Why today holds sad memories for the Queen as she marks devastating family anniversary

The monarch lost her sister 19 years ago today

Queen Elizabeth II watches the runners in the parade ring for the Epsom Derby at Epsom Racecourse on June 1, 2019 in Epsom, England
(Image credit: Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

The Queen will likely be paying tribute to her late sister, Princess Margaret, today on the sad anniversary of her death. 

The Queen recently faced a difficult weekend, with Saturday, February 6 marking the sad passing of her father, King George VI. Whilst the monarch usually pays tribute to her late father in private at Sandringham House, this year, lockdown restrictions have meant that she was unable to travel to Norfolk for this poignant anniversary. 

Now today, just three days later, the Queen will no doubt be remembering her late sister, Princess Margaret. Princess Margaret passed away on February 9, 2002, only 7 weeks before the Queen Mother died

With so much family sadness this month and the ongoing effects of the pandemic proving challenging for everyone around the globe, this year the anniversary will perhaps be particularly difficult for the Queen.

How close were the Queen and Princess Margaret?

Four years younger than the Queen, Princess Margaret nevertheless played a significant role in royal life throughout the years. Speaking to Channel 5 documentary, Elizabeth: Our Queen, biographer Hugo Vickers reportedly discussed the extent of Princess Margaret’s presence in her sister’s life.

Mr. Vickers explained: "She was the companion of her childhood and she was younger than the Queen.”

"They did talk a lot, more or less every day, and she was a very, very constant presence in her life."

Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret (1930 - 2002) at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, UK, 8th July 1946.

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

Whilst narrator James D'Arcy noted that the Queen and Princess Margaret’s sisterly bond had been strengthened by the sudden death of their father, King George VI, in 1952. 

Mr D'Arcy said: "Princess Margaret had always been the Queen's glamorous and mischievous sister and they were devoted to each other.”

"Growing up, the Queen's family had been a tight-knit unit, they called themselves 'us four.' After the death of their father, the two sisters became even closer.

Queen Mother With Queen And Princess Margaret At Badminton

(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

The Queen seems to have devastated by the loss of her younger sister, as historian Dr. Kate Williams reportedly revealed that: "The loss of Margaret was really cataclysmic to the Queen. It was very, very painful.”

"The Queen did see that Margaret's health had been put under strain by what had been denied to her emotionally.”

"Margaret didn't choose to sacrifice all for the Crown because she loved the Crown above all."

"She chose it because she loved her sister above all. She wasn't sacrificing for the Crown, she was sacrificing for her sister,” Dr. Williams shared.

Princess Margaret (1930 - 2002) with Lord Snowdon and Viscount Linley at Kensington Palace shortly after the birth of her daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones.

(Image credit: Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960 and the couple went on to have two children, David Armstrong-Jones, now 2nd Earl of Snowdon, and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, before divorcing in 1978. Princess Margaret’s children and grandchildren continue to play a part in Royal Family life to this day.

The Earl of Snowdon’s daughter, Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, was a bridesmaid at the royal wedding of Prince William and Duchess Catherine, having an important role in this wonderful occasion.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!