Princess Margaret Had the Most Indulgent Morning Routine We’ve Ever Heard Of
We can’t get enough of the royal family lately. Between the new addition to Kate and William’s family, Prince Louis, and the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, there’s plenty of drama and excitement to follow. And though Queen Elizabeth has been thrust into the spotlight recently as well, The Crown brought her late sister, Princess Margaret, out of the shadows.
Most of us didn’t know much about Margaret before watching The Crown, but now we get a glimpse of who she really was. And when it comes to her morning routine, we’ve never heard of anything more over-the-top than the hour she spent on this one activity (No. 4). Also, discover the daily ritual that may have contributed to her death (No. 5).
1. First, breakfast in bed was a must
- The princess was served breakfast in bed by 9 a.m.
As a royal, you have access to the finest food money can buy — and Margaret took full advantage. Business Insider reports Craig Brown’s book, Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret, offers up new details about the late royal’s life we’ve never heard before. Brown says by 9 a.m., she was provided breakfast in bed.
What’s particularly interesting is how this greatly differs from what her sister, Queen Elizabeth, prefers. Vogue notes the queen prefers a simple breakfast of a bowl of corn flakes — or she’s even been known to eat it straight out of the container.
Next: She spent two hours on the next step in her morning routine.
2. Then, she listened to the radio and read the newspapers
- She spent two hours listening to the radio and reading the newspapers.
After breakfast in bed was complete, Margaret wasn’t quick to rise. Vogue says Margaret then spent two hours in bed just to listen to the radio and read the newspapers. And according to Brown, she would leave the newspapers scattered all over the floor, too.
This sort of behavior is unlikely to fly in most households today. But The New York Times notes those close to the royal family say Margaret was often spoiled growing up to make up for the fact that her sister was being groomed to be queen. Perhaps this is where her lust for the extravagant was born.
Next: Margaret was a huge fan of this one filthy habit.
3. There was also plenty of chain-smoking in the morning
- Princess Margaret smoked up to 60 cigarettes a day.
Brown notes Margaret was a huge fan of chain-smoking in bed while reading the paper and listening to the radio, too. And though physicians to the royal family warned her she should stop the bad habit, Margaret didn’t heed the warning well. The Telegraph notes she would smoke up to 60 cigarettes a day. Even when her father contracted lung cancer, the stress only caused her to smoke even more heavily than before.
Due to her habits, it’s no wonder Margaret suffered throat infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia — and she even had part of her left lung removed.
Next: No royal can start their day without this luxurious activity.
4. Next, a lengthy bath
- She spent an hour each day in the bath.
After she was finished with her reading, listening, and smoking, it was time to groom by 11 a.m. Business Insider notes a maid would run Margaret’s bath and she would spend an hour soaking. Then, it was time for hair and makeup at her dressing table, followed by putting on the day’s outfit by noon. Margaret also always had all of her clothes cleaned after just one wear, so everything was fresh daily.
According to a photo of Margaret posted by one Twitter user, it appears she even wore her crown in the bath as well. Very befitting for a princess, we suppose.
Next: You can’t start the day without drinking this major indulgence.
5. Around noon, the vodka emerged
- She had her first drink before lunch.
The royals love their alcohol, it seems. In his book, Brown says by 12:30 p.m., Margaret was ready for the first drink of the day — which always contained vodka. It seems the late princess may have used alcohol as a means of escape, however — and it likely helped lead her to her death. The Guardian says Margaret’s friends report the princess would often use cigarettes and drinking as a crutch to deal with her emotions.
She’s not the only one who loves alcohol in the family, either. It seems Queen Elizabeth enjoys up to four cocktails daily.
Next: There was no such thing as a quick lunch for this princess.
6. And then a four-course lunch was to follow
- Lunch was a mix of wine, cheese, and fruit.
While many of us forgo lunch for other work-related duties these days, taking the time for a four-course meal was a must for Princess Margaret. Brown says 1 p.m. was the perfect time for her to join her mother for lunch. And it was served “informally” also, on silver dishes.
As for what was on the menu, it seems they each were given half a bottle of wine, fruit, and several varieties of cheeses, both native to England and from outside the country. And The Telegraph notes Margaret liked “simple” meals and wasn’t fond of either oysters or caviar, according to her mother.
Next: While Margaret lived it up, her sister doesn’t require the same level of extravagance.
7. Margaret’s sister, the queen, enjoys a simpler life
- Queen Elizabeth has a simpler morning routine than her sister did.
Though Queen Elizabeth awakes to bagpipers every morning, it seems she enjoys a less lavish lifestyle than her over-the-top sister did. LittleThings reveals she sips on English tea while enjoying her breakfast, though on special occasions, she is known to splurge and have scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. Surprisingly, she doesn’t always eat off of fine china, preferring to enjoy her Kellogg’s cereal out of a Tupperware container, according to her former royal chef.
Next: What the rest of the Queen’s morning looks like.
8. Answering letters and attending to state business
- The Queen answers letters and conducts official visits after breakfast.
After breakfast, the Queen reads the daily paper. Then, she answers a few letters of fan mail (she receives about 300 letters a day) and opens her “red boxes,” which contain state papers and Cabinet documents. She also attends official visits and one-on-one meetings, and even enjoys her favorite television programs at night.
The queen certainly indulges every now and then — she’s known for enjoying a gin and Dubonnet before lunch, for example. But it seems her simpler way of life is what keeps her going strong in her 90s.
Next: You may not be a royal, but here are some of the ways you can improve your morning routine, according to science.
1. Skip the morning shower
- Showering too often can destroy your skin’s delicate microbiome.
For many people, the first thing they do in the morning is hop right in the shower. As it turns out, that might not be the best thing. Your skin and hair have a microbiome of different bacteria and germs and most of that bacteria is very beneficial to your health.
Over-showering can lead to the destruction of that delicate microbiome, and actually cause you to smell worse than if you had showered less frequently. Sure you may smell a little funny for a few days, but your body will naturally put it back in balance.
Next: How often you should be showering
2. Shower once or twice a week
- Consider showering once or twice per week.
Showering once or twice a week is a good litmus to go by, but everyone is different. People have different microbiome systems, different hair types, and less or more dry and oily skin than others. The point is that you have to troubleshoot through what your body naturally needs. There isn’t a study that has been published, at least to our knowledge, that gives a comprehensive guide to how often one should shower, unfortunately.
Next: It’s actually not the best part of waking up, Folgers.
3. Have your coffee, but wait a bit
- Your body produces cortisol, a hormone that helps wake you up.
Coffee is pretty healthy for you overall, but the time of day you drink it can be counterproductive. As your body naturally wakes up, it starts to produce a natural hormone called cortisol. The peak hours your body has cortisol in it is between 8 and 9 am. This is your body’s natural caffeine.
Next: Here’s why drinking coffee is counterproductive — and it’s not what you think.
4. Drinking coffee is basically pointless early in the morning
- Drinking coffee could counteract the cortisol in your system.
Cortisol is crucial to your bodies circadian rhythm. When cortisol is peaking, your body is at the highest level of alertness according to Stephen Miller who is a Ph.D. candidate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. So drinking the coffee actually doesn’t benefit you in any way and may actually be counteracting the cortisol in your system.
Next: It might be better to hit the ground running. … Literally.
5. Get a morning run in before you do anything
- Try swapping your morning coffee for a morning run.
That’s right, hit the alarm and put on your running shoes. Skip breakfast, skip the coffee, and skip the shower. It turns out that running in the morning on an empty stomach is great for the health of your body for the rest of the day. Running in the morning can drastically help you lose weight because the body is quicker to tap into the fat reserves. It also sets up a better metabolic rate throughout the day that helps with weight loss as well.
Getting out the door that early also helps your circadian rhythm by allowing you to bask in more sunlight. It has been shown that people who get more sunlight exposure throughout the day, are thinner, healthier, and happier.
Next: BPMs matter.
6. The heart wants what the heart wants
- Aerobic activity early in the day might help put you in a good mood.
So maybe running ain’t your thing. Exercise in any form first thing in the morning is still really helpful throughout your day. But the key one for longevity is aerobics. Anything that gets the heart going helps your body with a myriad of issues that may be affecting you. Doctors suggest a minimum of 45 minutes a day of a good aerobic exercise can help with your mood and also prevent a decline in cognitive function over time. By adding this to the first part of your day, that coffee might not be necessary to help you get into a good mood.
Next: You’ve been eating dessert for breakfast and that’s not helpful.
7. Avoid the typical American breakfast
- Grab-and-go breakfasts might not give you the fuel you need to make it to lunch.
Americans are constantly on the move and often eat a “grab-and-go” style of breakfast: Muffins, pastries, donuts, cereal, etc. What you really want to be able to sustain you through to lunch is a breakfast that is full of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Most other breakfasts are just laden with sugars and empty carbs that don’t help you at all.
Next: Maybe it’s not the most important meal of the day after all.
8. Skipping breakfast may actually help you lose weight
- Intermittent fasting helps some people lose weight.
It seems pretty counterintuitive to skip breakfast all together and be able to be more alert through the day. Studies suggest that there is some benefit to what’s called “intermittent fasting.” Some people will only eat in an eight-hour window during the day and eat whatever they want.
Outside of that window they just fast and only drink water. Studies have shown that it can be just as effective as any diet out there and may help reduce the risk of cancer and add to the longevity of your life. Just as a fair warning, however, it’s best to consult your doctor before starting a diet like this.
Additional reporting by Phillip Francis and Megan Elliott.
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