He May Be 'just a Peasant,' but Boy George Throws a Royal Fit After His Royal Rebuff

updated 06/18/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/18/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

He sported black sequins under a shocking pink overcoat; she wore a conservative print in green and white. Yet when Boy George met up with Princess Margaret at a radio industry awards dinner in London, more than their outfits clashed. Perhaps thinking that Culture Club was a student organization at Oxford, the Princess dispensed a polite handshake and moved on. But when pressed to pose beside the hefty stranger with the raccoon eyes and the ripe tomato-red lips, 53-year-old Meg recoiled. "I don't know who he is," she sniffed, according to reporters on the scene, "but he looks like an over-made-up tart. I don't want to be photographed with him."

No Karma Chameleon, Boy later snapped, "It's her royal prerogative if she doesn't want to talk to me—I'm just a peasant." Next day the tabloids tittered over Margaret's "Culture Snub," and Kensington Palace issued a curt denial that the Princess had uttered the offending words.

But even if she didn't really want to hurt him, Boy was bruised. "If I was rude to her, I would apologize," he said, though a spokesman later took pains to explain that this was not an actual demand for an apology. Perhaps blowing his chance to become Sir Boy some day, the star continued: "I don't think I'm special, but I do object to having been called a tart. It's a damn cheek—I bring more money into this country than she does. Princess Margaret went to school for elocution and I come from the gutter, which just goes to show you can't buy manners. She's not a happy person. It shows in her face."

Boy wasn't just hissing to be clever. His pride was wounded as only that of a six-footer with streaked tresses, eye shadow and blush on can be. As he told PEOPLE earlier this year, "I don't think I look like a woman. No one has ever mistaken me for a woman, ever." Pop's leading gender bender argued that his putting on a happy face is really not so odd: "A priest can wear a dress because men do wear dresses and it's part of their culture. One of the most stupid things about England is that most of their culture is based on a very eccentric and almost homosexual kind of style. People like King Charles—they didn't wash, they wore makeup the whole time, they wore wigs, they were filthy."

Not to worry. Mom Diana O'Dowd reports that her Boy, bouncing back, is "too busy working on his new album" to dwell further on his royal rebuff. In fact, he and his three bandmates have been toiling from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on their third LP (Wake Up, the House Is on Fire, due in the fall), pausing only to move Boy from a flat in Chelsea to a house he bought in North London where he will have room to unpack his prized collection of dolls and antique books. This week a statue of the singer is due to be unveiled in Madame Tussaud's Waxworks, where the Royal Family is also on display. Thus, Boy George and Princess Margaret—or at least their likenesses—are destined to meet once again.

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