Prince Harry Once Asked "Was I Doomed to be the Next Margaret?"


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In Spare, Prince Harry's tell-all memoir, there's unsurprisingly a lot of discussion of second borns. Namely, he discusses another famous spare in the royal family: Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's younger sister.

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"I didn't know Princess Margaret, whom I called Aunt Margo," Prince Harry writes. "She was my great-aunt, yes, we shared 12.5 percent of our DNA, we spent the bigger holidays together, and yet she was almost a total stranger. Like most Britons, I mainly knew of her. I was conversant with the general contours of her sad life. Great loves thwarted by the Palace. Exuberant streaks of self-destruction splashed across the tabloids..."

He reminisces on not having a relationship with his great-aunt. Prince Harry writes, "Growing up, I felt nothing for her, except a bit of pity and a lot of jumpiness. She could kill a houseplant with one scowl. Mostly, whenever she was around, I kept my distance. On those rarer-than-rare occasions when our paths crossed, when she deigned to take notice of me, to speak to me, I'd wonder if she had any opinion of me. It seemed that she didn't. Or else, given her tone, her coldness, her opinion wasn't much."

Yet, he continues, he wishes he was friends with her (despite the large age gap). "Now and then, as I grew older, it struck me that Aung Margo and I should've been friends. We had so much in common. Two Spares. Her relationship with Granny wasn't an exact analog of mine with Willy, but pretty close," Harry writes. "The simmering rivalry, the intense competition (driven largely by the older sibling), it all looked familiar."

diana, princess of wales, holding a young prince harry in he
Princess Margaret, Prince Harry, and Princess DianaTim Graham - Getty Images

He also compares Margaret to his mother, Princess Diana, as both "rebels, both labeled as sirens." When he learns his great-aunt is sick in early 2002, his first thought was that he wishes "there'd been more time to get to know her. But we were well past that."

Princess Margaret doesn't appear throughout the book, but when Harry is gathering up the courage to ask Queen Elizabeth for permission to marry Meghan Markle, he thinks of the worst-case scenario: Her saying no. He asks, "Was I doomed to be the next Margaret?"

Queen Elizabeth, famously, did not grant permission for Princess Margaret to marry Peter Townsend. Unlike his great-aunt Princess Margaret, however, Prince Harry got to marry the love of his life, Meghan Markle. But who knows what Margaret would've thought of his life with Meghan.

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