Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on Set for The V.I.P.s (1963)
Today is the Ides of March (at time of publication), the day on which Caesar was famously killed by Brutus in the Roman senate. It’s perhaps fitting then, that the most infamous couple to share an anniversary with this inauspicious day would have had a doomed relationship. On March 15, 1964, Elizabeth Taylor wed Richard Burton. Ten years later, the pair filed for divorce. In 1975, they married briefly again. But for well over a decade, they were the world’s most well-known, and talked-about, couple.
Taylor and Burton met on the set of the 1963 film Cleopatra. (Taylor played the title role, while Burton inhabited Mark Antony. Meaning of course, that they were not exactly ignorant when it came to Caesar’s history.) Taylor was at the time married to Eddie Fisher, her fourth husband. (Fisher in turn had memorably left Debbie Reynolds the Singin’ in the Rain actress with whom he had two children, including Carrie Fisher, to be with Taylor.)
Taylor and Burton’s affair caused a worldwide scandal, and was condemned by the Vatican. Their union, however, was not to be stopped. On the day of her wedding to Burton, Taylor wore a cascade of flower-entwined braids and a short, ’60s-style dress. Taylor’s ring was later overshadowed by the so-called Taylor-Burton diamond, which Burton gifted to her in 1969. The gem was notoriously valued at one million dollars, and was cut by Harry Winston himself. A rock that went on to prove that diamonds last forever—even if unions do not.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on set for Cleopatra (1963)
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, January 1964.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on their wedding day in Montreal, Canada, March 1964.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on set for The Sandpiper (1965)
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor with their children, Michael Wilding, Chistopher Wilding, Elisabeth Todd, and Maria Burton, 1967.
Elizabeth shows off the 33.19 carat diamond that Richard gave her five years into their marriage, May 1968.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Israel, 1975.
The second marriage of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on October 10, 1975.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in New York.