Elizabeth & Margaret

The royal family has been much in the news lately. The Harry and Meghan Oprah interview. The recent death of Prince Philip at the age of 99. That poignant image of the Queen masked and alone at his funeral. So I was very eager to get my hands on the latest royal read.

Andrew Morton’s Elizabeth & Margaret : the intimate world of the Windsor sisters is a fascinating glimpse at the lives of two royal sisters, Queen Elizabeth and her only sibling, Princess Margaret, four years her junior. The two sisters grew up very close, though had plenty of ups and downs in their relationship. In fact I strongly suspect Margaret was personally responsible for more than a few of the Queen’s grey hairs…

91zPqyOx0wLCertainly the sisters could not have been more different. In contrast to the proper and dutiful Elizabeth, Margaret was a livelier, more willful character, easily bored by royal duties. She was quite spoiled growing up (perhaps as compensation for the burdens placed on her older sister) and allowed to get away with outrageous behaviour. As an adult, Margaret was the centre of a jet-setting, bohemian society.

So too with their love lives. Ever conventional, Elizabeth married at age 21 and spent 70 plus years with Prince Philip. Margaret, in contrast, had a colourful, varied and often controversial love life. Now doesn’t that just pique your interest and make you want to read this book?

I found Elizabeth & Margaret by long-time royalty watcher Morton a fascinating read. I was more intrigued by Margaret, who is lesser known than the Queen (obviously), but was also in many ways the more interesting character. She died nearly 20 years ago (before the Queen Mother, actually) at age 71, a rather sad and lonely figure. Yet I can appreciate Margaret’s unfailing loyalty. No matter what, she always had her sister’s back.

— Penny D.