Princess Margaret’s Unhealthy Party Habits Included Smoking 60 Cigarettes a Day and That’s Not All

Queen Elizabeth II and her late sister, Princess Margaret, couldn’t have been more different. The monarch was always much more reserved than her sibling and she never partied like Margaret. Another habit the queen didn’t pick up that her sibling did is smoking. Margaret would smoke anywhere from 50 to 60 cigarettes in a single day, even after her father died of lung cancer.

Here’s more on the queen’s younger sister’s partying habits and how it all caught up with her later in life.

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret | Kypros/Getty Images

Princess Margaret started smoking at a young age

Several members of the royal family were heavy smokers and Princess Margaret was no exception. She started smoking when she was a teenager and would use her staffers as “human ashtrays.”

The Express noted that in the documentary Royal Servants, Peter Russell, who worked in the royal household from 1954 and 1968, claimed that the princess couldn’t be bothered with trying to find a place to flick her ashes. Therefore, she would make one of her aides follow her around at all times and hold an ashtray in their hands for her to use.

“Of course, at a banquet for instance or a big social occasion, it meant you had to dance attendance on her all night long,” Russell 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.”

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret | Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Her morning routine included chainsmoking and drinking

Princess Margaret smoked and drank from the time she got up until the time she went to bed. Literally.

W Magazine noted that in his book Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret, Craig Brown broke down the princess’s morning routine.

According to Brown, she was woken up at 9 a.m. every day with “breakfast in bed, followed by two hours in bed listening to the radio, reading the newspapers (which she invariably left scattered over the floor) and chain-smoking.” At 11 a.m. she would soak in the tub for an hour before having her “hair and make-up at her dressing table.”

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret | Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Brown wrote that Margaret would then have “a vodka pick-me-up” before her midday cocktail at 12:30 p.m.

She also had a love for Famous Grouse whiskey. The Guardian reported that one of the princess’s friends confirmed this recalling that Margaret would get very upset with the staff if they weren’t quick to pour Famous Grouse in her glass.

Margaret’s unhealthy habits led to several health problems

The glitz and glamour that filled Margaret’s life for so long faded in her later years because of the health problems her hard-partying ways brought about.

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret | © Pool Photograph/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

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After so many years of smoking and drinking heavily, the Countess of Snowdon ended up suffering a series of strokes, which left her with partial vision and paralysis on her left side.

As Brown put it, “The end was so tragic, a half-paralyzed, bloated figure in a wheelchair but, I suppose, 50 years of cigarettes and whiskey had effectively destroyed her system.”

Margaret died on Feb. 9, 2002. She was cremated and her ashes were placed in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.