Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales had a lot in common. Both were thought of as rebels: people who weren’t happy with the stuffy behavior and exhaustive protocol expected of the royals. And both were, of course, remarkably beautiful and fashionable women. You’d have thought they would have been best friends for life… but they weren’t. In fact, Margaret’s attitude towards Diana ended up being a shockingly cold one.
Margaret was known for being, to put it bluntly, somewhat of a party girl. In 1960 she had wed Antony Armstrong-Jones, but the marriage soon deteriorated and Margaret looked elsewhere for romance.
She ended up having a very high-profile, very scandalous affair with a man called Roddy Llewellyn, the juicy details of which the newspapers were only too happy to report. After that, there was little option but for her to divorce her husband. Perhaps this all sounds familiar? Royal history does tend to repeat itself…
Diana likewise had a deeply troubled marriage. In fact, hers was pretty much doomed from day one, despite the happy picture she and the future King Charles III presented to the wider world.
Charles hadn’t really wanted to marry Diana in the first place, and she knew it. The then-Prince of Wales was still in love with another woman, now Queen Camilla. Back then, though, she was Camilla Parker Bowles: yes, the woman he truly loved was already married, and Diana was at best a second choice.
Three in the marriage
Diana famously said in her 1995 Panorama interview, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” She was completely correct, but her actually saying it struck horror into the hearts of the royal family.
After all, it was the received wisdom that royals were never supposed to speak so openly about their private lives. Yet Diana had done so, and in front of the entire world to boot!
No-one was more horrified at Diana’s scandalous behavior than Margaret. And that was in many ways quite saddening, because she and Diana had very much been firm friends in the beginning.
When Diana had first become part of the royal family she had desperately needed someone to show her the ropes and teach her the protocol, and that person was Margaret.