Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret have been very completely different ladies who shared a ‘primal bond’


Lilibet was 10 and Margaret was six when a accident turned these minor aristocrats into the inheritor and the spare.

By rank, the sisters ought to have led an opulent life on the royal periphery, akin to that of princesses Beatrice and Eugenie within the current day. 

However on December 11, 1936, their childless uncle abdicated the throne and hurtled them in the direction of their new future.

Lilibet was to grow to be Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and one of the vital vital ladies in historical past.

Margaret, a woman with a glowing wit and a yearning for the highlight, would spend the remainder of her life in her beloved sister’s shadow.

Their variations might have pushed them aside. Like so many royal siblings all through historical past, the crown might have come between them. 

King George VI mentioned of his daughters: “Elizabeth is my pleasure, and Margaret is my pleasure”. (Wikimedia Commons)

However these ladies shared a “primal bond”, in response to biographer Andrew Morton. 

“Margaret was her sister’s alter ego,” he wrote in Elizabeth and Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters. 

“All through their lives Elizabeth and Margaret butted heads — the smart, older sister matched with the mischievous, wilful little sister.”

However their devotion could be examined by a doomed romance, a looming constitutional disaster and a string of scandals. 

Two very completely different ladies 

The Home of Windsor has a historical past of manufacturing a dutiful, conservative inheritor adopted by an enthralling, barely harmful, sibling. 

“Charles the affected person versus Andrew the silly. William the cautious matched in opposition to reckless Harry,” Andrew Morton mentioned. 

Princess Margaret mentioned she and her sister have been usually diminished to archetypes match for a fairytale. 

A young Queen Elizabeth speaking into a microphone on a desk while little Princess Margaret looks on
Princess Margaret mentioned her sister was thought of as a saintly queen whereas she was solid because the “malicious” one. (Wikimedia Commons )

“When there are two sisters, and one is the Queen, who should be the supply of all honour and all that’s good, the opposite should be the main target of essentially the most inventive malice, the evil sister,” she mentioned. 

Regardless of an uncanny bodily resemblance, they have been terribly completely different folks.

Elizabeth’s morning adopted a strict routine match for a monarch: Awoken by bagpipes, she would take tea alone earlier than settling all the way down to learn her correspondence and the federal government paperwork requiring her approval.

Against this, her sister rose at 9:00am, chain-smoked in mattress and took a shower run by her ladies-in-waiting.

After having her hair and make-up executed, she made her manner downstairs for a “vodka pick-me-up” at midday.

She would then be a part of her mom for a “four-course lunch served in an off-the-cuff method from silver dishes with half a bottle of wine per particular person, plus fruit and half a dozen completely different styles of native and continental cheeses.”

Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret as young women, dressed in trenchcoats
Elizabeth and Margaret have been very shut, retaining a direct cellphone line between their palaces so they may speak every time they needed. (Wikimedia Commons: Ian Pretorius assortment)

The Queen spent many years mastering the artwork of small speak with 1000’s of individuals at backyard events and state dinners. 

However her little sister was higher identified for wild home events throughout which she sang, performed piano, danced, gossiped, and downed costly Scotch. 

“Disobedience is my pleasure,” she as soon as instructed French filmmaker Jean Cocteau. 

She smoked a lot, in response to her biographer Craig Brown, that she would glue a matchbook to her whisky tumbler “in order that she might strike matches whereas consuming”. 

She blended with a crowd of British celebrities and bohemians, who loved having a princess of their midst.

However they have been additionally pressured to endure her sharp tongue.

‘The home visitor from hell’ 

After reeling folks in along with her appeal, Margaret was infamous for abruptly hurling insults with out warning. 

“Properly you do not appear to be a film star,” she mentioned to Grace Kelly once they met within the Nineteen Fifties. 

She knowledgeable Elizabeth Taylor her engagement ring was “vulgar” and instructed the mannequin Twiggy her nickname was “unlucky”. 

Princess Margaret looking glam
Princess Margaret was well-known for her glamorous fashion, her love of Scotch and cigarettes — and her sick burns.(Provided: Nationwide Media Museum below Inventive Commons)

She additionally exploited royal protocol, incomes herself the title of “the home visitor from hell” from those that entertained her.

She usually confirmed up late to dinner events, realizing the meal couldn’t begin till she had arrived. 

“Dinner was at 8:30pm, and at 8:30pm Princess Margaret’s hairdresser arrived, so we waited for hours whereas he concocted a ghastly hairstyle,” English novelist Nancy Mitford recalled of a celebration in Paris in 1959. 

Her brief mood and obsession with rank was an try “to manage what she might”, in response to Helena Bonham Carter, who knew the princess and performed her within the Netflix collection, The Crown. 

“If in case you have little or no management in your life, you usually find yourself controlling what little you can,” the actress mentioned.

However maybe the most important distinction between Margaret and her sister was their style in males. 

Margaret’s tragic love life almost tore aside her relationship with the Queen, and threatened the way forward for the monarchy. 

A forbidden romance 

After the love affair between King Edward and divorcee Wallis Simpson triggered a constitutional disaster, the royal household have been eager to keep away from any extra romantic scandals. 

Loading Instagram content material

And so when Princess Margaret introduced at 22 that she had fallen in love with Peter Townsend, a divorced royal equerry 16 years her senior, they have been swift to cowl up the connection.

“She was a woman of bizarre, intense magnificence confined because it was in her brief slender determine and centred about massive eyes, beneficiant, delicate lips and a complexion as clean as a peach,” Group Captain Townsend wrote in his memoir. 

“However what finally made Princess Margaret so engaging and lovable was that behind the dazzling facade, the obvious self-assurance, you can discover, if you happen to appeared for it, a uncommon softness and sincerity.” 

Hardly any photographs of the couple exist, and palace courtiers continued to spruik Margaret as a single, glamorous and eligible younger princess. 

However on the day of her sister’s coronation, a tiny gesture gave the key couple away. 

Ready at Westminster Abbey for her carriage again to Buckingham Palace, Margaret was noticed by the media brushing a bit of fluff from Peter Townsend’s uniform.

A black and white photo of four-year-old Charles with the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret at his mother's coronation.
Princess Margaret, pictured right here with four-year-old Charles, unintentionally revealed her secret relationship throughout her sister’s coronation. (AFP)

The intimacy of the second was affirmation sufficient for the British press and so they printed a narrative about their romance two weeks after the coronation. 

Whereas the brand new Queen had requested the couple to provide her a yr to settle in earlier than she would grant them permission to marry, the tabloid story despatched her courtiers right into a panic. 

They ordered Group Captain Townsend to maneuver to Brussels to function air attaché on the British embassy. 

Princess Margaret was on tour in Rhodesia on the time.

When she returned, the love of her life was gone. 

Margaret should select: standing or love

For the subsequent three years, the query of marriage consumed Margaret and Peter, in addition to Buckingham Palace. 

The Queen, although nervous in regards to the disapproval of her parliament and the Church of England, supported her beloved Margaret. 

“Her Majesty wouldn’t want to stand in the best way of her sister’s happiness,” then-prime minister Anthony Eden wrote in a letter to the Commonwealth. 

Collectively the Queen and Mr Eden formulated a plan. Princess Margaret might marry her love whereas retaining her royal title and allowance.

She might even proceed with royal duties if the general public authorised, which was possible, provided that by 1955 folks recurrently shouted to her: “Go on, Marg, do what you need!”

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret introduced she would quit Peter Townsend in 1955. (Derek Berwin/Fox Photographs/Getty Photographs)

However there was a catch. She must surrender her rights of succession and people of her kids, and marry in a civil ceremony. 

Three days after the Queen and her prime minister finalised the plan, Margaret broke up with Peter Townsend perpetually. 

“Aware of the Church’s educating that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and aware of my responsibility to the Commonwealth, I’ve determined to place these concerns earlier than any others,” she mentioned in a press release.

“I’m deeply grateful for the priority of all those that have continually prayed for my happiness.” 

Whether or not she was bullied by courtiers, loyal to the crown, or falling out of affection, Margaret made her selection: To stay by her sister’s aspect. 

Princess Margaret meets her match 

After they parted, Margaret and Peter Townsend made a pact to by no means marry anybody else. 

4 years later, Group Captain Townsend proposed to a Belgian girl 25 years his junior. 

Betrayed and heartbroken, the princess knew it was time to maneuver on along with her life. 

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon on their wedding ceremony day, Could 1960.(AP)

A yr after the Townsend wedding ceremony, she walked into Westminster Abbey surrounded by 2,000 visitors, and married Antony Armstrong-Jones. 

The journal photographer was the primary commoner to wed a king’s daughter in 400 years, and the Queen gave her new brother-in-law the title of Earl of Snowdon. 

“The [royal family] favored him very a lot — Tony had nice appeal, excellent manners and he knew precisely learn how to behave,” Anne de Courcy wrote in her biography of the earl. 

“He felt devotion to the royal household, to the Queen, who he admired immensely.”

Her marriage ushered in an period of stability for Princess Margaret, who gave beginning to 2 kids and stayed near her mom and sister. 

The Queen had a direct cellphone line put in from Buckingham Palace to Margaret’s house in Kensington Palace so they may chat every time they needed. 

The princess and Lord Snowdon have been on the centre of London excessive society within the Nineteen Sixties, mixing with celebrities and intellectuals. 

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon meet the Beatles at the premiere of Help in 1965.
Princess Margaret and her husband have been on the centre of Nineteen Sixties London excessive society. (AP: file)

However the relationship slowly began to unravel as each husband and spouse engaged in affairs. 

By the early Nineteen Seventies, the couple have been so at odds that Lord Snowdon would conceal abusive messages in Margaret’s belongings.

“He took to leaving nasty notes on her desk, together with one headed ’24 Causes Why I Hate You,’ which significantly upset her,” biographer Craig Brown mentioned. 

“On [another occasion] a notice [was] tucked into her bedside e-book, saying merely, ‘I hate you.'”

In 1976, along with her marriage all however over, Princess Margaret’s romantic life triggered one other scandal.

However this time she wouldn’t sacrifice love for the crown. 

Margaret’s tragic last years 

Roddy Llewellyn was a 25-year-old gardener partying in Scotland when he caught the attention of a 43-year-old princess within the midst of a secret marriage breakdown. 

They saved their affair below wraps for a number of years, however a paparazzo with a protracted lens digital camera ultimately noticed them on a seashore in Mustique. 

“I did not take into consideration the implications of such a high-profile affair,” Mr Llewellyn later mentioned of their relationship.

“I used to be simply following my coronary heart.”

Loading Instagram content material

The British tabloids have been aghast on the relationship between a married older princess and the person they known as her “boy toy”.

Members of parliament referred to as Margaret a “floozy” and a “parasite”.  However regardless of strain from her sister and the federal government, Margaret refused to provide Roddy up.

And in 1978, she grew to become the primary royal since King Henry VIII to divorce, formally ending her marriage to Lord Snowdon. 

The insurgent princess diminished the variety of public appearances she made and spent extra time in Mustique along with her lover. 

Nonetheless, her second period of relative stability didn’t final lengthy. 

In 1981,  after eight years collectively, Roddy Llewellyn and Margaret broke up. 

She would spend the remainder of her life alone, holidaying with buddies on tropical islands and making an occasional look along with her sister. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret travel in an open carriage.
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret remained shut throughout her life. (Reuters)

Whereas the Windsor ladies are identified for strong well being and longevity, a lifetime of cocktails and cigarettes started to take their toil on Margaret when she reached her 50s. 

After years of unwell well being, she died in her sleep from a stroke in 2002. 

On the funeral, Elizabeth, identified for her stoicism by warfare and tragedy, wiped tears from her face with a handkerchief. 

It was one of many few instances the Queen ever cried in public.

Girl Anne Glenconner, who launched Princess Margaret to Roddy Llewellyn, was on the funeral, and tried to keep away from an encounter with the Queen.

 “It was tough for the Queen and I felt moderately responsible at all times, having launched Roddy to Princess Margaret,” she mentioned. 

However the Queen noticed her after the service and requested to talk to her. 

“She mentioned, ‘I’d identical to to say, Anne, it was moderately tough at moments, however I thanks a lot [for] introducing her to Roddy as a result of he made her actually completely satisfied,'” Girl Anne mentioned.

Margaret might have been referred to as Elizabeth’s alter ego and her “evil” twin. 

However actually, she was a girl with no goal however to be a spare half in a gilded machine. 

She spent her life searching for love and reference to males she couldn’t have, or worse, males who let her down. 

Ultimately, the most enduring and vital relationship Margaret had was the one she shared along with her sister. 

A black and white photo of little Queen Elizabeth with her arms around her sister Princess Margaret
Queen Elizabeth (left) and her child sister Margaret shared an enduing “primal bond”. (Wikimedia Commons )



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here