by Tom McBride

The Mindset List of Queen Elizabeth Monroe:

Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend

They’ve never been together before—until now. They are arguably the two most iconic women on the planet after World War II. Nearly eighty years on, few on the globe would not recognize their images. They are both royals, albeit in different modes. They both proved, and continue to prove, the enduring truth that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, whether on the head or around the neck.

1 Both were born 40 days apart in 1926, the future British queen as Elizabeth Windsor and the future Hollywood queen as Norma Jean Mortenson.

2 Marilyn took as her surname the American president who declared an American empire in Latin America; Elizabeth ruled over a fading empire across the globe.

3 No one, as far as is known, ever called Elizabeth Liz—until now.

4 Few expected Liz to become queen, as her father was a shy second in line for the throne—and even fewer expected Norma Jean to become Marilyn.

5 Marilyn met Liz in 1956, but there is no record of what, if anything, they discussed.

6 Liz knew Winston Churchill well, while Marilyn and Churchill are joined together in a legendary joke.

7 Marilyn said, “we should wed, what with my looks and your brains,” prompting Winston to say that the other way around would be a disaster.

8 Liz and Marilyn are among the most iconic women in history: monarchs of mass media.

9 Liz has had her royal portrait painted many times but has never appeared on an Andy Warhol silkscreen.

10 Liz was born a brunette and never dyed her hair blonde.

11 Marilyn’s platinum blonde dye has been described as emphasizing her “whiteness,” while Liz got pushback from former colonies over white repression.

12 Marilyn won her iconography by dying young, while Liz won hers by living sixty years longer.

13 Liz appeared many times in public, but they are far less remembered than is her overall image; Marilyn likewise made few memorable films but has an image that has outlived them all.

14 Both Liz and Marilyn were consummate actors, but if Liz hated having been pushed into various roles, she never complained, unlike Marilyn, who complained all the time.

15 Liz proved that much of life is just showing up on time, while Marilyn proved that a successful acting life could be pursued while often not showing up at all.

16 Both Liz and Marilyn proved, albeit in different ways, that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

17 Marilyn’s second husband, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, was openly envious of Marilyn’s fame, but while Philip sometimes chafed in his role, divorce was never in the cards for those who truly do their duty.

18 In her late teens, Marilyn, frequently an orphan, developed a stutter, like Liz’s father George, who was never an orphan except in the emotional sense.

19 Had Marilyn not died when she did, she would have become an aging and forgotten Hollywood ex-star.

20 Had Liz died when Marilyn did, she would be recalled as a minor British monarch succeeded by a regency charged with helping her fourteen-year-old son Charles emerge, in time, as a king who loved plants.

21 Both Liz and Marilyn came into their own in 1952, when Liz became queen and Marilyn began to get bigger Hollywood roles as an up-and-coming screen presence.

22 Liz’sbrand was dignified solidity, while Marilyn’s was approachable sexuality (though Marilyn, like Liz, kept her distance from the adoring public).

23 Marilyn made a movie comeback in THE SEVEN-YEAR ITCH, while Liz’s son Charles suffered from it in his marriage.

24 Marilyn’s great sex scandal was that she had once, when strapped for cash, posed nude for calendars, while Liz’s great sex scandal came from one of her sons, dubbed Randy Andy.

25 Liz had trained for her role all her life, while Marilyn trained for hers via acting classes off and on throughout her life.

26 Liz was born to her role of hand-waving and speechifying, while Marilyn, who believed in Method Acting, sometimes thought she had to live a role before she could play it and once worked in a fish cannery in order to prep for a part.

27 Being funny was never in Liz’s job description; when Marilyn was asked what she had on while posing, she said it was the radio.

28 Liz was the epitome of the always regal brunette; Marilyn was the epitome of the seemingly naive blonde.

29 Liz expressed personal melancholy in public only once, when she gave her “Annus Horribilis” speech in 1992, while Marilyn, not schooled in stiff upper lips, was, thirty years before, suicidally depressed.

30 Liz was the daughter of a King, while Marilyn acted with a legend, Laurence Olivier, who played Henry V and Richard III.

31 Marilyn, in the ribald cheesecake of the 50s, was the un-Grace Kelly; Liz and Grace were both solemn European princesses.

32 Liz and Marilyn were both mere human beings onto whom millions projected meaning: onto Liz, during Covid, British pluck in the 1940s; onto Marilyn’s death the first dark chapter of the 1960s.  

33 As nearly all of Liz’s appearances were live events, she had few chances for do-overs, while Tony Curtis said Marilyn insisted on so many re-takes that kissing her during one scene was like kissing Hitler.

34 During World War II Marilyn worked in a munitions plant, while Liz drove an army transport jeep.

35 Liz’s physical body was secondary to her institutional body—with Marilyn it was dramatically the other way around.

36 Liz’s grandfather and father—and Liz herself–were both determined td be boring as a welcome contrast to their louche predecessors, but it was impossible for Marilyn to be a bore.

37 Neither Liz nor Marilyn had a lot of formal education, but both were periodically autodidactic:  Liz in constitutional history and Marilyn in French existentialism.

38 When she turned 11, Liz knew she would be queen someday; when Marilyn was 11, she began going to movies: an escape from being bounced around among her mother, an orphanage, and a parade of relatives.

39 Liz’s uncle abandoned the throne; Marilyn’s father abandoned her—both men left deep imprints.

40 In the mid-50s three-quarters of Australians turned out to see Liz, while one quarter of American soldiers stationed in Korea turned out to see Marilyn.

41 In the late 50s Marilyn married a left-wing intellectual; Liz, though of Tory background, liked left-wing prime ministers best of all.

42 In her twenties Liz’s reign sunk from Empire to Commonwealth; Marilyn, in hers, rose from bit player to celluloid legend.

43 There were a few anti-royalist attempts, failed, to remove Liz’s head from British stamps; there were studio attempts, also failed, to remove Marilyn, chronically late, from making movies.

44 Despite other studios trotting out Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren as Marilyn pretenders, she was never displaced as THE iconic blonde, while Liz’s fame was displaced by her star-quality daughter-in-law Diana.

45 Marilyn sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy in a tight dress that made her look semi-nude, while, during the previous spring, in a more dignified occasion, JFK was the first American president to visit Liz at Buckingham Palace—she did not sing “Hail to the Chief.”

46 When she broke up with DiMaggio, Marilyn cried in public; when Diana died, the British public asked that Liz “show that she cared.”

47 Marilyn, always a Californian, forged her own path; when Liz’s grand daughter-in-law Meghan did that and moved to California, Liz disapproved.

48 They both proved that flawed and living persons can become enduring symbols.

49 Neither was ever underdressed when the cameras rolled.

50 Liz was replaced by a man; Marilyn could never be.

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