Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton ‘lived like members of royal family’

A new book on the infamously decadent couple has claimed Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton lived like “members of the royal family” with a huge entourage of staff and a menagerie of exotic animals.



Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are said to have lived like ‘members of the royal family’
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are said to have lived like ‘members of the royal family’

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are said to have lived like “members of the royal family”.

The actress, who died aged 79 in 2011, years after the passing of actor Richard, 58, in 1984, was famed for her lifelong diva behaviour – and her partner for his wild living and boozing.

New book ‘Erotic Vagrancy: Everything about Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’ by Roger Lewis, which is out on 26 March, now lays bare their decades of decadence and traces the couple’s lives from their origins as actors to their famously troubled marriage.

Roger reveals in the book the pair had a massive entourage including an army of secretaries, butlers, nannies and tutors for their children – as well as lawyers, accountants and veterinarians for their exotic pets.

He says in his book: “They’d take over whole floors of grand hotels so all these people had accommodation.

“But what all this meant was that they never met ordinary people after that. They never mixed with anyone else. It was this very insulated life, rather like, I imagine, members of the royal family.”

Elizabeth and Richard met at a party in the 1950s and were first married from 1964 to 1974 – and later married again from 1975 to 1976.

The couple co-starred in a string of films including 1963’s ‘The V.I.Ps’, ‘Cleopatra’ and ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’

Roger says their lives became extravagant when their acting money started to roll in, especially when it came to indulging Elizabeth’s desire to build up a menagerie of animals including dogs, cats and monkeys – which he says were given free reign during the couple’s outings.

He added: “It didn’t really matter to her that there would be someone having to clear up all this mess, because she had the wherewithal to do that.

“On this yacht of theirs that had very expensive carpets, they just used to be replaced every month or so because all the pets were not housebroken. And she never worried about all of that.

“(Their lifestyle was) very, very expensive to keep going, so they kept having to churn out these crazy films to pay the bills.

“You get trapped in that world of money and you have to earn more money. You can’t let that go.”

But Roger stressed: “I was never, at any stage, appalled by their bad behaviour and their vulgarity.

“I sort of rather admired it, to be so brash.”