The Prodigal Princess

Margaret was the first Diana, always struggling to play by her own rules

It's hard to remember now, but at one time the British royal family was very sensitive about scandal. This was before Charles convened his triangular marriage with Diana and Camilla, before Andrew and Fergie went their separate wiggy ways, before Prince Harry discovered pot. To be precise, it was the 1950s, in the still lingering aftermath of the abdication of Edward VIII, when the young Queen Elizabeth II was gamely reinforcing the credibility--meaning the dullness--of the throne and her younger sister Margaret was straining at the leash.

When she died last week at 71, just hours after suffering her third...

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