Elizabeth and Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters
By Andrew Morton
Published by Omara Books
What it’s about?
The first in-depth dual-biography of Elizabeth & Margaret, written by the bestselling royal biographer, Andrew Morton.
They were the closest of sisters and the best of friends.
But when, in a quixotic twist of fate, their uncle Edward VIII decided to abdicate the throne, the dynamic between Elizabeth and Margaret was dramatically altered. Forever more, Margaret would have to curtsey to the sister she called ‘Lillibet’. And bow to her wishes.
Elizabeth would always look upon her younger sister’s antics with a kind of stoical amusement but Margaret’s struggle to find a place and position inside the royal system – and her fraught relationship with its expectations – was often a source of tension. Famously, the Queen had to inform Margaret that the Church and government would not countenance her marrying a divorcee, Group Captain Peter Townsend, forcing Margaret to choose between keeping her title and royal allowances or her divorcee lover.
From the idyll of their cloistered early life, through their hidden wartime lives, into the divergent paths they took following their father’s death and Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne, this book explores their relationship over the years. Andrew Morton, renowned bestselling author of Diana: Her True Story, offers unique insight into these two drastically different sisters – one resigned to duty and responsibility, the other resistant to it – and the lasting impact they have had on the Crown, the royal family and the way it has adapted to the changing mores of the twentieth century.
What I think:
This is a fascinating and highly readable dual-biography of two of the most famous women in the world.
If you have enjoyed The Crown you will love this as it covers lots of the same pivotal moments in detail and gives an insight into an extraordinary institution.
Life in the Royal Family is unlike that of normal families. Despite this, Elizabeth and Margaret grow up close to their parents, The Duke and Duchess of York, and their life is a lot less glamorous than you would think.
This all changes with the abdication of Edward VIII. The elevation of the family means that the sisters are put on different parts as the heir and the spare. Elizabeth quietly accepts her duty and does everything that is expected of her, while Margaret struggles to find a role for herself and contentment with her relationships.
The chapters about the Princesses war years at Windsor Castle were really interesting. Particularly as their paths begin to diverge and they are educated for their future roles. At an early the differences in personality between the sister are apparent. But it is these very differences that provide them with support as adults.
The book covers lots of familiar ground – Princess Elizabeth’s marriage to Prince Philip, the Queen’s Coronation, Margaret’s relationship with Captain Peter Townsend and marriage to Anthony Armstrong Jones. And while it covers the events and issues with lots of accounts from those who were involved on the fringes it focuses on the dynamics between the sisters at all points.
What struck me most was the dissatisfaction Margaret feels with her life. This is particularly evident as the Queen’s children grown older and she is pushed aside. Despite her frustration she remains unfailing loyal to her sister.
The sense of loss that Margaret’s death brings as Elizabeth losses her sister and confidant is immense.
This a great read for anyone with an interest in the Royal Family. And I’m sure that future historians will continue to explore this relationship as more documents become available in the future.
If you want to read this fascinating biography use the purchase link below:
About the author:
ANDREW MORTON is one of the world’s best-known biographers and a leading authority on modern celebrity. His groundbreaking 1992 biography revealed the secret world of Princess Diana, prompting Tina Brown to declare in The Diana Chronicles, “The journalist Morton most reminds me of is Bob Woodward.” Diana: Her True Story became a #1 New York Times bestseller, as did Monica’s Story, Morton’s portrait of the young woman behind the blue dress in the Clinton White House.
The winner of numerous awards, including Author of the Year by the British Book Awards and Scoop of the Year by the London Press Club, he lives in London and has travelled extensively in the U.S., Canada, and Europe in his research for this biography.
Thank you Omara Books for.my gifted digital copy of the book and to Love Books Tours for inviting me to be a part of this engrossing blog tour