In the fourth season of the The Crown, which is now streaming on Netflix, none other than Imelda Marcos gets a special shout out in a brilliant scene where Princess Margaret, played by the immaculate Helena Bonham Carter, imitates—and lightly mocks—the infamous former first lady.
In the scene, Princess Margaret narrates her state visit to the Philippines where she met Imelda, who wanted to show off her many material things.
“So there we are, in Manila,” she says, “in the middle of a state banquet, when who barges into the room? But none other than Imelda. Marcos. She makes a beeline straight to me and says she’s desperate to show me her—wait for it—”
“Shoe collection,” guesses Princess Anne, played by Erin Doherty.
But Princess Margaret corrects her: “shell collection.”
Prince Philip, played by Tobias Menzies, jokes she might have misunderstood the first lady. Princess Anne and even the Queen, played by Olivia Coleman, join in on the fun and imitate a fake English accent.
Naturally, the internet jumped on the scene, loving every moment of the shade being thrown at the woman who continues to live in infamy.
And in case you're wondering, yes, the two famous historical figures actually did meet in real life during Princess Margaret’s official state visit to the Philippines in April 1980. There’s even a photo of the two of them together of Imelda showing the princess something. But it wasn’t a shoe—or a shell.
There’s no evidence the conversation of the shell collection actually took place, so we can only assume we can attribute this to the show’s creative license.
It’s an open secret that Imelda, for all her glamor and pomp, did not have many fans in diplomatic circles. In a declassified document on WikiLeaks, Henry Kissinger, then the U.S. Secretary of State, once referred to her as “more of a pest than a guest” in a memo to the U.S. Embassy in Manila. Kissinger commented on her "difficult demands," penchant for "poking her nose in difficult matters," and how she “seldom bothered to notify” the State Department when she showed up in the country.
*This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.