Andrew Morton has been giving tons of interviews to support his new book, Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters. While some of the gossip about the Queen’s relationship with her sister is interesting on its own, I find it odd that Morton is using so much of his promotional time to talk about Prince Harry, Meghan and Princess Diana. I mean, he was the one who wrote the bombshell biography of Diana with Diana’s help. He’s very entrenched in the various royal courts and all of that. But what I don’t get is why he’s going above and beyond to draw the comparisons between Margaret and Harry. At this point, WHY? He did the same when speaking to Vanity Fair:
Why the Queen has always adored Harry: The Queen has shown “infinite patience” towards her grandson Prince Harry because she recognizes the challenges faced by younger royal siblings, according to biographer Andrew Morton. “I think the Queen knows that being the spare is hard and a part of her recognizes that Harry was… sometimes a bit of a lost soul just like her sister,” Morton said. “She has always wanted to protect Harry and I think in part that’s because she watched Margaret fall victim to the system. Shutting out Margaret didn’t help and the Queen has learned from that. She didn’t want history to repeat itself with Harry.”
Harry & Margo were the rebels: “When you compare personalities, Harry is like Margaret, a royal rebel. Margaret once said ‘disobedience is my joy’ and you see some of that in Harry. The Queen also knew Margaret sometimes felt like an outsider and I think that’s why she has made sure the door is always open for Harry to return to the royal fold. She will have a lot of empathy and sympathy for him because she grew up watching her younger sister act the role of the spare, which is not easy.”
Margaret struggled without a defined role within the Firm. “Margaret often felt that she was in Elizabeth’s shadow. She was four years younger, and tried to make up for the age difference by wearing the same clothes and doing the same things as her older sister, but there was a hierarchy and Margaret always came behind the Queen. She found out very soon in life that she would be number two.” Morton compares it to when Harry would complain as a child that William got the more attention, or felt left out when, for example, William alone would be invited for tea with the Queen Mother. Princess Diana would make an extra effort with Harry and insisted that her boys should be treated equally, but the fact was William was born to be king and as such was always treated differently.
The challenges of being the spare: “The Royal Family is a hierarchy and if you’re not number one that can be challenging,” said Morton, who points out that the issue of the heir and the spare has historically been problematic within the Royal Family. “There are also many parallels between the relationship between Elizabeth and Margaret and William and Harry. William is dutiful, serious, considered, cautious, just like the Queen. I think one of the main differences between Margaret and Harry was that Margaret was always loyal to the crown.”
The Queen has been more forgiving towards Harry. “She has a lot of affection for Harry. She was there the day Harry lost his mother and has been there for him ever since,” Morton said. “She has deliberately taken him under her wing. I think as a grandmother she has been far more understanding than as a mother at times.”
This is an absolute mess from Morton, I’ll be honest. The analysis is all over the place. “Margaret was always loyal to the crown” – yes, because Harry was “disloyal to the Crown” when he watched his family heap racist abuse on his wife and understood that he needed to get out. If Margo watched Lord Snowden and her children being scorned and abused by the family, she would have gotten out too, or at least she would have wanted to get out. Morton just wants to analyze the familial dynamics in a vacuum without acknowledging the change in circumstance between how “the heir” (William) treated the Spare and his wife. Elizabeth was never gleefully pushing negative stories about Margaret so that Liz could hide her own bad storylines. Morton acts like Harry left the UK because he could not stand being the spare, and it was a lot more complicated than that. Morton knows that too. So why is he doing this?
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.