Royal Sisters: Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret's Relationship Through the Years

Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, shared a lifelong bond

01 of 11

1932

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Princess Elizabeth — then 6 years old — and her 2-year-old sister, Margaret, share a hug. Until 1936, neither Elizabeth nor Margaret expected their father to become king. But when his brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson, their lives were turned upside down.

02 of 11

1936

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Besides a similarity in looks, the two sisters shared a love of dogs — here, they pose with two of their corgis at the Royal Welsh House.

03 of 11

1939

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Three years after their father succeeded the throne, the lookalike sisters, Elizabeth, then 13, and Margaret, then 9, put their arms around each other in a portrait.

04 of 11

1944

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They may be wearing crowns, but they're in costume! In 1944, the sisters participated in a royal pantomime production of Old Mother Red Riding Boots.

05 of 11

1946

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The two sisters relax with their father King George VI on the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor. King George died six years later, in 1952, while Elizabeth was in Kenya on an official visit. According to a letter she wrote to her cousin, Margaret Rhodes, she was devastated to have been away: "I was unable to help or comfort Mummy or Margaret, and that there was nothing one could do at all."

06 of 11

1953

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The two sisters stand with Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, at the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle.

07 of 11

1957

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Five years after becoming Queen, Elizabeth and Margaret attended the Badminton Horse Trials. It was around this time that the sisters' relationship was tested by Margaret's love affair with divorcé Peter Townsend, whom she wanted to marry. The Queen asked them to wait, and according to Margaret's biographer, Christopher Warwick, the relationship fizzled out.

08 of 11

1979

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Even as they aged, the resemblance (and similar sense of style!) between the sisters didn't fade. Here, they attend the Epsom Derby.

09 of 11

1992

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The Queen and Princess Margaret attend church on Christmas Day at Sandringham, as per royal family tradition.

10 of 11

1994

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The sisters join their mother and other family members, including Prince William, Princess Anne and Prince Charles, at Clarence House in London for the Queen Mother's birthday.

11 of 11

2000

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Six years later, Elizabeth, Margaret and the Queen Mother gather on the Buckingham Palace balcony to celebrate the Queen Mother's milestone 100th birthday. Two years later, the Queen lost both her sister and her mother within a month of each other — Margaret died in February 2022 and the Queen Mother that March.

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