While the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II has been stirring England for several days, a woman has remained in the shadow of her royal sister throughout her life. This is Margaret of England, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II of England . Through this article, I propose to highlight this rebellious and playful woman, Margaret of England.
Margaret's childhood and upbringing, in the shadow of Elizabeth II
A close-knit family unit
It was at Glamis Castle in Scotland, the home of her grandfather the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, that Margaret Rose of England was born on August 21, 1930. .
Margaret of England is the second daughter of the couple formed by her parents:
- The Duke of York, future King George VI, second of the children of George V
- Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
These two parents decided to raise their daughters in a completely original way compared to the label. While children born into the royal family are usually taken away from their parents, who then see them for a few minutes during the day, the pattern is totally different for Elizabeth and Margaret. We see a very close-knit family unit , with a father, the Duke of York, in great admiration of his daughters. He works every day to offer them all the affection necessary for their happiness. Every morning at 9 a.m., the day begins with 1 hour of games and cuddles between parents and children. We quickly understand the immense love of young girls for their parents.
Elizabeth and Margaret of England become royal princesses
When she was 6 years old, her uncle Edward VIII abdicated in favor of her father, who became King George VI of England. By being born 4 years after her sister Elizabeth, Margaret of England is put in the shadow of the heiress of the throne, the future Elizabeth II of England. As the second child of the royal couple, Margaret of the United Kingdom is thus granted the title of Princess Royal.
Her education is done alongside her older sister, so she receives the same teachings as a future queen. The tutors instill in them all the knowledge necessary to find their place in the High Society :generic materials, royal etiquette, know-how,…
The Second World War changes the lives of the two young girls
As World War II hits the world, Elizabeth and Princess Margaret of England find refuge in the sprawling Windsor mansion, which became their golden prison . They live the innocence of their childhood watched by tanks, and are instructed to take refuge in the castle in case of attack. While the city of London suffers a lot of damage from the bombings, the two sisters are cut off from the world and isolated. Margaret will say “We were supposed to land for a weekend, we were there for 5 years ”. The affection of Elizabeth and Margaret of England is unfailing. However, as they grow up, they reveal a literally opposite character.
Margaret and Elizabeth, sisters with totally opposite characters
Margaret of England, the rebellious and playful princess of the royal family
We regularly see in the youngest children of a royal family a fiery and eccentric character. Being in the shadow of the elder leads them to develop a somewhat rebellious character. Take for example Monsieur Philippe d'Orléans, prince and younger brother of King Louis XIV. Being set aside since birth, in favor of his brother who took all the light, he revealed a real tendency to eccentricity , and finally manages to take the light thanks to its gusts.
Margaret of England is no exception to the rule. While Elizabeth develops a reserved and serious character, worthy of a future monarch, Princess Margaret of England is fiery, cheerful and teasing. At 10, she will say of herself "I am the terror of the family ". All her life, she will be a maverick member of the royal family.
Margaret's escapades, English impertinence
The magazine Secrets d'histoire reveals some examples of its extravagances:
- “At 4 years old, she goes under the tables to tickle the feet of the guests "
- “A 7-year-old yawns during her father's coronation "
- “When she was 12, she made a hole in the boat of her scout leader to force her to swim back "
- “At 14, she tastes champagne in the cellar for a banquet "
But the youngest of the family knows how to be forgiven for everything, thanks to her constant good humor . She is the joy of her parents, especially her father. Elisabeth, whom her family nicknamed Lisbeth, tries to set an example for her younger sister. But to no avail, Margaret of the United Kingdom is far too fiery to take on the role of model sister to the future Queen of England. In 1970, Margaret was even deprived of a stay in the USA by the English diplomats, the latter being too afraid of the unconventional attitude that the youngest may adopt.
When Margaret of England was only 17, she found herself separated from her beloved sister, when the latter married Philip of Greece and went on her honeymoon.
For Margaret of England, it was in 1948 that she was initiated into the joys of love, with Danny Kaye . But then again, the Princess Royal caused a scandal and honored her role as the "terror of the family". Danny Kaye is an American who rose to prominence as a comedic actor. And his comic side, Margaret particularly appreciates it. Thanks to him, she forgets her existence as a princess to be only Margaret, a woman whose life is not governed by the code of the English royal court. But this idyll is not to everyone's taste, and in particular the parents of the princess. Danny Kaye is a married man. However, they will share their lives for 3 years.
You miss only one being and everything is depopulated:the loss of the father figure is difficult
For several months, the King of England could not assume his duties as sovereign because he had to fight against lung cancer . It's a blow to the family. On February 6, 1952, the father of Elizabeth and Margaret of England died of a thrombosis. England is in mourning. Elizabeth, on a diplomatic trip to Kenya, must urgently return to her mother and sister. Margaret of England cannot bear the loss of her loved one in his eyes, his most faithful confidant. His good humor that we know him turns into a deep despair, and a great melancholy. Just the day before, she was spending time with her beloved father.
In search of a father figure and support, Margaret will forge a relationship with Peter Townsend , at that time close to his father. No need to detail the facts, this relationship will cause a scandal. And when you know the appeal of English tabloids ..
Margaret of England and Peter Townsend, the idyll that causes an unprecedented scandal
Peter Townsend, the confidant of the Princess of Windsor
It was in 1945 that Margaret of England and Peter Townsend met for the first time. She is only 14 years old, and lives her youth in this huge Buckingham Palace. He is 30 years old, married and became a hero of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War . In 1944, the pilot was hired as the king's squire by Georges VI, with whom he created a real bond of friendship. Over the next few years, Peter proved to be a faithful confidant for the Princess.
This role will become even more important with the death of Georges VI. Margaret from the UK needs a shoulder to cry on. Even if the princess is very united with her sister, the latter must now take on the role of Queen of England. Margaret therefore finds comfort in Peter Townsend . It's a real romantic idyll that begins in the corridors of Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace sees friendship turn into a secret relationship
Peter Townsend is now divorced, leaving the field open to a relationship with Margaret. And yet, it is his divorced status that will prevent the two lovers from living the story they would have loved so much.
In 1953, the Queen Mother and her daughter Margaret had to leave Buckingham to make way for the new Queen of England, Elizabeth II. The two women must go to Clarence House , a royal residence. Fortunately, Peter is hired as superintendent of the Queen Mother's household. The two lovebirds can indulge in their romance in complete discretion.
The tabloids reveal the Margaret – Peter couple to the whole world
But this discretion will be short-lived. On June 2, 1953, as England celebrated the coronation of the Queen of England, Margaret of the United Kingdom made the gesture too many . The one who reveals to the whole world the love she has for Peter.
What gesture are we talking about? She removes in a burst of laughter a dust present on Peter's costume. A gesture considered very intimate, which arouses the curiosity of the whole people, and in particular of journalists, who delight in making the headlines . Divorced man, simple squire, Peter Townsend is not considered to be a good match for the Royal Princess of England. Only 23 years old, Margaret of England is not yet of age and cannot make such decisions without the consent of her sister the Queen.
The end of the idyll:Margaret of the United Kingdom renounces Peter
After many discussions, and a two-year separation to wait for Margaret's majority, the verdict is in. The idyll will not go further than the simple fairy tale. Marriage between Margaret and Peter is not possible. The English Parliament and the Anglican Church do not give their consent for this union, and Queen Elizabeth II agrees. Peter's divorced status jeopardizes the crown should Margaret ever reign. On October 22, 1955, Margaret of England made a press release in which she announced that she was definitely renouncing her great love , To fart. She sacrifices her love for her advantages and her dynastic titles. This announcement stirs up the English people, who from the start showed their support for lovers in love.
Margaret of England, fashion icon and London jet-setter
Margaret influences the fashion world
“If Margaret hadn't been born a princess, she would have been a movie star. ”, this is what Elizabeth II will say about her younger sister. Everyone agrees that Margaret is one of those canons of beauty, who attracts with her charm and natural elegance. At a very young age, the princess became a true fashion icon, influencing all young girls in Europe. Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent,… the greatest fashion designers want to see their creations worn by Margaret from the United Kingdom . The young woman wears outfits every day, each one more beautiful than the other.
The princess meets the biggest stars in the world
Her desire for freedom, her rebellious character and her undeniable beauty made Margaret of Englandthe darling of the London jet set . Followed by the paparazzi and working in the world of the night, Margaret becomes a real star. His entourage is particularly extravagant compared to that of his older sister Elizabeth. We see her alongside the Beatles, Brigitte Bardot or even Mike Jaggers . The press attributes many love affairs to him, such as John Turner, future Prime Minister of Canada. But it is Anthony Armstrong-Jones who will find a real place in the life of the princess.
Her one and only marriage:she married Antony Armstrong-Jones
British photographer and director, Antony Armstrong-Jones has been doing portraits of the royal family for some time, and in particular the Queen of England. The two young people will get to know each other better during a dinner. Shortly after, Antony makes his official request to Queen Elizabeth II , who immediately gives her approval, too happy with her younger sister's happiness. She was probably unaware of his reputation as a Don Juan and his attraction to the female sex...
A publicized royal wedding
The royal wedding took place on May 6, 1960 in Westminster Abbey. It's a lavish ceremony that takes place, broadcast through screens in 13 different countries and seen by more than 300 million viewers . Margaret does not opt for a traditional wedding, but a modern, glamorous and very people wedding. The guests are none other than the hottest actors and singers of the moment.
On this beautiful spring day, we discover a blooming Margaret, in her sumptuous organza and lace dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, a famous designer who had already worked on Elizabeth's wedding dress. Her thoughts go out to her late father, replaced for the occasion by her brother-in-law Philip to accompany her to the hotel. After the ceremony, the young couple embarks on the “Britannia” for their honeymoon. Thanks to this marriage, Antony Armstrong-Jones is ennobled and takes the titles of Earl of Snowdon and Viscount Linley.
The recurring infidelities of the Royal couple:Margaret AND Antony fail
After the nuptials, the high-profile couple take possession of an apartment at Kensington Palace . 9 months later, Margaret of England is expecting her first child, making the whole royal family happy.
- On November 3, 1661, David Armstrong-Jones was born. , 2nd Earl of Snowdon and Viscount of Linley.
- Less than 2 years later, it's the turn of Sarah Armstrong-Jones to see the light of day on May 1, 1964.
The little family terror now seems to have settled down, enjoying a peaceful family life. But a task comes to tarnish this beautiful family picture. Lord Snowdon is not ready to live a quiet and exclusive life with his wife Margaret of England. His infidelities follow one another. Margaret of England consoles herself by also taking lovers . The rebel of English royalty is having fun outside the marital bed. Among her many lovers, we can cite Anthony Barton, a close friend of her husband, or even Robin Douglas-Home, a pianist in the world of the night. But the more time passes, the less the princess is discreet about her extramarital affairs. His infidelities are publicized. The newspaper "News of the World" will notably publish a photo of Princess Margaret of England with her lover Roddy Llewellyn 17 years her junior, having a good time on the island of Mustique in the Caribbean where Margaret of England lives half the year. The cliché caused a scandal, and shocked the royal family. Queen Elizabeth, despite all the affection she has for her sister, cannot accept such a debauched life from her younger sister. She seems a long way from the perfect family life.
Inevitable twist in the English monarchy:the Armstrong-Jones couple divorced in 1978 . This scenario had not happened since the divorce of the infamous King Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves. Many of his wives ended up divorced or had their heads cut off. If you do not know this story, I invite you to read my article on the wives of Henry VIII.
A hard blow for the rebellious princess, her family members side with her unfaithful husband. The pranks of the younger sister are no longer accepted by the royal family.
The fragile health of the princess who hastens her end
Ever since she was little, Margaret of England has shown a real desire for freedom. All her life, the princess has enjoyed the pleasures of life, but to an excess. He is known to have a few addictions that will deteriorate his health at high speed. Some will say that the younger sister of Elizabeth II smoked up to 60 cigarettes a day , and could drink several bottles of gin.
When she was only 50 years old, Margaret of England began to have serious health concerns, linked to a hectic life led from a young age. A problem with the lung obliges him to undergo a partial ablation. She also has alcoholic hepatitis. For more than 20 years, the princess must bear the consequences of a jet-set life .
On February 9, 2002, Princess Margaret of England succumbed to several strokes at King Edward VII Hospital in London. His funeral is celebrated in Windsor Castle in the presence of his family and close friends, in the greatest privacy .
His ashes rest in St. George's Chapel, near King George VI. The one who had such a hard time accepting her father's death ends up finding him.