Did Princess Margaret suffer from lifelong 
undiagnosed depression? And could a doomed   early romance have been one of the sources 
of Margaret's mental health struggles? Princess Margaret and her   sister Queen Elizabeth II experienced a profound 
loss at a relatively early age when their father,   King George VI, died from lung cancer. Margaret 
was only 22 years old when George passed away, and   in the years that followed, many of her highs and 
lows mirrored those of her dearly loved father's. King George VI died in his sleep following a 
battle against lung cancer. As notes,   the monarch's unexpected passing had an 
enormous impact on his oldest daughter,   Elizabeth, who was named queen at the age of 
25. His death also impacted Margaret's life,   as she struggled with her role as the 
second born or "spare" as her great-nephew   Prince Harry infamously put it in his 2023 
memoir. Royal author Andrew Morton told Fox   News that the role didn't come easily 
to the younger sister. As he put it, "Margaret was faced with struggles as a 
spare […] The challenge is to find a   relevant and meaningful role in life.

way you are not seen as someone standing in   the shadow of somebody else, someone who is 
going to be king or queen. It's difficult." Princess Margaret's place in the British   royal family came with plenty of privileges that 
only a handful of people have truly enjoyed,   but it also came with setbacks and denials that 
were difficult for her to bear. In 1944, Margaret   met and fell in love with Group Captain Peter 
Townsend, who worked for her father. Townsend   was also a married father of two, though that 
didn't seem to slow down the attraction the pair   shared. Ultimately, Townsend and his wife divorced 
in 1952 and he proposed to Margaret a year later. Unfortunately, Margaret's royal family 
wasn't supportive of the relationship.   Queen Elizabeth told her younger sister that 
she and Townsend could not marry because he   was a divorcee and the marriage would have 
violated the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.

"It was essentially seen as a 
sin to marry a divorced man." As a result, she would have had to give up 
her status in the line of succession within   the family. Margaret eventually 
ended her engagement to Townsend,   choosing to retain her status 
within the royal family. "A divorcee couldn't even enter 
the royal enclosure at royal ascot,   never mind marry a royal princess. 
It was just unheard of, unthinkable." Princess Margaret eventually   met photographer Tony Armstrong-Jones 
in 1958 when they both attended the   same party — though nothing serious took off 
between the pair until months later. The two   made things official in May 1960 when they 
married at Westminster Abbey. They had two   children together, though the pair didn't 
exactly enjoy a completely happy home life. As Biography has noted, both Margaret and 
Armstrong-Jones were fond of drinking,   and Margaret often began her day by drinking 
vodka in bed, an act that eventually contributed   to the many physical health problems 
she faced as she aged.

Ultimately,   Margaret and Armstrong-Jones parted ways 
after each engaged in extra-marital affairs. Despite the fact that both Princess Margaret 
and her ex-husband Tony Armstrong-Jones both   had affairs while they were married, it seemed 
that the British public turned on Margaret   following their divorce. In an excerpt 
from Ben Pimlott's 1996 book The Queen,   the author explains that the announcement 
of the divorce "destroyed" the image that   the royal family had cultivated for so long that 
they could do no wrong. Pimlott wrote in his book, "Princess Margaret was somebody people had grown 
up with.

Although marriage break-ups were, by now,   ten-a-penny in the outside world, 
the revelation that the perfect   family suffered from the same tensions 
as many imperfect ones came as a shock." In his book, Pimlott also noted that 
Margaret began to encounter negativity   from the very media and press that had 
so often celebrated the choices she'd   previously made. Tabloid journalists began 
to follow Margaret and report on each man   she was seen with. This did little to 
improve her standing with the public. Princess Margaret began to experience a 
significant mental and physical decline   following her divorce from Tony Armstrong-Jones.   It has been reported that Margaret 
suffered a breakdown in the 1970s,   with some outlets writing that she attempted to 
take her own life. As The Telegraph has noted,   though the royal family denied that Margaret 
attempted to die by suicide, others weren't so   sure. Despite denials from family members and her 
friends, author Caroline Davies told the outlet, "At the height of her distress, and 
unable to sleep, she took a handful   of Mogadon tablets and anxious staff 
found they were unable to wake her." Margaret also contended with a number of 
physical ailments, including three strokes and   a lung biopsy.

The Guardian notes that her last 
stroke caused problems with both the left side   of her body and her sight; she was said to have 
grown reclusive and reluctant to leave her home. Many people believe that though she was never 
formally diagnosed, Princess Margaret suffered   from depression. And like other members of 
the royal family who have also struggled   with their mental health in the face of huge 
amounts of public attention and expectations,   it seems that Margaret was largely left on 
her own. In his book Elizabeth & Margaret:   The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters, 
royal author Andrew Morton bluntly states, "Let's face it, Margaret had depression and in the 
Royal Family you are not allowed to be depressed." In his book, Morton also claims that this 
was backed up by a friend of Margaret's,   who he says explained to him, "No one is allowed to be ill in 
that family.

But the family's lack   of understanding is making the 
princess's moods even blacker." It's also been said that this treatment went 
all the way to the top. In Morton's book,   the author alleges that when a concerned 
friend told Queen Elizabeth that Margaret   had threatened to jump out of her 
bedroom window, the queen simply said, "Her bedroom is on the ground floor.".

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