Queen: Princess Margaret’s ‘sacrifice’ discussed by expert
Margaret and her sister Princess Elizabeth, the current Queen, were raised as part of a close-knit family unit who never expected to be pushed up the line of succession. Elizabeth was four years older than her sister and their parents the Duke and Duchess of York gave them a life outside of the public eye. However, when King Edward VIII, suddenly abdicated in 1936 before his coronation, the Duke of York suddenly inherited the throne.
Margaret and Elizabeth’s father then became King George VI, meaning the close sisters were suddenly split into the heir apparent and the second-in-line.
Yet, the siblings — nicknamed ‘Lilibet’ and ‘Margo’ — had already established the basis for their unbreakable relationship, which would be reinforced by George.
Journalist Katherine J Igoe claimed: “The two were four years apart but were apparently raised as if they had no age difference.
“Their father, George VI, had suffered by being compared to his brother, so he raised the two almost as if they were twins, even dressing them alike.”
George and Edward grew up under the critical gaze on their father, King George V, who would berate his sons both verbally and physically.
King George VI, Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth (the current Queen)
The Queen and her sister Margaret remained close throughout their lives
While Edward became the cosmopolitan, popular royal, his younger brother George had “a ghastly life” according to biographer Philip Ziegler.
Along with a difficult stammer and gastric problems which led to several operations, Elizabeth and Margaret’s father lacked confidence and seemed to pale in comparison to his brother.
However, George V went on to say in 1935: ”I pray to God my eldest son will never marry and have children, and that nothing will come between Bertie and Lilibet and the throne.”
Even so, the difficulties between George and Edward had a clear impact on the next generation.
Writing in Marie Claire, Ms Igoe noted: “Margaret was also reportedly spoiled to compensate for being younger (and thus not first-in-line to be Queen) and Elizabeth was delighted by her sister’s outgoing nature.”
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George and his brother Edward VIII
The Queen and Margaret as children (L) and with their mother Queen Elizabeth (R)
Although the two women ended up having completely different characters, that bond held them together for the rest of their lives.
Family friend Reinaldo Herrera claimed the Queen “lost her most intimate companion” when Margaret died in 2002.
Writing in Vanity Fair, he explained: “I think it was the only time anyone ever saw the Queen show her emotions in public.
“Never explaining anything to the world — what she feels, or why she does what she does — is part of her greatness.
“But for a few minutes that day, as she stood by the steps of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, watching her sister’s coffin being borne away, her eyes betrayed her.”
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Margaret, Elizabeth ,Queen Elizabeth and King George were a tight-knit family
Margaret was always by Elizabeth’s side when they were children
Clearly, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s tactic of raising the two as equals worked.
Mr Herrara added: “The particular closeness of Elizabeth and Margaret was beyond comparison with the relationship between any other siblings in the world.”
Although the royal hierarchy should have divided them and made Margaret Elizabeth’s subject, the pair “had a love, friendship and conspiracy that were impressive to hold”.
The main point of contention between the two is sometimes thought to be the power struggle — but others believe it was primarily Margaret’s love life.
King George VI raised his children so they would not feel the rivalry he felt with his brother
YouTube channel TheTalko said: “She [Margaret] found herself at constant odds with the Queen because of her choice in partners.”
For instance, Margaret found herself at the centre of a media storm when her relationship with the divorcee, Group Captain Peter Townsend, was uncovered in 1953.
He was 16 years older than her and divorce was still surrounded by social stigma at the time — the Queen allegedly instructed the couple to wait two years until Margaret was older before considering marriage.
She decided not to marry him and ended up marrying photographer Antony Armstong-Jones, although they caused scandal when they divorced amid reports of infidelity.
Margaret then dated Roddy Llewellyn who was 17 years her junior, but their romance eventually fizzled out.