ICYMI, the fourth season of The Crown dropped on Netflix yesterday, and while the new episodes are just as full of intrigue and drama as you’d expect, one particular scene has got Pinoy Twitterverse in a tizzy. In the scene, Princess Margaret (played by Helena Bonham Carter), recounts her state visit to Manila, throwing serious shade at Imelda Marcos.
NETFLIX’S THE CROWN SEASON 4 JUST MADE FUN OF IMELDA MARCOS.
Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon & sister of Queen Elizabeth II, met the ex-First Lady back in 1980. Imelda wanted to show her “SHELL COLLECTION” to HRH.
MARAMI RIN PALA SHELLS SI MADAME!😂 pic.twitter.com/ZFyur9ntG2
— Francis Baraan IV (@MrFrankBaraan) November 16, 2020
While The Crown is based on real events (yup, Princess Margaret did meet Imelda back in 1980), we don’t know if the royals did actually laugh about the former first lady like this behind closed doors. However, it’s not completely far-fetched, as there are quite a few accounts of Imelda rubbing members of the upper crust, political elite, and rockstars the wrong way. Here are just a few of those instances.
The Upside Down Tiara
The Shah of Iran asked Imelda Marcos not to wear a tiara. In 1971, the Shah had the 2,500th Anniv. of the Persian Empire. While Imelda was having her tiara set, she was told only Titled Ladies are allowed to wear a tiara. Imelda wore her tiara at the back of the head upside down pic.twitter.com/U7U70a8FTD
— Your Daily Dose (@SaltAndReality) October 5, 2020
In 1971, Imelda was invited to a celebration marking the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire. According to Myles A. Garcia in his book Thirty Years Later . . . Catching Up with the Marcos-Era Crimes, Imelda wanted to wear a tiara.
Garcia says that Imelda had brought along her own hairdresser, but due to logistics, she had to make to with the hairdresser supplied by the Iranians. She allegedly ordered the hairdresser to use a tiara, but a protocol officer informed her that only ladies with actual titles were allowed to wear tiaras or crowns (and the party would have more than a few royals in attendance).
“Imelda got the hint but she was reportedly so miffed that she summarily ordered the hairdresser out and ordered her maid to stick the ‘tiara’ on the back of her head,” Garcia wrote.
Gatecrashing the Sydney Opera House Inauguration
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam with Margaret Whitlam and Imelda Marcos, at the opening of the Sydney Opera House, 1973 pic.twitter.com/5JXDow4mgZ
— Canberra Insider (@CanberraInsider) November 29, 2019
In a December 1976 memo addressed to the then-US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, it was revealed that Imelda had invited herself to the inauguration of the Sydney Opera House, “where she made [an] effort [to] upstage the Queen.” How exactly she did that isn’t clear, but some have said that she had attempted to wear a tiara to the event — when Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t wearing one at all.
Waiting for the Spanish dictator to die
Rafael Gosico Morales, Imelda Marcos y Augusto Pinochet en el funeral de Franco (EFE). pic.twitter.com/IzoZMLAQ7D
— Jot Down Magazine (@JotDownSpain) October 24, 2019
In January 1976, American columnist Jack Anderson said in a Good Morning America broadcast that Imelda was hanging around New York City, waiting for the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco to die so she could attend his funeral in Madrid.
“She loitered around New York City for a number of days with little to do. A confidential report on her visit claims she was waiting for Spain’s dictator Franco to die so she could fly to Madrid for the funeral. She likes the pomp and ceremony of such international occasions,” Anderson said.
His words were documented by Kissinger in an official memo.
“She’s… regarded more as a pest than a guest.”
First Lady Betty Ford, center, greets Mrs. Imelda Marcos, left, wife of the Philippine President, and her daughter, Imce at the White House in Washington on this date November 19 in 1975. Photo: AP. #OTD pic.twitter.com/qjZrBnAwS9
— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) November 19, 2019
In the same January 1976 report, Anderson said that while Imelda was waiting for Franco’s death in New York (see above item), she asked for an audience with President Ford, and when things didn’t turn out her way, she allegedly threw a fit. Said Anderson:
“She asked to be received at the White House. There was bickering over schedules, but a 45-minute tea break was arranged with Betty Ford. Imelda showed up, but was detained at the White House gate. Someone had failed to notify the guard. She was furious. Then, President Ford neglected to drop by to greet her at the tea session. She became more furious. Finally, the two first ladies exchanged gifts. Imelda was so disappointed in her gift that she left it behind. She was literally sputtering with rage, according to my sources, when she flies back to the Philippines.”
Anderson also said that the State Department “hated” dealing with Imelda:
“…The protocol people at the State Department grit their teeth every time she shows up in the United States. She seldom bothers to notify them. She simply arrives unannounced. Then, she starts making difficult demands and poking her nose into delicate matters. She’s come to be regarded more as a pest than a guest.”
Kissinger made no comment on Anderson’s report.
An unwanted guest
In a December 1976 memo, the US State Department noted reports from the Philippine media that Imelda was invited to Jimmy Carter’s presidential inauguration, when in fact, she hadn’t been invited at all.
“While we still have no reports on Mrs. Marcos’ alleged contacts with incoming or prospective members of President-elect’s administration, guidelines provided strongly suggest that there [is] no invitation.”
The State Department also noted that Imelda had attempted to invite herself to the Nixon inauguration in 1968.
— J U B Z (@heyDYUBZ) May 12, 2016
Soon after the Marcos dictatorship was overthrown, the Marcoses’ belongings in their Manhattan townhouse were auctioned off. According to the New York Times, the auction “was a sociological event as much as a commercial one.”
Isaac Tigrett, an owner of the Hard Rock Cafe, bought throw pillows that had “pithy” epigrams like “Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere,” “Nouveau richer is better than no richer at all,” and “To be rich is no longer a sin, it’s a miracle.”
In the New York Times article, Tigrett was quoted saying, “Her taste has been explained to the world and these pillows represent what she must be all about, secretly.”
Why the Beatles “hated” the Philippines
This is an event that Filipino Beatles fans will forever curse the Marcoses for. In 1966, the Beatles were taken by the military police straight from the airport to a private yacht party with Manila’s upper crust. When they returned to their rooms at the Hotel Manila, it was early morning and they were exhausted. They were scheduled to play afternoon and evening shows later that day but were woken up by banging on their door.
“There was a lot of panic going on outside,” George Harrison said in the documentary TV series Anthology. “Somebody came into the room and said, ‘Come on! You’re supposed to be at the palace.’ We said, ‘What are you talking about? We’re not going to any palace.'”
Apparently, the show promoter had promised the Marcoses that the group would attend a breakfast reception with them, top government officials, and 300 of their children. Their manager Brian Epstein told the promoter that it wasn’t happening because the group didn’t want to be involved with the country’s politics, but the Marcoses weren’t going to take “no” for an answer.
“We put the TV on, and there was a horrific TV show of Madame Marcos screaming, ‘They’ve let me down!'” Ringo Starr recounted. “There were all these shots with the cameraman focusing on empty plates and up into the little kids’ faces, all crying because the Beatles hadn’t turned up.”
The Beatles performed the two shows as planned in front of over 80,000 fans, but when they were about to leave the Philippines the next day, the media had turned on them. “It was ‘BEATLES SNUB FIRST FAMILY’ – that’s how they decided to present it,” Harrison said.
The group’s police protection disappeared and at the airport, porters refused to help with their equipment, the band members were jostled in the lounge, and their road manager was beaten up. The Beatles decided never to return to the Philippines, and they never have.
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