8 Things You Should Know About the Late Princess Margaret
Long before Princess Diana was the "people's princess" embroiled in scandal and Princess Charlotte was giving the best face, Princess Margaret was the "spare" royal grabbing headlines. The Queen's younger sister was famous (or infamous, depending on who you asked) for her messy love life, a series of scandals, her fabulous style, and her love for a serious party. While viewers of the Netflix drama The Crown know some of the facts of Princess Margaret's life — or at least a fictionalized version of her life — most people probably don't know much about the princess. For some of the basics about Princess Margaret, plus some fun facts you probably didn't know (and some amazing pictures), click through the gallery below.
Princess Margaret Was Born in 1930, Before Her Father Was King
Princess Margaret was born on August 21, 1930, four years after the birth of her sister, the future Queen Elizabeth II. At the time, she was titled Princess Margaret of York, as her father was only a second son and her uncle Edward was expected to be king. Of course, in 1936, Edward became Edward VIII but quickly abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, leaving Margaret's father to become George VI and Margaret to simply become "The Princess Margaret."
Margaret Was a Girl Scout
Although she was the daughter of a king from the time she was six years old, Margaret's parents tried to give her and her sister Elizabeth some elements of a normal youth. Among the highlights: they arranged for a Brownie troop at the palace, and Margaret graduated to Girl Guide and Sea Ranger. From 1965 until her 2002 death, she was the president of Girlguiding UK.
Her Love Life Was Seriously Complicated
Princess Margaret's love life often put her in the tabloid spotlight (as viewers of The Crown know very well). After her romance with the much-older and divorced Peter Townsend ended, Margaret began a relationship with Antony Armstrong-Jones, a photographer. Despite pushback over a princess marrying a commoner, the couple wed in 1960 — then divorced in 1978 after a tumultuous marriage.
She Had the First Televised Royal Wedding
Although the couple's fairy tale wouldn't last, it did set one trend: televising royal weddings. The wedding of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones was the first royal wedding to be televised, and had an audience of over 300 million viewers.
She Mingled With Celebs
While her sister spent time with prominent politicians and fellow royals, Princess Margaret kept a much more eclectic social circle. She famously hung out with celebrities (such as Elizabeth Taylor, pictured here in 1969) and partied with a decidedly un-aristocratic set.
She Smoked a Lot — And Suffered the Consequences
Princess Margaret picked up the habit of smoking as a young teenager and refused to quit, even after her father died partly due to lung cancer from habitual and so-called "therapeutic" smoking. Unfortunately, she wound up with a cancerous skin lesion in 1980 and had to have part of a lung removed in 1985 due to cancer.
Her Net Worth Was Over $26 Million
Most of Margaret's wealth, estimated to have been over $26 million, was inherited from her father. However, she also inherited valuable antiques and art from her grandmother, the late Queen Mary.
She Died Weeks Before Her Mother
Princess Margaret's later years were marked by an increasingly serious series of health problems, including a trio of strokes that left her partially blind and a bath accident that scalded her feet. She died on Feb. 9, 2002 at the age of 71 — only seven weeks before her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, died in April 2002.