Despite their differences, Lady Anne Glenconner says Princess Margaret "was very loyal to the Queen"

By Simon Perry and Conchita Margaret Widjojo
March 06, 2020 10:00 AM
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Credit: Lisa Sheridan/Hulton Archive/Getty

Despite their differences, Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth were extremely close, with Margaret being “terribly loyal” to her older sister, says one of Margaret’s closest confidantes.

In her new candid memoir, Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown, Margaret’s lady-in-waiting Anne Glenconner, 87, opens up about her 30 years in service to the princess. Speaking with PEOPLE exclusively, Glenconner looks back on the intricate relationship between the two sisters.

“She always minded about not being educated as well as the Queen. The Queen had people from Eton and Cambridge, naturally. But Princess Margaret was never part of that,” Glenconner tells PEOPLE.

She adds, “[Margaret] had a governess and was taught to play the piano and speak French. She was very well read and would have really enjoyed being educated in a more stringent fashion.”

Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images

In a 2018 documentary called Margaret: The Rebel Princess, Glenconner noted that the diverging approach to educating the two sisters was when Margaret realized they were headed on very different paths.

“She said to me, ‘That was the first time I sort of thought or realized that my sister was going to be Queen and I wouldn’t really be part of what she was going to do,’” Glenconner said in the documentary. “It hit her quite hard that their lives were going to be completely different.”

However different the two sisters may have been, as their fallouts have been portrayed in Netflix’s historical drama The Crown, Margaret and Elizabeth remained extremely close. Glenconner acknowledges their age difference may have helped.

“She was terribly loyal to the Queen – and being five years younger, I think it would have been much more difficult if she had been just [a little] younger than the Queen,” Glenconner tells PEOPLE. “There would have been more rivalry. She never said anything.”

Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting draws a comparison from her own experience as the oldest child in her aristocratic family, regarding inheritance by default of being the first-born.

“With primogeniture, I missed out. You have it in many families,” she told PEOPLE. “I would help my father and I would be treated almost like a son.”

Princess Margaret and Lady Anne Glenconner

She adds, “I was the oldest but didn’t inherit. People are much better about their younger children than they were.”

Although Princess Margaret was always second to the Queen, the two were there for each other through thick and thin, up until Margaret died in 2002 following a stroke.

“Margaret was very loyal to the Queen,” says Glenconner.

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Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown will be released in the U.S. on March 24.