While Queen Elizabeth was seen as a dutiful ruler, Margaret earned the reputation of a "rebel princess."
Despite complications, the sisters remained close throughout their lives.
Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were born four years apart. Elizabeth was born in 1926, while Margaret was born in 1930.
"Lilibet is my pride. Margaret is my joy," King George VI once said of his two daughters, according to Vogue.
This quote perfectly encompassed the sisters' close yet complicated relationship. While Elizabeth was sworn to a life of duty and acted as leader of the commonwealth for much of her life, Margaret was free to enjoy all that high-society life had to offer, from parties to traveling around the world.
As children, the two princesses were practically inseparable.
The sisters were often photographed playing in their playhouse at Windsor's Royal Lodge, swimming, or riding bikes together on the various royal properties.
When their father, King George VI, was crowned king in 1937, then-Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret stepped into the spotlight, and Elizabeth was recognized as his heir apparent.
The princesses knew their roles within the royal family. As children, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret made a broadcast to the children of the British Empire during World War II.
On October 13, 1940, future Queen Elizabeth made her first public address to the children of Great Britain, many of whom had been sent away from their homes to reside safely in the country outside of central London.
"In wishing you all 'good evening' I feel that I am speaking to friends and companions who have shared with my sister and myself many a happy Children's Hour," Princess Elizabeth said. "Thousands of you in this country have had to leave your homes and be separated from your fathers and mothers. My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for you as we know from experience what it means to be away from those we love most of all."
"To you, living in new surroundings, we send a message of true sympathy and at the same time, we would like to thank the kind people who have welcomed you to their homes in the country," she continued.
"We know, everyone of us, that in the end all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace. And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place," she concluded, joined by her younger sister, Margaret. "My sister is by my side and we are both going to say goodnight to you."
After World War II ended in 1945, 19-year-old Elizabeth and her sister partied incognito in the streets of London.
The Queen spoke about her experience leaving the palace in disguise in a 1985 BBC broadcast.
"We cheered the King and Queen on the balcony and then walked miles through the streets," Queen Elizabeth said. "I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief."
"I think it was one of the most memorable nights of my life," she continued.
As teenagers, the royal sisters also knew how to have a good time together.
In one photograph from February 1947, Margaret could be seen playing tag with sailors aboard a Royal Navy ship while Elizabeth looked on laughing.
As Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's family grew, Princess Margaret was by her side.
In this photograph dated August 21, 1951, the future Queen and Princess Margaret pose alongside Elizabeth's only daughter, Princess Anne. Princess Margaret had a close relationship with all four of Elizabeth's children and was often seen joining the royal family on outings.
Almost a year after their father passed away suddenly in February 1952, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret attended a performance at the Palladium.
Queen Elizabeth stepped into her new role seamlessly, while Margaret, seen smoking a cigarette, was often branded as the more rebellious, glamorous younger sister. Margaret, nicknamed the "rebel princess," was said to enjoy dancing, the latest fashions, smoking, and had a particular love for Famous Grouse scotch.
"It was inevitable when there are two sisters and one is the Queen who must be the source of honor and all that is good while the other must be the focus of the most creative malice, the evil sister," Princess Margaret reportedly once said.
Even after Queen Elizabeth was crowned on June 2, 1953, the two sisters remained close.
Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were so close that they even had a direct phone line between their homes so they could talk to each other whenever they wished, royal family friend Reinaldo Herrera wrote in Vanity Fair in 2016.
Their relationship became more strained when Princess Margaret fell in love with Captain Peter Townsend of the Royal Air Force, a divorced man nearly twice her age.
The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 decreed that all royal marriages had to be approved by the Queen, and given the scandal that came with Edward VIII's abdication and subsequent marriage to a divorcée, some speculated that Queen Elizabeth couldn't allow her sister to marry Townsend without making her give up her rights of succession and those of her children.
Though historians argue that Queen Elizabeth actually devised a plan that would allow her sister to marry Townsend, Princess Margaret chose instead to marry Antony Armstrong-Jones, a British photographer and filmmaker, on May 6, 1960.
In the 1970s, Princess Margaret built a house on the private island of Mustique. A photo shows one of the Queen's visits.
The royal spent most of her time on the island, creating a physical separation between her and much of the royal family, although her sister Queen Elizabeth did visit her on multiple occasions.
When the sisters did get together, they appeared to be just as close as they were in their younger years.
In April 1975, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were photographed alongside their mother at the Badminton Horse Trials.
Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were photographed riding in a horse-drawn carriage together in 1990.
The '90s would turn out to be a troubling time for the Queen and other members of the royal family, with the breakdown of three royal marriages, a major fire at Windsor Castle, and the death of Princess Diana.
After Princess Margaret passed away at the age of 71 on February 9, 2002, the Queen was seen crying at her funeral.
Princess Margaret was a heavy smoker throughout much of her life and suffered a bout of pneumonia and multiple strokes before her passing.
"The Queen, with great sadness, has asked for the following announcement to be made immediately," a statement from Buckingham Palace read. "Her beloved sister, Princess Margaret, died peacefully in her sleep this morning at 6:30 a.m., in The King Edward VII Hospital. Her children, Lord Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto, were at her side."
King Charles III, then known as Prince Charles, said in a statement, "This is a terribly sad day for all my family, but particularly of course for the Queen, my mama, and my grandmother, the Queen Mother, and also for Princess Margaret's children, David and Sarah, and also my aunt's wonderful friends who, like all of us, miss her deeply."
At the funeral for Princess Margaret, the Queen could be seen softly crying, a rare show of public emotion for the stoic monarch.
"I think it was the only time anyone ever saw the queen show her emotions in public," royal family friend Reinaldo Herrera wrote in Vanity Fair. "Never explaining anything to the world — what she feels, or why she does what she does — is part of her greatness. But for a few minutes that day, as she stood by the steps of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, watching her sister's coffin being borne away, her eyes betrayed her."
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