QUEEN Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee year was marred by personal loss when her sister Princess Margaret died from her “unbearable” final illnesses, a royal documentary reveals.
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Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 50 years on the throne in 2002, her Golden Jubilee year. However, Her Majesty suffered personal tragedy just three days after the celebrations when her beloved younger sister died. Princess Margaret passed away on February 9 after a series of strokes which had left her with impaired vision and reduced mobility.
2012 Amazon Prime documentary “The Queen’s Diamond Decades” hears from the late princess’ oldest friend, Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, who said her last days were “unbearable”.
Lady Elizabeth said: “She said ‘the thing I think I mind the most, because of the stroke, is the compete loss of independence.’
“She said ‘I can’t really do anything for myself’.
“I felt then, the joy in her life has gone.”
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Princess Margaret (Image: Getty)
Princess Margaret with members the Royal Family towards the end of her life (Image: Getty)
She added: “She was a wonderful, wonderful friend to me.”
Princess Margaret had a private funeral at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on the 50th anniversary of her father’s funeral on February 15.
The documentary shows footage of the Queen wiping tears from her eyes as she says goodbye to her sister.
In a break with royal tradition, Princess Margaret wished to be cremated in a simple ceremony with no members of the family present.
Princess Margaret and her husband Lord Snowdon (Image: Getty)
The documentary reveals how the Queen and Margaret “remained devoted sisters” over the years, which sometimes brought tumult for the Royal Family.
Margaret fell in love with the divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend, and held the monarchy on the brink of crisis in 1953 when she had to choose whether to marry him or keep her royal title.
She chose her royal duties, and later went on to marry photographer Lord Snowdon, but Group Captain Townsend was widely regarded to have been the love of her life.
Famous in her youth for her glittering social life when she scandalised Fifties London by being pictured smoking in public, she began smoking heavily after the death of her father, from smoking-related illnesses, in 1952.
Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon with their children David and Sarah (Image: Getty)
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret with the Queen Mother in 2000 (Image: Getty)
She had 60-a-day habit and, although she gave up cigarettes after her first mild stroke in 1998, smoking contributed to her final illnesses.
In 1971, Margaret had a villa built on the exclusive Caribbean island of Mustique, and became synonymous with the tropical paradise.
Kate Middleton and Prince William have made the island their holiday favourite, too, and the Duchess of Cambridge even landed herself in hot water with the Queen when she took over Princess Margaret’s sobriquet “Queen of Mustique”.
Mustique was also the setting of the royal scandal that would prove to be the end of Margaret’s marriage to Lord Snowdon.
Their marriage was a tumultuous one, with both partners reportedly having a string of affairs.
However, when Princess Margaret was pictured in Mustique with a man much younger than herself, it provoked a crisis.
Channel 5 documentary “The Royal Family: Affairs and Infidelities”, which first aired earlier this year, delves into the circumstances surrounding the landmark royal divorce.
The documentary recalls how photographs of 44-year-old Princess Margaret and 27-year-old Roddy Llewellyn together on the island of Mustique “sent the press into a frenzy” when they surfaced in 1976.
The photographs, which seem fairly innocent by today’s standards, show the pair in swimming gear in the turquoise Caribbean waters.
Royal biographer Anne Sebba explained: “He was highly unsuitable, so these photographs were fairly dramatic really.
“Princess Margaret was after all the Queen’s sister, so what did this say about the Royal Family and their stability?”
The photographs heralded Margaret’s divorce, which made her the first major royal to divorce since the days of Henry VIII.