Princess Margaret Gave Her Lady-in-Waiting a Common Household Item for Christmas

Christmas means traditions for the British royal family. They gather at Sandringham with Queen Elizabeth II to exchange presents but what do they get their staff? One year Princess Margaret gifted a lady-in-waiting a not-so-glamorous bathroom cleaning tool. 

Princess Margaret had £20 million when she died 

Princess Margaret at the annual general meeting of the National Society for the Protection of Children
Princess Margaret | Keystone/Getty Images

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When she died in 2002 at the age of 71, Margaret’s net worth was around an estimated £20 million. In today’s money, that’s nearly $25 million. 

Margaret lived a lavish lifestyle and her holdings reflected it. She owned £10 million in art and furniture, £5 million in investments. £2 million in jewelry, and £3 million in wedding gifts.

Margaret left her fortune to family. She bequeathed everything she owned to her two children, Lady Sarah Chatto and David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon. 

Princess Margaret gifted her lady-in-waiting a toilet brush for Christmas

Anne Tennant, Baroness Glenconner, Margaret’s former lady-in-waiting, shared a hilarious story about Margeret in her 2019 memoir, Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown.

She explained how Margaret would personally hand out Christmas gifts to staff over tea, according to an excerpt published in the Daily Mail

“Every year, she had a Christmas tea for us all, and would hand out parcels from under a huge tree,” Tennant said. “Sometimes, she gave us thoughtful presents, but at other times she’d give us things she deemed useful.” 

Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth II on Christmas Day at Sandringham
Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth II on Christmas Day at Sandringham | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

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She went on to note how Margaret gifted another one of her ladies-in-waiting, Jean Wills, with a toilet brush. Margaret noticed Wills’ bathroom didn’t have one so she bought one for her. 

“[Margaret] was fond of kitchen gadgets and once gave her lady-in-waiting Jean Wills a loo brush, saying: ‘I noticed you didn’t have one of these when I came to stay,’” Tennant wrote. 

Wills did in fact own a toilet brush. She’d simply put it out of sight when Margaret came to her house. 

“Jean had hidden the loo brush when Princess Margaret had visited, and was rather upset by the gesture,” Tennant said.

British royals get each other silly gifts for Christmas

Had Wills been a prominent member of the royal family her gift from Margaret would’ve probably gone over better. Every year, royals get each other gag gifts for Christmas. After all, what do you get the family who already has everything? 

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex once gave the queen a shower cap inscribed with “Ain’t Life A B**ch?” that she loved. Harry’s wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex reportedly gifted the queen a singing hamster toy. Queen Elizabeth loved it and the fact that it entertained her beloved dogs. 

Before Harry married Meghan, his sister-in-law Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge gave him a grown-your-own-girlfriend kit. Another year, Princess Anne gave Prince Charles a leather toilet seat. 

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