When Marilyn Met The Queen by Michelle Morgan
A new book by Michelle Morgan is always a delight! I have read quite a few of hers including her wonderful biographies of Carole Lombard and Thelma Todd, but it’s always particularly exciting when she writes a book on Marilyn Monroe.
I have been a huge fan of Marilyn’s since watching Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1987 and out of the fifty-plus books I have read about her, my all-time favourite is Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed which came out in hardback in 2007, is written by Michelle Morgan and for me, is the best book ever written about her. (The paperback edition, revised and extended, came out in 2012.)
So I was really looking forward to reading her new book When Marilyn Met The Queen, especially as this time hasn’t been covered much before. Marilyn came over to England in July 1956, with her husband Arthur Miller, to film The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier.
As with all of Michelle’s books, this one is thoroughly researched with pages of sources used at the back of the book. There have been some cheap, nasty, scandalous books written about Marilyn over the years which should never have been published, but Michelle’s work is the opposite, it’s always respectful, truthful and treats Marilyn how she should have always been treated. We see Marilyn’s true personality and intelligence coming through in Michelle’s words; Marilyn was never the “dumb blonde” she was painted as, but that image was convenient for the film industry who wanted to sell movies purely on MM’s sex appeal and not concentrate on her incredible acting talents. (You only have to watch The Misfits or Don’t Bother To Knock to see her ability as a serious actor.)
In all her books, Michelle Morgan’s research interviews people who have been rarely heard before, which makes the books even more fascinating and gives a brand new glimpse into her subjects. Here, we read about Marilyn and Arthur’s flight to England, the press conferences, where they lived for the duration of their stay and all the behind-the-scenes information from the filming. We see Marilyn as a woman who is very insecure, scared of dinner parties and getting her lines wrong, always trying her hardest but often defeated by her anxieties.
It is a beautiful book, it nearly made me cry and I would definitely recommend it.
9.5 out of 10