Succession's Brian Cox Recalls Being "Touched Up" by Princess Margaret

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Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

After nearly six decades in Hollywood, Brian Cox has accumulated his share of stories. And in a 2020 interview with the Guardian, the veteran actor dropped more than a few stranger-than-fiction tales.

The most headline-grabbing of the bunch had to do with none other than Princess Margaret, a master of memorable encounters. "I was at the Royal Court," Cox recalled, painting the scene. "I was doing a play with Alan Bates and it was my 23rd birthday and I’d been given a red shirt from Lindsay Anderson. I’d just washed my hair so I was sort of glistening, heh heh heh, and I walked in and was introduced to her. She put her fingers on my shirt, and said: ‘This is a lovely shirt.’ And she started to run her fingers down the inside of my shirt. And I went: Uh oh! What do you do when you’re being touched up by a royal?"

Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images

A good question. The young Cox, though, handled it expertly. "It was so funny. James Bolam, he could see what was going on and started going ‘Ooooh’ out of the side of his mouth, which somehow said princess didn’t take in at all. She just kept saying: ‘You were so wonderfully hooded on stage. I wanted to know more about you …’ She was an extraordinary creature. I excused myself and said: ‘Thank you, ma’am,’ and it came to a natural end."

That doesn't mean Cox is a royal fan, though. Speaking about similarities the Trumps shared with Succession's Roy family, the actor quickly pointed to his country's own literal dynasty. "Entitlement is just such an awful thing, and it’s the same in our country with [Prince] Andrew," he said. "I mean, what an idiot, what an outstanding dumb fuck: ‘I don’t know who that young woman was, and I don’t sweat.’ It’s ridiculous! I’m so cross with the idiocy of what we allow. It just shows how ridiculous the notion of monarchy is."

Ridiculous, perhaps, but enjoyable nonetheless. Cox had to admit he's into The Crown. "I love it!" Cox said of the Netflix series. "I resisted it for ever and a day and then I started to watch it and it was like heroin. I was completely hooked—and that’s how they get you."

That, and a choice meeting with Princess Margaret.

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