Most members of the royal family have a large number of people who work for them from chefs to chauffeurs to maids and butlers. This was true for Queen Elizabeth II‘s late sister, Princess Margaret. In fact, her staffers had some very strong opinions about her and even dubbed the Countess of Snowdon “Her Rude Highness.”
Some of the strict rules the princess had in place had to do with her morning routine. Here’s more on what Margaret’s staffers did every day from breakfast in bed to drawing her bath.
Princess Margaret was described as ‘difficult’ to work for
In the documentary Royal Servants Peter Russell, who was a palace aide between 1954 and 1968, said working for Margaret was “difficult.”
One example Russell gave is that the princess, who was a heavy smoker, thought it was perfectly fine to use her staffers as human ashtrays because she couldn’t be bothered with trying to find a place to flick her ashes. Russell revealed that Margaret would have someone follow her around at all times and hold an ashtray in their hands for her to use whenever she needed.
“Of course, at a banquet for instance or a big social occasion, it meant you had to dance attendance on her all night long,” he said. “Possibly to be just standing to her left or right with an ashtray, so she didn’t have to look to see where she flicked her ash.”
Her morning routine included hour-long baths
In his book Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret, biographer Craig Brown detailed the royal’s morning routine, which kept her staffers watching the clock since everything had to be timed out perfectly in order not to upset the princess.
The Daily Mail noted that Margaret had “breakfast in bed, followed by two hours in bed listening to the radio, reading the newspapers (which she invariably left scattered all over the floor), and chainsmoking.”
Brown wrote that at 11 a.m. sharp it was time for her bath which was drawn and prepared for her daily by her lady’s maid. The princess never took a shower because she and other royals believe “showers are for people who are rushing out the door to get to work.” And Margaret certainly didn’t rush her bath as her aides knew not to disturb her while she soaked in the tub for an hour every day.
After her lengthy bath, she would have her hair and makeup done at her dresser before heading downstairs at 12:30 for a vodka pick-me-up. Followed by being served a four-course lunch and a half a bottle of wine.
Margaret was hospitalized after an accident in a tub
These days, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles are very strict about the temperature of their bathwater. It is even checked with a thermometer by their aides before they can get in. The reason for that is because of what happened to Margaret in 1999.
The BBC reported that queen’s sibling was hospitalized after she burnt her feet in a tub of scalding hot water during a vacation on an island in the Caribbean.
“Princess Margaret scalded her feet in an accident on holiday in Mustique,” a palace spokesman said at the time. “She was seen by a local doctor in Mustique and came back to London a week after the accident.”
The spokesperson added that upon her return, her burns were treated and she was being looked after by nurses at Windsor Castle who were helping with her dressings. The incident ultimately resulted in the loss of mobility in her feet and she would sometimes use a wheelchair to get around.