Princess Margaret might have grown up in the shadow of her older sister Queen Elizabeth II, but she didn’t stay that way. By the time she was a teenager, the young, beautiful, and fashionable princess was the talk of the town…and not for the right reasons. From her scandalous bedroom tastes to her tragic end, Margaret’s life was far from a fairy tale.
Princess Margaret Facts
1. Her Birth Was Surprising
Princess Margaret was born on August 21st, 1930 in Glamis Castle in Scotland. But her beginning wasn’t what many people think. See, little Margaret wasn’t actually directly in line for the crown. Her father was a younger son of the King of England, and no one in the family expected to make it to the throne. Well, that all changed—and quickly.
2. She Became Bona Fide Royal Through Scandal
When Margaret was just five years old, her family had a transformation of fortunes. Her uncle became King Edward VIII, but then infamously abdicated in order to marry his love, Wallis Simpson. Suddenly, Margaret’s father was King George VI, and she was second in line to the throne after her older sister Elizabeth. Still, it might have been the worst thing to ever happen to her.
3. Her Mother Controlled Her
Margaret’s upbringing is probably surprising to a lot of people. Although she was a royal and had access to the best teachings money could buy, her mother decided that her daughters would only receive a bare-bones education, since she aimed to make them simply “nicely behaved young ladies.” Later on, this had disastrous consequences for Margaret.
4. She Had A Weapon Of Choice
As a child, Margaret idolized her older sister Elizabeth, and, as we’ll see, the two carried on a close relationship into their adulthood. Still, there was a hefty amount of sibling rivalry, too, and the girls often came to blows. According to their governess, while Elizabeth liked to throw punches, little Princess Margaret was much more of a biter.
5. Her Family Hid Her Away
While Margaret grew up in her gilded bubble, dark rumors started swirling. When she was a young girl, people saw so little of her that a persistent whisper claimed she was actually deaf and mute, and that her parents were hiding her from the public. Eventually, the family dispelled the rumors…but it didn’t take long for more to start, and these ones were all too true.
6. She Was A Spoiled Brat
Growing up as second in line to the throne would turn anyone into a spoiled brat, but this went double for Princess Margaret. Her father King George loved his respectable elder daughter Elizabeth, but he absolutely doted on Margaret, claiming that while Elizabeth was his “pride,” Margaret was his “joy.” And soon enough, Margaret’s spoiled upbringing started to show.
7. Her Father Indulged Her
People around the British court started to notice just how much the King let Margaret get her way, even allowing the 13-year-old girl to stay up past her bedtime and attend lavish royal dinners. Many aides began to worry about the Princess, especially as she grew into a beautiful, vivacious, and very willful young woman…
8. She Was The Center Of Attention
By the time she was barely a teenager, Margaret could already walk into a room and light it up. One courtier commented that she was “full of character and very tart.” Another noted her burgeoning good looks and how she was “very sure of herself and full of humor,” though also said she “might get into trouble before she’s finished.” Well, that trouble started early.
9. Her Governess Tried To Ban Her
Surprise, surprise, Margaret’s charm had a dark side. Her own governess, Marion Crawford, thought Margaret was an attention hog, especially when it came to taking the attention away from her more “important” sister Elizabeth. To try to curb the habit, Crawford actually once wrote to a friend, “Could you this year only ask Princess Elizabeth to your party?,” not wanting Margaret to come in and steal the thunder.
10. She Overshadowed Her Sister
Even Princess Elizabeth admitted that Margaret could take the wind of her sails—it’s just that she didn’t mind it. Elizabeth, reserved and taciturn, actually liked that Margaret was so forceful, colorful, and irresistible. As she once said, “Oh, it’s so much easier when Margaret’s there—everybody laughs at what Margaret says.” Too bad the sisters’ relationship didn’t stay so harmonious.
11. Her Mother Was A Spitfire
As WWII broke out, there was pressure for the royal family to relocate to Canada for their safety. Of course, this didn’t happen. Instead, they braved the danger with everyone else in England. In response to pressure, Margaret’s mother famously retorted, “The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave without the King. And the King will never leave.” Wonder where Margaret got her stubbornness from.
12. She Resented Her Upbringing
Even at this point, Margaret was chomping at the bit for some challenges in her life. After all, she’d spent WWII inside and away from harm, and by then she felt completely resentful of her mother’s limited education for her. As her acquaintance Gore Vidal later recalled, “She was far too intelligent for her station in life.” Is it any wonder she rebelled?
13. She Had A Famous Feature
As Margaret entered her 20s, she was one of the most stunning women in the royal family. She famously had a slender 18-inch waist and “vivid blue eyes,” and her good looks and pedigree got her into the most exclusive circles and clubs in London. Before long, the press dubbed her and her fashionable group of aristocratic friends “The Margaret Set.” Then again, they weren’t always just “friends”…
14. She Was A Party Girl
While out on the town, Princess Margaret gained a reputation as “the world’s most eligible bachelor-girl” for the sheer number of men swooping in and out of her limo on late nights. Her little black book was a veritable who’s who of Britain’s gentry, from millionaire heir Billy Wallace to future Canadian Prime Minister John Turner. Yet as it turned out, Margaret only had eyes for one man.
15. She Nursed A Huge Crush
One constant presence in Margaret’s life was her royal aide, Group Captain Peter Townsend, a dashing war hero more than 15 years her senior. Townsend worked for Margaret’s parents and was their great favorite; many even said that King George treated Townsend like a long-lost son. Well, familiarity must breed romance, because Margaret was head over heels before she knew it.
16. Her Love Was Taboo
Margaret and Peter’s love story is now infamous, but few people know their scandalous beginnings. The palace first employed Peter when Margaret was just 13 years old, yet the teenager had her eye on the new arrival from the very start—even though he was already taken. When Margaret met him on his first day, she turned to Elizabeth and said, “Bad luck, he’s married.” This only got worse.
17. She Flirted With Danger
Apparently, the vivacious Margaret wasn’t going let a little thing like holy matrimony—or their ridiculous age difference—get in the way of having her fun with Townsend. She flirted with him shamelessly, even once demanding he carry her up the stairs after a party, all in full view of her father King George VI. But harmless fun quickly turned into dangerous liaisons.
18. She Had An Exotic Romance
In 1947, Margaret’s family finally let her come with them on a state visit abroad—her first ever—to South Africa. But they made a fatal error. Ironically, Peter Townsend was her “chaperone” for the visit, and they often went riding together. Margaret later admitted that she fell in love with Townsend on this trip. But as for Townsend? Well…
19. She Had An Unrequited Love
For all that Princess Margaret was determined to seduce Peter Townsend, he wasn’t exactly sold on the idea at the beginning. In fact, many sources report that he, like most of the palace courtiers, saw Margaret merely as an “indulged child.” Accordingly, Townsend treated her very distantly and firmly, and they had a bit of a love/hate start…at first.
20. She Seduced A Man
According to Townsend himself, there was one exact moment where he realized that he was deep in love with Margaret, too. He claimed it happened in 1951, while the entire family was out for a picnic together. Under King George’s watchful eye, Margaret woke Townsend up from a nap, and he suddenly couldn’t deny his feelings.
Even so, Townsend was still very much married, and it would take an absolute tragedy to bring them together.
21. She Suffered An Enormous Tragedy
In the early 1950s, King George’s health started failing, thanks in part to his rampant smoking habit. Margaret’s father went under the knife for lung cancer, but surgery didn’t make things any better. On February 6, 1952, the monarch passed, making Margaret’s sister Queen Elizabeth II—and throwing the princess into a total tailspin.
22. She Fell Into A Crisis
Princess Margaret was incredibly close with her father, and his passing crushed her. She called him, “such a wonderful person, the very heart and center of our happy family.” With that center gone, Margaret suffered from bouts of ill health and had trouble sleeping, even seeking out a sedative prescription to help numb her pain. And there was more upheaval to come.
23. She Got Her Deepest Wish
1952 was already shaping up to be a stressful year for Princess Margaret, but then Peter Townsend had to throw her another curveball. The palace aide went and divorced his wife, suddenly making him a free agent and fair game at last. I’d say Margaret made the rational decision and took it slow…but when has this girl made rational decisions?
24. She Had A Secret Rendezvous Spot
Thrown together by their grief and the respective total messes of their personal lives, Townsend and Princess Margaret soon began seeing each other in secret. Margaret had private apartments in the already secluded Clarence House, and the pair made good use of their alone time, visiting regularly on the down-low. Then, the inevitable crisis hit.
25. She Got An Indecent Proposal
As it turns out, people who are trauma-bonded go fast and hard in love, and Townsend proposed marriage to Margaret in April 1953, just over a year after her father’s passing. Margaret, who had been a love-sick girl for Peter right from the get-go, gave him an ecstatic yes in response. Except there was just one more enormous problem…
26. Her First True Romance Was A Disaster
As a divorced man, Townsend’s betrothal to Margaret presented a catastrophe for the monarchy. After all, the government and the Church of England had just denied Margaret’s uncle Edward VIII his marriage to Wallis Simpson for much the same reasons. Plus, since she was only 23 years old, Margaret also had to ask her sister for permission to marry anyone at all. It, uh, did not go well.
27. Her Sister Forced Her To Keep A Secret
When Princess Margaret informed her elder sister and sovereign of her steamy romance, Queen Elizabeth II definitely didn’t welcome it with open arms. Afraid of the stir it would cause at the beginning of her reign, Elizabeth insisted that Margaret wait for a year and keep the relationship a secret until after her coronation. Guys, this ALSO didn’t go well.
28. She Accidentally Revealed Everything
Margaret and Townsend tried their best to keep their love under wraps, although some foreign papers did get wind of a romance brewing. But on coronation day, all hell really broke loose. In an casual, thoughtless moment during the ceremony, Margaret fondly picked some lint off of Townsend’s coat—and the press went wild.
29. She Became A Lurid Tabloid Story
Suddenly, seemingly every newspaper in the United Kingdom started weighing in on Margaret’s princess-and-pauper relationship with the civilian Townsend. They did not mince words, either: Most publications were appalled at the idea, with The People even running the headline “They Must Deny It NOW.” Still, that was just the beginning of the nightmare.
30. The Government Turned On Her
Within months, England had gone into full constitutional crisis mode. The parliament and the Church of England predictably criticized the match, insisting that Margaret denounce her royal privileges and allowance if she wanted to go through with the marriage. Yet within the inner circle of Buckingham Palace, things were even more tense.
31. Her Own Family Rejected Her Suitor
Margaret’s royal brood was totally torn over her girlhood romance. Elizabeth’s husband Prince Phillip detested the idea of Townsend becoming part of the family, and he let everyone know it. Meanwhile, Elizabeth herself just wanted her sister to be happy, yet felt bound to tradition and couldn’t say yes to the union. Instead, they came up with a desperate plan.
32. She Came Up With An Escape Plot
To buy Margaret more time, Elizabeth begged her sister to wait another couple of years, until she turned 25. At this time, she would no longer need to ask the monarch for permission to marry. If her infatuation with Townsend lasted, she could wed him then, all while Elizabeth avoided a crisis. It was supposed to be the perfect solution…in reality, it was a complete disaster.
33. She Had Multiple Flings
For one, Margaret and Townsend had to separate during this time, and many courtiers hoped that absence would make their hearts grow weaker. For a hot minute, it looked like they were right: While Townsend studiously avoided spending time with women, Margaret gallivanted around town with a series of men on her opera-gloved arm. But the lovers were hiding yet another secret.
34. She Had A Side Piece
During the entire time that they were supposed to be apart, Townsend was still secretly meeting with Princess Margaret. He would travel in from the continent for nights and weekends at their old love nest at Clarence House, or else stay with friends if he wanted to look super incognito. And then the long-awaited day came…
35. Her Birthday Was The Talk Of The Town
On August 21st, 1955, Princess Margaret turned 25—and everyone in Britain noticed. Hundreds of reporters swarmed Balmoral Castle, thirsting for any drop of news, and newspapers set up “ring watches” for Margaret’s hands. As one publication put it, “Nothing much else than Princess Margaret’s affairs is being talked of in this country.” But they’d have to wait for the next development.
36. She Had A Public Courtship
Months later on October 12th, 1955, Peter Townsend returned back to England, this time as Margaret’s official suitor. For the next weeks, the princess and the Group Captain courted each other at various dinners around town, all while the entire nation held their breath to see what Margaret would do. In the end, it was nothing but a tragic disappointment.
37. She Made A Shocking Announcement
After weeks of speculation, no betrothal had yet materialized—and that’s when Margaret dropped an absolute bombshell. On October 31st, she released an official statement declaring “I have decided not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend.” After such a whirlwind romance, the populace was flabbergasted and at a loss for her reasons…but we now have an idea what they were.
38. Her Sister Gave Her A Heart-Warming Gift
One of the biggest urban legends around Margaret’s split from Townsend is that Queen Elizabeth II is to blame for their breakup. Nothing could be further from the truth. Official documents reveal she was working tirelessly to change certain policies to make it easier for her sister to marry. Instead, the main culprit was something much more heartbreaking.
39. There Was One Thing She Wouldn’t Give Up
Although some aspects of the scandal remain a mystery, one of them is very clear: Margaret didn’t think she could live as a civilian. One way or another, marrying Townsend would mean giving up her royal allowance, and they simply couldn’t live on the money he took in. That didn’t mean it didn’t hurt like hell—and Margaret’s next actions didn’t help matters.
40. She Rebounded Hard
Many people believed that Margaret would never marry after losing Townsend—after all, she had waited so long that most of her eligible male acquaintances were now married. That’s not what happened. Soon after disentangling herself, Margaret took up with her old friend Billy Wallace, even accepting his proposal of marriage. Sadly, it too ended it heartbreak.
41. She Got Her Heart Broken Again
Wallace wasn’t exactly the best rebound for poor Princess Margaret. First, he called her relationship with Townsend “girlish nonsense that got out of hand,” which definitely smacks of insecurity to me. Even worse, he cheated on the princess while on a trip to the Bahamas. Thankfully, Margaret broke things off when she found out, but it was out of the frying pan and into the fire…
42. She Fell In Love With A Rebel
In 1958, Margaret met bohemian photographer and man about town Antony Armstrong-Jones at a dinner party. On the surface, he represented everything she was looking for in a man: Dashing, daring, and bound to anger the establishment. They fell into a hot, heavy, and above all secret romance. Then, like everything Margaret did, it moved fast—too fast.
43. She Had A Quick Engagement
In October 1959, Armstrong-Jones got down on one knee and proposed to Princess Margaret with a stunner of a ruby engagement ring, surrounded by diamonds and shaped into a rosebud. For the third time in her life (that we know of anyway), Margaret said yes to her suitor. But there was a chilling reason behind her answer.
44. She Got Back At Her Ex
As it turned out, Margaret couldn’t quite forget about her first love Peter Townsend. She actually accepted Armstrong-Jones’s proposal the day after finding out that Townsend was planning to marry a beautiful Belgian woman named Marie-Luce Jamagne. It was a desperate revenge on Margaret’s part…and it gets even more twisted than that.
45. Her First Love Was Creepy
The thing is, Townsend probably wasn’t over Princess Margaret either. Eerily enough, Marie-Luce was the spitting image of the young royal, down to her long oval face, dark hair, and captivating eyes. Still, Margaret and Peter now seemed done forever (hint: they might not have been). It was enough to make any woman rush into a totally doomed wedding.
46. She Had A Fairy Tale Wedding
On May 6th, 1960, Princess Margaret finally walked down the aisle, tying the knot with Armstrong-Jones in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey. True to her fashion-plate reputation, Margaret wore a Norman Hartnell dress with the stunning, gigantic Poltimore tiara. Yet for all that the procession looked good, there was something missing…
47. The World Snubbed Her
If you looked closely at Margaret’s wedding ceremony, you might have noticed a disturbing absence: Almost no foreign royals attended. They refused to accept Margaret’s marriage to a common photographer, and only Queen Ingrid of Denmark was a noble guest Margaret wasn’t directly related to. If you’re wondering, this was definitely a bad omen.
48. She Got A Bizarre Present
On the surface, the beginnings of Princess Margaret’s marriage were wedded bliss. Her possible ex-lover Colin Tennant even gave the new couple a plot of land on his private Caribbean island, Mustique, and it soon became one of Margaret’s favorite getaway spots. For the record, I also accept tokens from my exes in the form of tropical land grants.
49. Her Life Looked Perfect
For a brief moment, the public good times kept on rolling for the couple. Although Armstrong-Jones fought privately against getting a title, the newlyweds soon became the respectable-sounding Countess and Earl of Snowdon. By 1964, they also had two children, David and Sarah, together. But behind the scenes, it was falling apart.
50. Her Husband Betrayed Her
In truth, the Snowdons had massive, reality TV levels of dysfunction. Antony, who was openly bisexual, had no qualms about going after nearly every bedroom prospect that came his way; as one friend put it, “If it moves, he’ll have it.” Before the ink was dry on Margaret’s marriage certificate, Antony had had more than a few late night sleepovers.
51. Her Husband Abandoned Her
On top of all that, their marriage was a total mismatch of personalities and goals when it came to relationships. Armstrong-Jones was a workaholic, and Margaret often complained that he was never around and that she was constantly lonely. But don’t go thinking the princess was totally blameless…because she certainly wasn’t.
52. She Had A Huge Addiction
If Armstrong-Jones was a workaholic, Princess Margaret was hiding a much darker addiction. She’d always been a partier and had even dabbled in hard substances, but good old alcohol was her dangerous drug of choice. So when her husband was off working, Margaret was often hitting the bottle. Oh, and there was that other thing…
53. She Slept With Famous People
Although Armstrong-Jones had a steady stream of male lovers and mistresses behind Margaret’s back, she didn’t have a leg to stand on. In the 1960s, she embarked on a string of extramarital affairs of her own, and there are rumors she even fell into the beds of celebrities like Mick Jagger and Warren Beatty. But, as it happens, Margaret’s very first indiscretion was one of her worst.
54. She Did Her Daughter Dirty
When the princess first dipped her toe into infidelity in 1966, she went big and went home with none other than her own daughter’s godfather, the vintner Anthony Barton. I mean, this doesn’t seem particularly smart on her part, but I guess there’s no accounting for taste. Even so, Margaret had a more notorious affair up her sleeve.
55. The Public Caught Her In A Lie
In 1967, Margaret engaged in a brief affair with Robin Douglas-Home, a nephew of a former British Prime Minister. However, she later denied everything and insisted their relationship was platonic. Until, that is, she was caught red-handed. Her love letters to him came out, spilling the beans—and her lies—to the world. And somehow, it got messier.
56. She Was A Black Widow
In the end, Princess Margaret had a good reason to deny the fling, given the tragic way it all turned out. Robin Douglas-Home never really recovered from their breakup, and Margaret’s denials probably did nothing to comfort him. Then, just 18 months after their romance fell apart, he fell into a deep depression and took his own life.
57. She Could Be Heartless
Around this time, Margaret’s famous wit took on a very mean streak, reflecting her own bitter personal life. Once while she was at a fashionable party in New York, a fellow guest asked the princess how the Queen was doing. Margaret’s reply was legendarily cruel. She sniped, “Which one? My sister, my mother, or my husband?” And her claws only sharpened as time went on.
58. She Had A Biting Wit
It now didn’t take much for Princess Margaret’s serene facade to crack, even in public. One time at an event, she sat next to the supermodel Twiggy. For two hours, the princess flat-out refused to speak to her companion, but eventually turned to her and asked who she was. “I’m Lesley Hornby, ma’am, but people call me Twiggy,” Twiggy said. Margaret’s only response? “How unfortunate.”
59. Her Husband Wrote Her Hate Mail
By the late 1960s, Princess Margaret’s marriage to Armstrong-Jones had turned into a tragedy. And one day, her husband went way too far. The Earl of Snowdon started putting little notes around the house and in books for Margaret to find, but they weren’t love letters—oh, no. Instead, they said horrific things like “You look like a Jewish manicurist and I hate you.” Dear GOD.
60. Her Family Dealt Her A Cruel Blow
Despite Armstrong-Jones’s obvious mistreatment of the Princess, Margaret had very little in the way of a support system. Sadly, her stiff-upper-lip family often took her husband’s side in their squabbles, thinking that it was just Margaret being dramatic again. The tension and anxiety got so bad, even Margaret’s psyche started changing…
61. She Had Terrible Nightmares
According to Margaret herself, she often suffered horrific and recurring nightmares. The subject of these nightmares? Her own sister Queen Elizabeth II. In these dreams, the younger princess would imagine disappointing her sibling again and again. It’s no surprise, then, that Margaret’s personal life eventually hit an infamous breaking point.
62. She Had A Boy Toy
Desperately lonely and almost entirely estranged from her husband, Princess Margaret started what she called a “loving friendship” with a man named Roddy Llewellyn, a landscape gardener 17 years younger than her. She even invited him for several visits to her private island of Mustique…and that’s maybe where it became less “friendship,” more “loving”…
63. She Tried To Kill Herself
Honestly, I don’t begrudge Princess Margaret getting her groove back—but her relationship with Roddy quickly turned dangerous. She grew so dependent on him that one day when he left on an spontaneous trip to Turkey, she became despondent and overdosed on sleeping pills to shut out the world. And the real scandal was yet to come.
64. There’s One Infamous Photo Of Her
In the winter of 1976, a notorious photograph hit the British tabloids. The snap showed Princess Margaret and her supposed boy-toy Roddy Llewellyn sunning themselves on the beach in Mustique, clad only in their swimsuits. Politicians immediately and cruelly denounced Margaret as a “floosie” and a “royal parasite,” but the photo’s real damage was to her marriage.
65. She Had A Scandalous Divorce
After the tabloids hung Margaret’s dirty laundry all over their front pages, the British public could see just what a downward turn her “fairy tale” marriage had taken. With the jig up, Margaret and Antony finally sought a separation (and thank goodness for that), officially divorcing in 1978. However, Margaret’s tragedies were far from over.
66. She Lost Her Beauty
The moment Margaret finally got rid of Armstrong-Jones, the bloom of her beauty seemed to die on the vine. She was in her late 40s, single again, and the weight of the world was back on her shoulders. After seeing her briefly at a party, photographer Cecil Beaton recalled that, her “eyes seem to have lost their vigor, her complexion is now a dirty negligée pink satin.” Yet his reaction got harsher.
67. Karma Came For Her
Margaret’s acerbic wit had won her many enemies, and Beaton was apparently one of them. He not only compared Margaret unfavorably to Queen Victoria on this occasion, he all but gloried in the loss of her youth. As Beaton continued, “She was not very nice in the days when she was so pretty and attractive…But, my God, has she been paid out!”
68. She Was A “Burlesque” Of Her Sister
By the end of her life, many thought that Princess Margaret became a parody of herself. The caliber of her lovers plummeted, and her crudeness only grew with her disturbing drinking habits. Even the most casual monarchists felt she disgraced her family name, and people started characterizing her as a “nightclub burlesque of her sister.” Wow.
69. She Loved Dirty Party Tricks
Another one of Margaret’s more scandalous alleged lovers at this time includes the gangster John Bindon. Shockingly, Bindon claimed they embarked on an affair after he awed the princess with a lewd but admittedly impressive party trick—balancing five half-pint glasses upon a part of his body that, uh, I won’t name here. Look, use your imagination.
70. She Was A Snob
Although Margaret maintained a kind of young, care-free, and fashionable image to the public, many said that her real personality was much different—and much darker. She could be incredibly snobby when she wanted to be, and some even claimed she looked down on her own grandmother because she was a lower-rank princess.
71. She Had A Scandalous Daily Routine
Margaret’s daily routine as an adult was just as spoiled as it was when she was a little princess, only with darker twists added in. When she was in her mid-20s, she often insisted on having her breakfast in bed. After that, she would get into freshly laundered clothes; she only wore an outfit once before washing it. Then, she’d wander downstairs for a mid-morning “vodka pick-me-up.” Natch.
72. She May Have Been Involved In A Robbery
In 1971, the infamous “Baker Street Robbery” of Lloyds Bank occurred, where a gang tunnelled through the building and emptied hundreds of safety deposit boxes. But there may be more to the story. According to some conspiracies, the burglary was actually a cover-up to retrieve some “compromising” photos of Margaret. In some versions, MI5 hatched the whole plot to protect the Princess’s honor.
73. Her Friends Dropped Her
Perhaps the greatest sadness at the end of Princess Margaret’s time was how all her fair-weather friends left her one by one. Still, she also pushed them away: The diarist Sir Roy Strong wrote that Margaret became “tiresome, spoilt, idle and irritating” during her later years and he complained that, “She has no direction, no overriding interest. All she likes is young men.” Honestly though, same.
74. Her Body Started To Fail Her
Eventually, Margaret’s lifestyle caught up with her. In addition to her other unsavory habits, the princess was also a near lifelong smoker, having started when she was just 15 years old at the latest. By the 1980s, she needed to have doctors remove her left lung, a procedure that eerily recalled her father’s demise. Sadly, her own end was near.
75. She Had A Steep Decline
In the 1990s, the Princess began to go downhill fast. She suffered a series of strokes, and also scalded her feet in a bathroom mishap, leaving her bedridden or wheelchair bound for months on end. By 2001, she was partially paralyzed and even had difficulty swallowing. Although the Windsors are famously long-lived, the once-vibrant Princess Margaret wasn’t going to make it long.
76. She Had A Direct Line To Her Sister
Despite shows like The Crown playing up the rifts between Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, and despite the incredible hardships the two royals went through, they remained close. At one point, Margaret even installed a direct line from her home in Kensington Palace to Elizabeth’s quarters in Buckingham Palace so they could always stay in touch.
77. She Was Much Different In Private
Princess Margaret could be bright, witty, and informal, but she also had her “average” moments too. As her governess once recalled, “Impulsive and bright remarks she made became headlines and, taken out of their context, began to produce in the public eye an oddly distorted personality that bore little resemblance to the Margaret we knew.”
78. She Had A Cute Nickname
She might be “Princess Margaret” to us, but the royal family was very close-knit at the time, and all gave each other nicknames. While they called Elizabeth “Lilibet,” they most often called Margaret “Margot.”
79. Her Name Might Have Been Different
Although her family nicknamed her “Margot,” her birth name was almost completely different. Margaret’s mother actually first wanted to name her “Ann,” and she was “very anxious” to get her way. Except, well, she didn’t. Her husband King George didn’t share his wife’s love of the name, and vetoed it completely. Thanks a lot, patriarchy.
80. She Met An Eerie End
On February 9, 2002, Princess Margaret passed in King Edward VII’s hospital at the age of 71, after her long and difficult battle with multiple illnesses. The day holds an eerie meaning. Following a decline that looked much like her father’s, Margaret also passed just three days after the 50th anniversary of King George VI’s own death.
81. She Stooped To New Lows
As Margaret’s addictions to cheap drinks and sleazy men deepened, she developed some seriously tragic habits. According to one rumor, she got so used to smoking and drinking constantly that she simply glued matchboxes to her tumbler glasses to make for easier access to both vices. Is this dignified? Heck no. Is it genius? Yes.
82. She Just Couldn’t Quit Her First Love
Late into Princess Margaret’s life, people still wondered if she continued to carry a torch for her dashing Group Captain Peter Townsend after all these years. Few people know the real story. Even after their official announcement and split, the pair saw each other on and off, though they swore it was only in a friendly capacity. But there’s more…
83. Her Letters May Reveal The Truth
Although the Princess and her captain maintained they were only platonic in the decades after their romance, Margaret also made one final visit to Townsend in 1992, just a few years before his death, showing that they still kept tabs on one another. In reality, we may not know the full truth until much later. Their palace will release their love letters 100 years after Margaret’s birth, in 2030.
84. Her Husband Gave Her One Final Insult
Even in death, Princess Margaret couldn’t escape the horror show that was her marriage with Antony Armstrong-Jones. In 2004, a vicious report came out claiming that just three weeks into his marriage with Margaret, Armstrong-Jones fathered an illegitimate daughter with a mistress he had been seeing during his royal engagement. Oh, and it doesn’t end there.
85. Her Ex Told A Huge Lie
At first, Armstrong-Jones vehemently denied paternity, despite the fact that the girl, Polly Fry, claimed she had done a DNA test and that he was most certainly the father. Yet four years later, he finally admitted that the story was true. Seriously, only Antony Armstrong-Jones could do Princess Margaret so wrong even after she died.