Inside Queen Elizabeth And Princess Margaret’s Complex Relationship

Elizabeth Windsor was known to the world as Queen Elizabeth II for the 70 years of her reign, but to her sister, Princess Margaret, she was always “Lilibet.” The two women loved each other, but they were very different people. Elizabeth was calm, responsible, and conservative, while Margaret was rebellious. And as a result, their relationship was complex to say the least.

Never meant to be queen

Elizabeth was never supposed to be queen: when she was born, her grandfather King George V was on the throne, and after him her uncle Edward was supposed to follow. It was only because of Edward’s abdication that Elizabeth became heir presumptive. Her father was made King George VI, and young Elizabeth was groomed to take the crown after him.

The favored sister

Edward’s abdication of the throne caused a seismic shift in the royal family, understandbly, and young Margaret most definitely felt it. She was only six years old, but she could tell that her older sister was suddenly being treated with more favor. Elizabeth was, of course, now a future queen. Allegedly, little princess Margaret once complained, “Now that Papa is king, I am nothing.”

Parts of a normal childhood

However, despite the tribulations at the time, the children did have moments of normalcy. 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.”

Two very different sisters

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.” 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.