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Biographer Andrew Morton tackles the Windsor sisters in new book

Few people hold the same job for 70 years, but next February will mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th year as a reigning monarch. Andrew Morton, the popular, best-selling biographer who has shared stories of notable people such as Tom Cruise, Madonna, and Princess Diana, has released a new biography, “Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters.”

Morton discusses the historical backdrop of Elizabeth’s reign starting with the abdication of her uncle, King Edward VIII, so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. This event changed the course of the lives of 10-year old Elizabeth and 6-year old Margaret permanently because their father, Prince Albert, assumed the throne in his brother’s place. Margaret asked Elizabeth, “Does that mean you will have to be the next Queen?” When Elizabeth soberly replied, “Yes, someday,” Margaret responded, “Poor you.”

Elizabeth and Margaret by Andrew Morton.

As Morton tells it, the early childhoods of both Elizabeth and Margaret were “insulated and carefree.” Because their father’s upbringing had been extremely disciplined, he wanted something different for his daughter (though their strict grandparents were still influential). Elizabeth, the elder daughter, “could be depended upon to do what was asked, keeping her toys and clothes in perfect order—a reflection of her disciplined deportment.” But Margaret was “impish and high-spirited, even biting and tormenting her gentler sister whenever she did not get her way.” Their parents deeply cherished the girls, often referring to themselves as “we four”—a cozy and intimate family.