Skip to main content

Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, had a reputation for being a free spirit who loved her affluence, but also enjoyed partying. In her youth, she frequented nightclubs, hung out on the art scene, and traveled around the world for both social and official reasons.

If you’ve checked out any documentaries about the late princess, you’ll learn that she was sometimes known to be impatient or make impolite remarks. That combination of being fun-loving and direct led to a friendship with one particular member of a ‘60s girl group.

Princess Margaret and the Supremes
Princess Margaret and the Supremes (l-r) Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Cindy Birdsong, 1968 | Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

That time the Supremes performed for the royal family

In 1968, the Motown trio that made up the Supremes—Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Cindy Birdsong—had been soaring in popularity around the world. Their music was loved so much globally that the Supremes were invited to sing that year at the Royal Variety Performance.

An archived record of the event curated by the Royal Variety Charity shows that guests in attendance included Princess Anne, Prince Charles, the Earl of Snowdon, Princess Margaret, and the Queen Mother. Though it wasn’t the first time the group performed in London—which was in 1965—it was the first time the ladies met the British royal family. At the conclusion of the show, the Supremes and other acts lined up to shake hands and hobnob with the royals.

Princess Margaret had one question

During an appearance on SiriusXM’s Radio Andy, Mary Wilson spoke about her interaction with Princess Margaret at the show. She said that as the royals filed past the receiving line to greet them, the princess stopped in front of her and asked her if she was wearing a wig.

Wilson wasn’t quite sure how to process the unexpected remark, and the look on her face expressed just that. The photo made the rounds in the media at the time.

But she added that the experience taught her that people “are just people” and although everyone has their quirks and ways, it’s normal. Wilson then said that she and Princess Margaret became best friends and the royal’s personality stayed that way.

When speaking on the Dan Wootton podcast, she also stated that Princess Margaret never meant to embarrass her in that moment, but it just caught her off guard:

“We became great friends. It was just that first meeting. It was like she acted like she knew me for ages and something that you would say at a backyard party. So I was very taken aback by it but I got over it.”

Wilson dropped a new book this year

Wilson wrote about this meeting in her 1986 autobiography, Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme, but she also released a new book last month titled Supreme Glamour. Reviewers say that although this one doesn’t feature tell-all or gossipy stories, Wilson does bring up the Princess Margaret anecdote in this the fashion-focused publication.

While discussing the book and her adventures as a Supreme, Wilson has been speaking about the group’s style. She said that part of their look was supposed to be glamorous and over the top, and that explained why they wore wigs and false eyelashes.

Wilson also revealed that a documentary about her life is coming soon, and fans now wonder if it will address the singer’s first meet and relationship with Princess Margaret.