Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 15:59 UK
Marilyn Monroe in Surrey: Timeline
By Heather Driscoll-Woodford
BBC Surrey

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller
En route to a party at "Little Court" in Windlesham, home of Terence Rattigan

Marilyn Monroe only came to the UK once in her lifetime, for four months in the summer of 1956.

She was here to film what became The Prince and the Showgirl, with Sir Laurence Olivier.

She lived in Parkside House on a large country estate in Englefield Green for the entire stay.

Accounts differ to how she spent her time in Surrey. Now we are attempting to fill in the gaps using local memories and accounts of her visit.


29 June: Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller hold a press conference in Roxbury, Connecticut at Miller's parent's home, to announce their engagement. Later the same day, they cross the state line to White Plains, New York and marry in a secret civil ceremony.

1 July: They marry again in a Jewish ceremony at the home of Miller's agent Kay Brown in Waccabuc, Westchester.

14 July: Marilyn Monroe and new husband Arthur arrive at London Airport (now Heathrow) at 10.40am. They are travelling with 27 pieces of luggage, which costs them $1,500 in excess baggage fees.

They are met by her new co-star Sir Laurence Olivier and his actress wife Vivien Leigh, in an airside reception and press conference.

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller
The Millers in the grounds of Parkside House in Windlesham

They are taken on to Parkside House in Wick Lane, Englefield Green, which is to be their home for the next four months, while Marilyn films The Sleeping Prince (working title) with Olivier.

Another, this time unofficial, press photo opportunity, again with Olivier and Leigh, is held at Parkside, showing the Millers in the doorway of Parkside. Looking tired but happy, they are still in the clothes they were wearing on their arrival from the States.

15 July: The Millers are photographed relaxing in the grounds of Parkside House. They are shown dressed ready for a press conference later that evening at the Savoy Hotel in London.

The press conference at the Hotel is to publicise the Marilyn Monroe Productions film. The chair she sat on during the evening was auctioned as part of the Savoy Hotel's refurbishment sale, 51 years later in 2007.

16 July: After a third official press conference, again at the Savoy Hotel, the Millers have lunch at luxury hotel Claridges in Mayfair.

17 July: Marilyn and Arthur and Olivier attend a performance of Noel Coward's South Sea Bubble at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue in London.

The play stars the English actor's wife Vivien Leigh as Sandra, but Monroe unwittingly upstages her after word spreads that the Hollywood film star is present and the police are called to control the crowd.

18 July: Rehearsals begin for The Sleeping Prince.

Marilyn is 'spotted' in Stratford Upon Avon, but it later turns out the woman seen was not the Hollywood star but a lookalike

24 July: Marilyn and Arthur attend a house party at "Little Court" in the neighbouring village of Windlesham, Surrey, on the invitation of the house's owner, actor Terence Rattigan.

PC 607 Jack Packham from Bagshot police station is on duty at the gates to keep out uninvited guests. He doesn't recognise the famous pair and almost turns them away. The constable is reported as telling Marilyn's private detective "I'm sorry sir, I don't know the lady."

7 August: Filming starts for The Sleeping Prince.

13 August: The Daily Express run an exclusive story on Marilyn and Arthur who are spotted cycling in Windsor Great Park, which is yards from their new Surrey home.

According to the report, the Millers cycle to Smith's Lawn to watch a polo match, with bystanders commenting that Monroe "doesn't look very stable" on the bicycle. Arthur is alleged to have replied "Don't you worry about that. She's far better on a bike than I am".

24 August: Marilyn goes shopping in London's Regent Street. Her butler at Parkside and his wife, the cook are fired.

25 August: Marilyn is taken ill. Rumours of a suspected miscarriage are never proved.

26 August: Arthur Miller flies back to Idlewild Airport in America to see his children by a previous marriage.

5 September: Arthur returns to Surrey, and his wife.

7 September: Marilyn and Arthur attend a Bertolt Brecht play, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, performed by the Berliner Ensemble entirely in German, at the Palace Theatre, London.

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller
Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller arrived in England in July '56

9 September:

Arthur Miller holds a press conference at The Comedy Theatre in London to publicise his latest play "A View From The Bridge". Marilyn attends too.

11 October: The couple attend The Comedy Theatre in London for the first night of Miller's play. They sit with her film co-star Sir Laurence Olivier and his wife Vivien Leigh.

Marilyn is introduced backstage, to some of the cast and crew including actor Ian Bannen, actor-director Anthony Quayle and stage director Peter Brook.

16 October: Someone pretending to be Marilyn keeps dress designer Norman Hartnell waiting for an appointment.

20 October: The 'fake Marilyn' strikes again! This time it's dressmakers that are kept waiting for the star.

27 October: Marilyn is introduced to Dame Edith Sitwell at The Sesame Club on Grosvenor Street in London.

29 October: Marilyn and husband Arthur Miller attend the at the Royal Film Performance of "The Battle of the River Plate" at The Empire, Leicester Square, London. Although not starring in the film, Marilyn is invited to join the line-up next to actor Victor Mature, to meet Queen Elizabeth II.

31 October: Someone claiming to be Marilyn contacts singer Tommy Steele.

16 November: Marilyn finishes filming.

18 November: The Millers attend a disussion on drama at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, London.

20 November: Marilyn leaves England on a Pan American flight, from London Airport.

With thanks to local historian Ken Clarke and Michelle Morgan, author of 'Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed'

Filming is due to start in Summer 2010 on 'My Week With Marilyn', a film directed by Simon Curtis , written by Adrian Hodges, with BBC Films.


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific