When did Princess Margaret die? How accurate is The Crown’s portrayal of Queen sister’s illness?

Jacob Stolworthy
·2 min read
 (Netflix)
(Netflix)

With more than 40 years having passed in The Crown, Netflix users are preparing for some sad scenes to come.

The hit drama is charting the life of Queen Elizabeth II from 1947 right up until the late 1990s, and the fourth season tracks events between 1977 and 1990.

Viewers who are not aware of the royal family’s history would have been surprised to see the assassination of Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance) in the new episodes.

They would also have been surprised to see Helena Bonham Carter’s Princess Margaret – who was played by Vanessa Kirby in the first two seasons – undergo exploratory surgery after suffering health issues with her lungs. The scene preceding this shows her coughing up blood.

This surgery did indeed go ahead, with Buckingham Palace releasing a statement after reading: “The Queen is very pleased at the satisfactory outcome.”

Margaret’s health scare saw her cut her cigarette intake by half (30 to 60, according to reports) and she would fully quit in 1991.

Sadly, the 1990s were a tough decade for the princess whose life was marred by sickness ahead of death in 2002.

She was hospitalised with pneumonia in 1993 and, five years later, had a mild stroke while at her holiday home in Mustique, which is where she is shown to retire to regularly in the series.

It was a bathroom accident in 1999 that left her with severe scalds on her feet and greatly affected her mobility. Ahead of her death in 2002, more strokes had left her paralysed on her left side as well as with partial vision.

<p>Princess Margaret pictured in 1992</p>Rex Features

Princess Margaret pictured in 1992

Rex Features

She died on 9 February 2002, aged 71 – three days after the 50th anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI.

Her final public appearance was at the 101st birthday celebration of her mother, who died seven weeks later.

Considering showrunner Peter Morgan has said the series will end around the point where Diana (Emma Corrin) died in a Paris car accident, it seems viewers won’t see their deaths depicted in the show.

Princess Margaret will be played by Lesley Manville in the final two seasons.

The Crown is available to stream on Netflix now, and you can find a rundown of the new season’s accuracy here.

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