Princess Margaret looks just like a royal relative who shared her taste for the finer things - but are allegations she was an 'upmarket kleptomaniac' accurate?

Princess Margaret's royal relative is remembered as an avid 'collector' of fine artifacts, which some claim were obtained unfairly

Princess Margaret visiting Mons Officers Cadets School at Aldershot on 11th April 1968.
(Image credit: Ray Bellisario/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Princess Margaret's royal relative, who looked more like her than her own sister, was her beloved grandmother - Queen Mary of Teck. The stern royal is remembered for her very recognizable style and her love of 'collecting' things. Whispers regarding her collections being obtained with a five-finger discount (that's theft to you and me) have led to allegations that she was a kleptomaniac.

Queen Mary of Teck

(Image credit: Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

You needn't look much further than the excesses enjoyed in Princess Margaret’s extravagant lifestyle to get an idea of the royal's love of the finer things. Princess Margaret's decadent morning routine is, after all, a thing of legend as was her jewelry and style.

One might say that the late royal took a leaf out of her grandmother's book as Queen Mary of Teck was known for her high-end tastes. One thing that's certain is that the pair share genetics and as we've already seen with Princess Margaret’s granddaughter -  those are some pretty strong genes.

Undated picture showing the Princess Mary of Teck, the futur Queen Mary AND Two studies of Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II, made during her four day tour of British bases in Germany. Radiant in her party going clothes and carrying a big bunch of roses, the Princess arrives for the three services ball at Bad Eilsen. She is wearing a pink and white rose patterned gown of crinoline styling.

(Image credit: INTERCONTINENTALE / AFP/Getty Images AND Bettmann / Contributor/Getty Images)

It's safe to say that certain elements of Princess Margaret's personality are remembered with an infamous lens - but that's certainly not as bad as allegations of theft.

According to the King's distant cousin Princess Olga Romanoff, it wasn't quite as simple as stealing and more to do with preying on the obligations of others - owing to her elite status.

"She had kind of upmarket kleptomania," said Princess Olga, "because she would go stay in somebody's house and she'd be sitting on one of a dozen Sheraton chairs and she'd say 'Oo, I do like this chair,' And you'd be obliged to give her all 12."

Princess Margaret kisses her grandmother Queen Mary of Teck during a remembrance ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall on November 10, 1951 in London, United Kingdom.

(Image credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Seemingly word passed among those at risk of the avid 'collector' and her ways.

"So people got wise to this, and they'd say 'Oh god, Queen Mary's coming to stay,'" added Olga. "So they'd put the good stuff in the attic and bring the more rotten stuff down."

Biographer Anne Edwards discusses the Queen's habits in Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor.

"If while visiting in some aristocratic home she sighted an object that had once belonged to the Royal Family, she often would request its return, and the current owner could do nothing else but oblige," says the biographer.

This alleged behavior is referenced in a subplot in the first Downton Abbey film, where the staff noticed the disappearance of a few tchotchkes around the grand home. These included a paper-knife from the library and a miniature cupid from the drawing room.

Queen Mary, wife of King George V, wears the Order of the Garter.

(Image credit: © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Seemingly it wasn't just the upper echelons at risk from HRH's allegedly sticky fingers.

"London antique dealers were to claim that they hid all the bibelots and precious items that they knew might appeal to the Queen when they expected her to visit their premises," reads one passage from Edwards' book. "For the Queen was prone to take what she wished and they would go without payment." 

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.