The Beatles’ associations with royalty first began when they appeared on the Royal Variety Show at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London on November 4 1963 in the presence of the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. This was the occasion when John Lennon made his famous remark to the audience – "On this next number, I want you all to join in. Would those in the cheap seats clap their hands? The rest of you can rattle your jewellery".
She told them she’d enjoyed the show and asked them where they would be performing next. They said "Slough." "Ah," she said, delighted, "That’s near us." When she was asked to comment on the Beatles, she said "They are so fresh and vital. I simply adore them."
Prince Philip called them "good chaps." On March 23, 1964, he presented the Beatles with two Carl-Alan Awards at the Empire Ballroom, Leicester Square and chatted with John Lennon about books.
The member of the Royal Family most associated with the Beatles is Princess Margaret, whom John Lennon referred to in one of his books as Priceless Margarine.
On July 6, 1964, the Princess and Lord Snowdon attended the premiere of A Hard Day’s Night at the London Pavilion. After, there was a private party at the Dorchester Hotel and the Princess and Lord Snowdon dropped by with some friends. The Princess and her entourage seemed to be enjoying themselves when George Harrison approached Walter Shenson, the film’s producer, and asked: "When are we going to eat?"
Shenson told him they couldn’t possibly eat until Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon had left. "Just be patient," he said. After another 15 minutes had elapsed, George walked up to the Princess and said: "Your Highness, we really are hungry and we can’t eat until you two go."
"I see," said the Princess. "Well, in that case, we’d better run."
At the Carl-Alan Awards, on March 8, 1965, once again held at the Empire Ballroom, Leicester Square, Princess Margaret presented a Beat Group Award to Brian Epstein on behalf of the Beatles. Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon once again attended a Beatles premiere on July 29, 1965, when Help! was unveiled at the London Pavilion.
On Tuesday March 4, 1969, Princess Margaret made an unscheduled visit to Twickenham Film Studios to watch Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers during the filming of The Magic Christian. She remained on the set from 11am until 5pm. Other visitors to the set that day were Paul and Linda McCartney. Paul and the Princess spent most of the afternoon in conversation together.
The Beatles were awarded their MBEs on October 26 1965.
The announcement that the group would be awarded them was made on June 11, 1965, and the Beatles held a press conference the following day at Twickenham Film Studios to discuss it. George was to comment: "I didn’t think you got that sort of thing, just for playing rock ‘n’ roll music." The next day, the first of many awards by disgruntled previous recipients was returned to the Palace. On the other hand, hundreds wrote to Harold Wilson and the Queen expressing their approval.