7 Royally Riotous Facts About Princess Margaret

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in the shadow of someone who is wildly famous? There are benefits, of course, to being connected to a living legend. But there are also drawbacks to forever living in another person’s shadow.

That’s something that Princess Margaret understood more than most. As the sister of Queen Elizabeth, she grew up in the shadow of one of the most famous faces in the entire world. Soon enough, she developed a legend of her own, though some remember her more as infamous than anything else. Without further ado, keep reading to discover some of the most royally riotous facts about the late, great Princess Margaret!

A family scandal made her famous

Princess Margaret was effectively thrust into the limelight at the same time that her sister Queen Elizabeth was. But because that was so long ago, it’s easy to forget that she effectively became famous thanks to a family scandal.

Originally, her uncle was King Edward VIII, and Margaret wasn’t really that close to the throne at all. However, that uncle made scandalous headlines by abdicating the crown in order to marry otherwise common American woman Wallis Simpson. Just like that, Margaret’s father, King George VI, had the big chair. And while Margaret still wouldn’t ever become the ruling monarch, it’s ironic that such a wild scandal effectively put her on the map.

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She often threw down with Queen Elizabeth

As you can imagine, someone as dignified and important as Queen Elizabeth didn’t get into too many physical altercations. But she grew up roughhousing with Princess Margaret, and both girls learned to fight dirty from a young age.

For example, Elizabeth became very good at throwing vicious punches at her sister. Margaret was arguably even more vicious in her response and wouldn’t hesitate to bite Elizabeth in response. While the girls would eventually grow out of using these particular weapons, they soon mastered the art of verbally sparring with one another. Quite a royal pair these two must have made growing up!

A daddy’s girl growing up

Considering that she ended up becoming the Queen, you might expect that Elizabeth had the favored status in her household. But when it came to their father the king, the children’s placement in the line of succession didn’t matter when it came to his affection. And King George VI made no effort to hide the fact that Princess Margaret was his favorite.

Accordingly, while he focused more on instructing Elizabeth in matters of state, the king would dote on and generally spoil Margaret. Arguably, this had a profound effect on her later on in life, and many think this is what started the young princess on her journey of royal rebellion.

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She often stole attention from her famous sister

One of the other quirks of growing up alongside the future Queen was that Margaret was usually the center of attention rather than Elizabeth. And that could sometimes make things weird between the two of them, especially when they were growing up.

Margaret developed an early reputation for lighting up a room with her charm, humor, and wit. While some noted that she was witty enough to get herself in trouble, Margaret knew better than anyone how easily she could get herself back out. Things eventually got so bad that her governess Marion Crawford eventually asked a friend to only invite Elizabeth to a party because she knew Margaret would steal all the attention!

Princess Margaret loved to party

Speaking of parties, Margaret developed quite a reputation as a party girl as she grew a bit older. It helped that she was famously lovely and had a seemingly endless list of eligible suitors who wanted to take her out. Some surely loved her for her beauty and wit…others just as surely saw marrying Margaret as their ticket into the Royal Family.

There was a dark side to all of the party Margaret did: she developed heavy habits involving nicotine and alcohol, getting to the point where some would debate whether she was a functional alcoholic or not. However, one might argue the most dangerous effect of all of Margaret’s partying is that it led to a series of heartbreaking moments on the field of romance.

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She had a scandalous and forbidden romance

Princess Margaret was never all that lucky in love despite all her suits. For example, she once nurtured a major crush on Peter Townsend that turned into a major love affair, but the fact that he was married was an impediment. Or it would have been if he didn’t divorce his wife for Margaret…who, after all this time and much speculation, decided against marrying him.

Marrying Townsend would have meant effectively leaving behind the royal income that helped fuel her parties and generally lavish lifestyle. She eventually had an absolutely horrid marriage to  Antony Armstrong-Jones that ended with a splashy divorce that generated constant headlines. 

Ultimately, Princess Margaret died in 2002 at the age of 71. Some feel she died way too young, especially compared to Queen Elizabeth. Still, it’s clear that Margaret knew how to make the most out of each moment and to get the most out of each day!