Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret tells the story of princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister, through her appearance in the diaries and memoirs of well known people over the course of her life—1930-2002.
The princess was always in a difficult position. She had no constitutional role to fulfil, but was obliged—or certainly felt obliged—to keep up royal appearances. Her husband, Lord Snowdon, was a photographer, and she knew and partied with everyone who was anyone, not just in high society, but in artistic circles, too.
However, despite her bohemian streak, she was punctilious in matters of royal protocol. George Harrison once plucked up the courage to ask her if she wouldn’t mind leaving an after-show party, as protocol decreed that no one was allowed to eat before she left and the Beatles were starving. She left, but most people weren’t so brave.
Ma’am Darling shows how the bohemian and royal worlds clashed in the person of Princess Margaret. But it also reveals the limits of the 1960s’ social revolution. Princess Margaret may have enjoyed the company of artists and writers, but most of the artists and writers were at least as desperate to be seen at the same parties as the Queen’s sister, as she ever was to be entertained by them. This is a brilliantly original book, as much a portrait of the age as of the princess.
“Brown makes Margaret an interesting, complex figure, and he pushes the traditional form of biography by contending with both a life, and the spectacle of a life.It raises fascinating questions about formation of public impressions and somehow in creating this multi-faceted form, is also profoundly empathic.” Read more...