Queen Elizabeth the heir and Princess Margaret the spare

Cheryl E Preston

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Queen Elizabeth and Princess MargaretBiography screenshot

Princess Margaret was a spare

Queen Elizabeth II and her younger sister Princess Margaret found their relationship forever changed once "Lilibet" ascended to the throne. What happened between these siblings might shed some light on the strained relationship between Prince William and Prince Harry and why there is a distance between the heir and the spare.

According to Vanity Fair once Elizabeth became the Queen of England her younger sibling said “I’ve lost my father, and I’ve lost my sister,” “She will be so busy. Our lives will change.” Royal author and commentator Penny Junor points out that Margaret was not allowed to marry Peter Towsend because he was divorced. They could have married once the princess was 25 when she would not need the permission of the queen.

Being second best causes problems

It was too much for the couple and they broke up. Junor said of the tragic situation “Very difficult for her, and I think the queen probably felt she had scuppered her sister’s chance of happiness. Margaret started behaving badly and imperiously and because of the guilt, her behavior went largely unchallenged.” In 1960 Princess Margaret married photographer Antony Armstrong and they had two children, Viscount David Linley and Lady Sarah.

Throughout the marriage, Princess Margaret and Antony both had extramarital affairs and the princess often ended up in the tabloids which was embarrassing to the royal family. She and Antony eventually divorced in 1978. Author Heather Cocks says that Margaret believed herself to be queenlier than her sister and that as she fell further down the line of Royal succession her behavior became more erratic and self-destructive.

Cocks adds that being the spare is similar to being an understudy who knows the part but never gets to act it out. Some royal experts say this is why Prince Andrew and Prince Harry have made decisions that the royal family did not approve of.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA
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