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At The Same Time As the Jubilee anniversary is often poignant for the Queen, twenty years in the past it used to be also devastating as her loved sister, Margaret, died three days later on February 9, aged SEVENTY TWO, following cardiac headaches. Even Supposing devoted to her simplest sibling, the Queen considered Margaret “a total enigma”. 

The Diana of her day, the click and public couldn’t get enough of Princess Margaret. Captivating in couture, she used to be the antithesis of a fusty royal. As a tender woman, she was regarded as the cleverest and such a lot modern member of the Royal circle of relatives. Her son, Lord Snowdon, informed me that his mom “used to be a woman ahead of her time”. Frank Sinatra declared of her: “the best ambassador England ever had.” On The Other Hand, the demise of George VI in 1951, while Margaret was 21, used to be a life-long blow to the Princess. 

to understand Margaret, you’ve to view her existence in the course of the lens of her relationship along with her father and her religion. the popular belief is that Margaret drank an excessive amount of and partied too laborious in a bid to drown out her despair. Damaged-hearted after her father’s loss of life, she fell in love together with his former equerry, Staff Captain Peter Townsend. Additional agonies followed because the strictures of the day forbade her marriage to Townsend, her past love, a divorcee 15 years her senior. 

After her failed marriage to Anthony Armstrong-Jones, and then the public discomfiture over her affair with the landscape gardener Roddy Llewellyn, 17 years her junior, Margaret never discovered the long-term love that she craved. The pulverising experience of abandonment after her father’s dying was once a recurring topic.  

Just Lately, I researched the life of Princess Margaret and was overjoyed to find a bright, loyal, captivating lady, largely misunderstood. one in every of Margaret’s oldest pals, Woman Penn, defined: “I Used To Be devoted to her and she or he had such a lot of admirable qualities. Kindness, intelligence and a deep experience of duty. She was a phenomenal mom and either one of her children adored her.” 

Lady Penn’s daughter, Fiona Wemyss, who “essentially grew up with Margaret”, said: “On Occasion she may well be tough and was once playing the Princess, but she was once the funniest, warmest, kindest girl i have ever identified. We spent such a lot time helpless with giggles. i’ve spent my life protecting her persona as a result of she is really easy to misunderstand.” 

Despite The Fact That devoted to her best sibling, the Queen regarded as Margaret “a complete enigma”

Key to Princess Margaret’s persona is that she was once a consummate Daddy’s Lady. While the Queen was towards her mother growing up – they shared a love of dogs, horses and racing – the more creative Margaret used to be devoted to her father, who worshipped her. As Townsend seen: “Princess Elizabeth used to be the King’s delight. Princess Margaret was once the King’s joy. She enchanted him.” Sharing her father’s fast wit but also his scorching mood, handiest Margaret may just soothe him. consistent with society photographer Cecil Beaton, only Margaret “may just retailer the King from himself in a clumsy second or whilst his notoriously short temper flared into one in all his ‘gnashes’”.

As The more youthful sister of the long run Queen, Margaret was over-indulged by her folks, especially her father, who forgave her the rest. Queen Mary, in contrast, considered her spoilt and “espiègle” (mischievous). Margaret was extra boisterous and a focus-in quest of than her sister, but their nanny, Marion Crawford, stated that the youngest Princess had the “softest of hearts”. 

the author J M Barrie recalled attending her fifth birthday celebration, while a desk was once piled with items that despatched Margaret into “a frenzy of glee”. A DIFFERENT present used to be positioned beside her plate. “Is that really your personal?” asked an resentful young Barrie. “It’s yours and mine,” spoke back Margaret.   

On February 5 1952, after a day’s shooting birthday party at Sandringham, King George VI listened to Margaret play the piano for him after dinner. His eldest daughter used to be on a tour of East Africa. After 10.30pm, he kissed Margaret just right night. He at all times kissed Margaret – and only Margaret – thrice. Once on every cheek and then once more, such was once his adoration of her. That evening he died in his sleep from lung most cancers. At his funeral, Margaret’s wreath bore the simple message: “Darling Papa, from his ever-loving Margaret.”

Being the second kid of the King was demanding for Margaret, who, in phrases of personality, had higher star high quality than her sister. Elderly six, while she learnt that her father was once to become King, she mentioned unhappily: “I used to be Margaret of York and now I’m nothing.” After her father died, she felt cut adrift, confiding to a pal that she had “an awful experience of being in a black hole”.  

The King’s loss of life bolstered Margaret’s emotional reliance on Townsend, who was made comptroller of the Queen Mother’s household. For all her brash insouciance and imperious tendencies, Margaret was once insecure, her hauteur a repayment for her feelings of inadequacy. Townsend noticed that at the back of her flinty façade lay “an extraordinary softness and sincerity”. 

Princess Margaret with RAF officer Group Captain Peter Townsend considered one of Margaret’s strongest reasons for now not marrying Townsend was once that, within the long run, it used to be easier to turn him down than to forgo her right to Holy Communion Credit: Popperfoto

What drew Margaret and Townsend together was their shared belief system. The Princess regarded as Townsend “a religious explorer” like herself. She allowed Townsend an extraordinary glimpse of her sacred inside world. A committed Christian, Margaret’s unwavering religion knowledgeable her important choices. Her wisdom of the Bible used to be so complete that she was once able to be confirmed at 14, even supposing she nonetheless had to wait until she was once 17. Her non-public prayer staff performed a seminal phase in her early twenties. 

In 1953, the Church of britain threatened to bar the Princess from taking the sacrament if she and Townsend married. (The clergy later admitted that the Church were unsuitable to make such a press release.)  

Opposite to standard trust, one among the strongest purposes for no longer marrying Townsend, consistent with her friends, was now not the prospect of abandoning her regal perks and rank but the indisputable fact that, within the long run, it was once more straightforward to show him down than to forgo her right to Holy Communion. it is telling that once she made her choice to not marry, the primary person that she informed was once the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Geoffrey Fisher, her non secular mentor. She drove to Lambeth Palace, where he exclaimed: “What an attractive particular person the Holy Spirit is.”

Throughout The Townsend affair, the Queen acted with characteristic sensitivity and kindness towards the couple. She invited him to dine together with her and Prince Philip and Townsend used to be struck by means of the “Queen’s movingly simple and sympathetic attractiveness of the worrying reality of her sister’s love for me”. 

The timing of the affair was once disastrous, as the Queen was making ready for her Coronation. the perspective of the Queen Mother was once to position her head within the sand and not to intrude. “She was once now not a mother to her child,” Lord Charteris mentioned ruefully of the Queen Mom at the time. The Princess was once grieving her father, her mother was emotionally inaccessible, and her sister was not as to be had to her – wrapped up as she was once with issues of state and her young family. Townsend was once Margaret’s solace.

The Queen was right; Princess Margaret used to be an enigma. She was extra advanced than our emotionally easy monarch. Possibly at this time of remembrance, the Queen will learn the easy and wonderful prayer that her sister wrote: “after we with worldly things commune/ And prayerless shut our door/ We lose our valuable gift divine/ To worship and adore.”

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