Queen Elizabeth Was Always ‘Resented’ By Princess Margaret

There was a time when Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth II had a good relationship, but that all changed when Her Majesty was forced to make a big decision about Margaret’s love life that created lasting resentment between the siblings. A new documentary explored Margaret and Elizabeth’s complicated relationship and revealed that Margaret’s romance with Group Captain Peter Townsend forever changed how she looked at her big sister.

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Princess Margaret, and Elizabeth the Queen Mother
Queen Elizabeth II, with her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret Rose (June 1952) | Photo by Central Press/Getty Images

Princess Margaret falls in love

Princess Margaret gained a reputation as being the gorgeous albeit rebellious daughter in the royal family. Growing up as the younger sister of Elizabeth, Margaret was destined to take a back seat in the monarchy.

Despite living in the shadow of Her Majesty, Margret managed to captivate citizens around the world with her outgoing personality, though her romance with Townsend created the most controversy in her life.

Margaret and Townsend sparked a romance when he was working as an equerry to King George VI. Townsend, who was married at the time, eventually worked under Elizabeth as well. In 1952, Townsend got a divorce and subsequently asked Margaret to marry him. There is little doubt that Margaret would have accepted the proposal, but she needed to get Queen Elizabeth’s permission first, per the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. Unfortunately, there were several hurdles that made it impossible for Elizabeth to agree to the marriage.

Queen Elizabeth forces Margaret into a difficult situation

One of the biggest problems with Margaret and Townsend’s romance is that the Church of England was vehemently against divorce in the 1950s. There was also the fact that Winston Churchill’s administration opposed remarriage, which left Elizabeth in a tough spot. According to Express, Elizabeth had no choice but to tell Margaret that she could marry Townsend but only if she gave up her position in the royal family.

“The Church was not going to give any special dispensation and the politicians were not going to okay it,” Victoria Arbiter, a correspondent with the royal family, explained. “So it became ever more apparent that the only way it was going to go ahead was if Margaret gave everything up.”

400806 29: (FILE PHOTO) Charles, Prince of Wales (L-R) and Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret
Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret | Photo by Getty Images

If Margaret married Townsend, she would have given up her titles, her residence at Kensington Palace, and her yearly income. At the end of the day, Margaret chose the royal family over love, which created a lasting resentment between her and Elizabeth.

In her official statement in 1955, Margaret let the public know that she decided against marrying Townsend because of her duty to the country. Sadly, Margaret’s relationship with Elizabeth was never the same and led to years of tension.

Inside Margaret’s life of scandals

Her romance with Townsend aside, Margaret faced plenty of scandals over the years. Margaret was constantly criticized for her spending habits, including her lavish wedding and honeymoon, expensive restorations of Kensington Palace, and a lengthy visit to the United States. She also enjoyed a trip to the Caribbean when her baby was only eight weeks old and stopped vacationing in the UK altogether.

One of her biggest scandals was when photographers caught her getting cozy with a young man when she was still a married woman. Things got so bad that members of the British parliament started wondering if Margaret should still be on the royal family’s payroll.

Elizabeth is rumored to have lamented Margaret’s behavior, especially after she got a divorce in 1978, which was a first in the family since Henry VIII. 

Queen Elizabeth’s decision forever changed Margaret’s life

Given her behavior after rejecting Townsend’s proposal, there has been a lot of speculation that Margaret’s life would have turned out differently if she had been allowed to marry him. Despite their failed romance, Townsend and Margaret continued to communicate until his death in 1995. In fact, Margaret invited Townsend to lunch in 1992 and the pair enjoyed a meal together with several other friends.

While Margaret received heavy criticism over the course of her life, she had no regrets about her status as the black sheep of the family. In fact, according to New York Times, she allegedly remarked that disobedience is her “joy.”

Although Margaret may have resented her older sister, she was still close with Elizabeth her entire life. In her final years, Margaret slowly stepped out of the public eye and seemed content with how everything turned out.

Queen Elizabeth has not commented on the recent documentary about her younger sister.