In Royal Sisters, Anne Edwards, author of the best-selling Vivien Leigh: A Biography and Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor, has written the first dual biography of Elizabeth, the princess who was to become Queen, and her younger sister, Margaret, who was to be her subject. From birth to maturity, they were the stuff of which dreams are made.
"I'm three and you're four," the future Queen, then a child, imperiously informed her sister. The younger girl, not understanding this reference to their position in the succession, proudly countered, "No, you're not. I'm three, you're seven."
The royal sisters had no choice in their historic positions, but behind the palace gates and within the all-too-human confines of their personalities, they displayed tremendous individuality and suffered the usual symptoms of sibling rivalry. Royal Sisters provides an unprecedented and intimate portrait of these most famous siblings during their formative and dramatic youthful years. It is also one of the 20th century's most fascinating stories of sisterly loyalty.
I’ve read many biographies of the British Royal Family, the Windsors in particular, but never anything in depth about Margaret. After being disappointed by the amount of artistic licence (fictionalization) there was in season 2 of The Crown, my interest in reading an accurate biography of Margaret was reawakened.
I am so enthralled by this author, her books contain so much new information and this always surprises me based on the long list of books I’ve already read. Her book “Matriarch” about the life of Queen Mary impressed me, and I was glad to see she had written a book about Margaret.
I liked the idea of a book that would focus on the sisterhood of Elizabeth and Margaret, but I don’t think the book delivered on that front. I feel like it was a great biography of the Queen, with a little of Margaret thrown in from time to time for good measure. I am not so sure I have any additional insight into the sisterly relationship between the 2 women, and I still feel like a biography completely dedicated to Margaret would have given me more of what I wanted.
In addition… where’s the rest of it!?!? It ends in 1960! As a result, the only part of her life that was covered was the “Group Captain Peter Townsend Affair” nothing about her marriage, divorce, kids, Roddy…
Despite this, I am not disappointed since overall I was feel like there was a lot of new information and I was captivated throughout.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
I found this account very pro-royal family: Elizabeth and Margaret lived happily ever after just as all royals do, despite their woeful travails. Way too much time was spent on their childhoods and Elizabeth’s early years as queen. There’s no discussion of Margaret’s life after her breakup with Townsend, other than to comment that she married Snowden only to divorce him years later. What was the reason for the divorce? What was the official reaction to such a violation of the church dogma that had kept her from marrying Townsend years before? The questions are numerous and unanswered.
And, since the subject of this book was the relationship between Elizabeth and Margaret, I assumed the author would cover all of the years until Margaret’s death in as great detail as their childhoods and early adulthood. Sadly, the author chose not to do so. The summary conclusion of the book was cursory at best and rather boilerplate. Disappointing to say the least.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful