Some people are just born lucky but don't know what to do with it, that would be the motto I would assign to the life of Queen Elizabeth's late sister, Princess Margaret. Born four years after her sister the future queen, Margaret was fourth in line for the throne after her sis, father, and uncle (the same one who later was charmed by a woman named Wallis Simpson). In an excerpt, 'The Princess and the Photographer' from Anne De Courcy's biography on Lord Snowdon in the February 2009 'Vanity Fair' (No. 582) delves into the marriage between the princess and her commoner husband.
Personally, I think Princess Margaret is an interesting character to research because she had it all, but didn't do anything with it. In some ways, one gets the feeling that Princess Margaret saw the world as if it owed something to her. I guess when your sister is the young queen, and the tradition of bartering British princesses with other royal houses in Europe fell to the wayside, then the only thing left to do is to have proper tea parties and become the queen's troubled sibling. Yes, Margaret was disappointed in love at a young age, but then again who isn't? I'm sure family relations become strain when it is your older sister who nixed your relationship with a man nearly twice your age because he was divorced. You see, at the time, because the Queen was and still is the Defender of the Faith of the Church of England, it was a no-no for those of royal personage to divorce or marry someone who had been divorced. Which was the reason her uncle, King Edward, abdicated from the throne because he wanted to marry Wallis Simpson who was a divorcee, and gasp, an American. Yet, in reference to Margaret, as the song goes - Que, Sera, Sera.
Margaret was a prettier version of her older more serious sister. Described as charming as a child, it sounds that most of her staff considered her a brat as an adult. According to De Courcy's article, her employees often had to miss parties arranged for the palace staff because Princess Margaret had a hankering for some sort of exotic something which could not wait until the next day. I wonder if this is where certain Hollywood 'Divas' learned their tricks of the trade?
The future Lord Snowdon, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, met the princess when he worked as a royal photographer. Handsome and a bit of a playboy, he apparently rocked Margaret's world enough for her to accept his proposal of marriage. The funny thing (not funny ha-ha, but funny in a Dr. Phil sort of way) was that some of her closer staff, her maid for instance, treated her husband with open contempt because he was not of the manor born (yes, I know that isn't the correct way to interpret that saying, but it works for my purposes). Eventually, their marriage (the first royal wedding televised in 1960 and watched by 300 million people worldwide) couldn't weather the things that usually challenge marriages - such as affairs. Oh yes, Margaret allegedly had her fair share.
The great thing about Margaret is that she is often used in historical reference such as in the movie 'Gods and Monsters' where a pivotal scene takes place at a garden party being held in her honor. There is also a scene in 'The Queen' where a conversation with Princess Margaret (unseen) on the phone leads to a bitchy response along the line, "Diana is more trouble dead than she was alive." In the end, it has been noted by such reliable resources as Wikipedia, that Princess Margaret's greatest legacy hangs on the mantle that she made royal divorce acceptable. And isn't that how all Princesses live happy ever after?
Westerfeild © 2009