She was the most notorious it-girl of her time but she was fated to remain in her sibling's shadow. Long before the rebellious Prince Harry came on to the scene, Princess Margaret the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II established herself as the royal family’s ‘wild child’.
Margaret was the second daughter to the Duke and Duchess of York King George VI. She was Father's favorite and she was indulged from her early years.
While Lilibet made the Duke proud, Margot was the joy of his life. Despite her family’s royal status, Margaret had a rather ordinary childhood.
When she was 6, it all changed drastically. In 1936, her uncle Edward VIII abdicated the throne only 11 months into his region. After that, her father reluctantly became king of England.
The King daughters both grew up in the spotlight but it was Margaret who was always portrayed as a bad seed.
Princess Margaret Said “When my sister and I were growing up, she was made out to be the goody one. That was boring, so the press tried to make out I was wicked as hell”
Whereas her sibling studied history, Margaret was left to her own devices. The rebel princess has developed a decadent lifestyle. She used to drink vodka at noon and was a chain smoker. She frequented London nightclubs and constantly appeared in gossip columns.
When her father died in 1952, Margaret felt devastated. Elizabeth was crowned Queen, and Margot was once again left to herself.
Unlike her sister Elizabeth, Margaret was under no immediate pressure to marry. In her early twenties and then she found solace in her late father’s equerry, Group Captain Peter Townsend. Margaret desperately wanted to marry him. She was only 22 years old at the time, and he was 16 years older. Yet the real sticking point was that Townsend was divorced.
In spite of public support, the Church and parliament would not approve this marriage. Unless Margaret forewent her right to the throne, the title and allowance. In 1955, she made a tough choice and broke up with Townsend.
In 5 years, she finally walked down the aisle with photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones. Their wedding was the first royal ceremony to be broadcast on television. The couple had two children but the marriage was troubled and unhappy.
Antony spent to much time on work trips and was unfaithful and rude to her. In return, Margaret hosted parties at her villa in Mustique and had affairs of her own.
The marriage ended in 1978, it was the first royal divorce since the 16th century. Over the years, Margaret’s wit became rudeness that some people called “royal Tourette’s”
She had crossed swords with numerous celebrities and even Princess Diana but she always felt overshadowed by her sister.
After decades of drinking and smoking, Margaret’s health problems have started to show. She suffered multiple strokes and had to use a wheelchair after a bathroom accident. On February 9, 2002, Princess Margaret died at the age of 71.