As the car navigated the streets of London, crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the heartbroken woman within. Dressed conservatively in a jacket and pearls, Princess Margaret remained calm and revealed little of the anguish that she must have been feeling. But then she made an announcement that made people understand her pain. "Mindful of the church's teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth," she began. "I have resolved to put these considerations before any others." It was to be the first of many shattered dreams for the younger sister of the Queen.
A princess who didn't expect to be a princess
It didn't have to be this way for the princess. Margaret Rose was born on August 21, 1930, at Glamis Castle, Scotland. Her mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, was married to George, the second son of King George V. But even though their father was royalty, Margaret and her elder sister, Elizabeth, never imagined that he would ascend to the throne. Then, when Margaret was five years old, King George V passed away. George’s brother, Edward, initially became king — but he soon abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. So, unexpectedly, George took his place as King George VI, and Margaret became a princess.
The favored sister
Almost overnight, Margaret and Elizabeth’s worlds were transformed. Growing up, Elizabeth found herself preparing for the day that she would take her father’s place. Margaret, meanwhile, had to come to terms with being second in line for the throne. She was only six years old, but she could probably tell that her older sister was suddenly being treated with more favor. Allegedly, little Princess Margaret once complained, “Now that Papa is king, I am nothing.” However, despite the tribulations at the time, the children did have moments of normalcy.
Fighting with the future Queen
In her unauthorized 1950 book The Little Princesses, former royal governess Marion Crawford said the little girls fought like regular siblings. She wrote, “Neither was above taking a whack at her adversary if roused. Lilibet was quick with her left hook.” As for Margaret, Crawford wrote, she was “more of a close-in fighter, known to bite on occasions.” She added, “More than once, I was shown a hand bearing royal teeth marks.” The young girls frequently fought over toys and clothes, and Elizabeth’s usual complaint, Crawford remembered, was “Margaret always wants what I want.”
Margaret was treated differently — and spoiled rotten
In The Little Princesses, Crawford also detailed the differences between the sisters. She remembered how the children had received a spoonful of barley sugar from their father every night, and their responses showed just how different they were. Crawford recalled, “Margaret pushed the whole lot into her mouth. Lilibet, however, carefully sorted hers out on the table, and then ate it very daintily.” And as she grew older, Margaret was apparently allowed to take more liberties. Her father especially doted on her, reportedly once saying, “Lilibet is my pride, Margaret my joy.”