Windsor: when Margaret became Diana’s best enemy

VS’is the story of a friendship gone wrong… In a new book offered to the Windsors, biographer Andrew Morton recounts how Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II, ended up becoming Diana’s archenemy the day where it decided to attack the Windsors frontally. A caustic story that the British journalist, known for his numerous biographies devoted to the royal family, describes with relish in Elizabeth & Margaret, in the intimacy of the Windsor sisterspublished this spring by L’Archipel editions.

At the start, everything started well… Princess Margaret, known for her damn character, quickly takes a liking to the young Diana, who arrives overnight at the Windsors. She will guide her in the middle of the clan and the pitfalls, the shoulder and advises her, goes out with her to the theater, plays the guardian angels, a role appreciated by Diana, who perhaps does not feel supported by her husband, Prince Charles. “I have always adored Margo, she confided to Andrew Morton, before the breakup. I love her unconditionally, and she has been wonderful to me since day one. “When the firm begins to worsen the moods or depressive crises of the young Princess of Wales, Margaret even plays the firefighters on duty by asking her sister Elizabeth to give her time to adapt. “Let her do as she pleases,” she said to the queen. Leave her alone, and everything will be fine…”

READ ALSODiana: 40 years ago, her cursed marriage with Prince Charles

But Margaret begins to distance herself from 1992 – the famous annus horribilis – when the two daughters-in-law, Diana and Fergie, will make the Windsors see all the colors. First salvo with the publication of Diana, her real story, by the same Andrew Morton, who recounts his depressions and his failed marriage, written with the active collaboration of the Princess of Wales. Second salvo with Fergie, whom Margaret always found “rude and greedy”, photographed having her toes sucked by her lover, in the south of France.

“Damn Girl”

Margaret prefers her camp and logically approaches her sister, appalled by these revelations. Even if she does not yet cut ties with her former protegee, she recommends that Charles divorce quickly, which is not on the agenda at the time. “Poor Lilibet and Charles have done everything to get rid of this damn girl, but she hangs on,” she then spreads in dinners, says Andrew Morton in his book. The height, according to her, was reached in 1995 when Diana complained about her three-way marriage – with Charles and Camilla – on the show Panorama, on the BBC. While questioning the ability of her husband and future king to reign…

This time, it’s the last straw: the sister of Elizabeth II feels personally betrayed, she throws all her magazines allocated to Diana overnight, forbids her children to see her and writes her a “blessing” letter in which she gives him the substance of her thoughts – in other words, she reproaches him for disappointing everyone. “From that day Margaret becomes his most vocal critic and his most implacable adversary,” writes Andrew Morton in his book. She recommends that Elizabeth II exclude her from the clan and pleads for the loss of her titles – which was done in July 1996, Diana being deprived of her predicate of Royal Highness.

too much noise

One would have thought that the death of the princess, a year later, would have appeased Margaret. This is not the case: if she is compatible with the fate of William and Harry, she regrets “the uproar” caused by his death and the accumulation of flowers rotting under her windows at Kensington Palace. “This Di mania goes too far,” she believes. All those flowers all over the paths, it was just awful…” She advised Elizabeth to keep it to the bare minimum, no grand funerals or family outpourings. The queen will not follow her advice, pressed by Tony Blair to join in the grief of her people… This is how Margaret will do like her sister, she will greet the passage of the coffin of this poor Lady Di in front of the gates of Buckingham, in front of cameras around the world. This does not prevent him at the same time from discussing with the queen the renovations of the toilets at Kensington Palace…

Margaret the surly does not stop there: during the months that follow, she pushes her resentment to physically destroy the memory of Diana to the bottom of the signs. We see her sorting and destroying dozens of letters that the princess had written to the Queen Mother, then putting them in large black bags and ordering their immediate destruction, instead of sending them to the family archives kept in one of the towers of Windsor Castle… Resentment to the end.

Elizabeth & Margaret, in the intimacy of the Windsor sistersby Andrew Morton, L’Archipel editions.