times Literary Supplement

  • Praise for the author's Private and Undisclosed: A touching portrayal of the star in her more private moments. - Empire

  • Praise for the author's Madonna: If there is a book that you need to include in your Madonna collection, it is this one. - Madonna Underground

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Michelle Morgan

MICHELLE MORGAN is the author or co-author of nine books about Marilyn Monroe, including Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed. Rights in Michelle's books have sold to Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, South Korea and Macedonia. She has written for magazines and newspapers, including Yours Retro, Sunday Express, The Lady, Big Issue, Emirates Woman, Writing Magazine, Social and Personal and Yoga Magazine. Michelle lives in Northamptonshire.

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