The almost universal conception is that the life of Princess Margaret Rose (1930-2002) was a tragic failure, a history of unfulfilment. Tim Heald's vivid and elegantly written biography portrays a woman who was beautiful and sexually alluring - even more so than Princess Diana years later - and whose reputation for naughtiness co-existed with the glamour. The mythology is that Margaret's life was 'ruined' by her not being allowed to marry the one true love of her life - Group Captain Peter Townsend. Therefore her marriage to Lord Snowdon and her well-attested relationships with Roddy Llewellyn, Robin Douglas-Home and others were mere consolation prizes. Margaret's often exotic personal life in places like Mustique is a key part of her story. Yet Tim Heald's book asks why one of the most famous and loved little girls in the world, who became a juvenile wartime sweetheart, ended her life publicly reviled or ignored. This is a story of a life in which the private and the public seemed permanently in conflict.
It is also a life that presents the opportunity to examine the 20th century history of the Royal Family, of Great Britain and our expectations of the monarchy and celebrity.
Tim Heald is a biographer, crimewriter and journalist. He was chosen by Prince Philip to be his biographer on his 70th birthday. He has been a contributor to many television obituaries of royal figures, including Prince Philip, Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother.