Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
Her Majesty adored her younger sister, despite her rebellious ways
As the Queen begins to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, marking an incredible 70 years on the throne, she will undoubtedly be confronted with the absence of certain loved ones.
She’ll likely also feel the absence of her beloved sister Princess Margaret, who passed away at 71 in 2002 following a stroke.
Royal expert Jennie Bond, has told OK! Magazine more about the sister’s special bond.
“Margaret was a rebel princess and quite a handful for the Queen to deal with, but the love underpinned everything,” she said.
Apparently, the sisters were particularly close during the war years of their childhood. “During the war the sisters were very isolated and had to make their own amusements like putting on pantomimes,” said Jennie. “It threw them together and created an incredibly strong bond.”
Their relationship inevitably began to change when Elizabeth acceded the throne aged 25 in 1952.
Jennie continued: “There was a lot that brought them together, but a lot that separated them too. The women shared an extraordinary destiny but without a defined role, Margaret, in a little way, became an outsider.”
The royal expert also commented on Princess Margaret’s relationship with their mother.
“Margaret has such a sad romantic life and it made her relationship with the Queen Mother a bit strained,” she said. “They were like an old married couple who would bicker a lot about trivial things.”
“It was very difficult for the Queen to be the monarch and have to make decisions about her sister’s private life,” said Jennie. “Can she marry Group Captain Peter Townsend? Am I going to break my sister’s heart? The Queen had to navigate duty versus sisterly love.”
You may remember seeing the dramatisation of this chapter in the sisters’ relationship in Season 2 of the Crown, starring Claire Foy as the Queen, Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret and Victoria Hamilton as the Queen Mother. As head of the Church, the Queen could not give Margaret her consent to marry Peter Townsend as he was divorced.
Thankfully, this difficult chapter didn’t tarnish their relationship for good.
“There was undoubtedly a huge love between all three women,” said Jennie. “Margaret was so gregarious and wilful. She was the rebel princess who very nearly gave up her rights of succession to be with Peter Townsend. But in the end she decided she preferred royal life.”
Margaret went on to marry Lord Snowdon in 1960. The couple had two children together — named David and Sarah. Then, after 20 years of marriage they announced their divorce.
It was during the Queen’s 2002 Golden Jubilee that her sister suddenly passed away. The Queen mother then also died just weeks later. “Sadly I remember those years so graphically,” said Jennie. “We all knew Margaret was ill, but she suddenly had another stroke and died.”
Losing her sister and mother in such quick succession must have been extremely painful for the Queen. Now that two decades have passed, this period marks a time to reflect and remember their special bonds.