Britain · Pocket Profiles · Sweden

Pocket Profile – Margaret of Connaught

I am not going to lie to you all, I was in a funk over the announcement that the Danish New Year levees are significantly downsized for this year. In general, current times are troubling. Our own LiL cheered me up by sending an Instagram post on our blog patron, the perfectly marvelous Princess Margaret, one of my favorite Belle Epoque royals. Walk with me through some photos and we’ll cheer up together. Think of it as a Photographic Pocket Profile.

Here is the Instagram post that started it all. Thanks, Lil. Note the presence of Margaret’s trademark bracelet.

Margaret of Connaught was born in 1882 at Bagshot Park, a grandchild of Queen Victoria. Her father was Prince Arthur, the 7th child of the Queen, and her mother was Princess Louise Margaret of the House of Hohenzollern. She had two siblings, Princess Patricia (a delight in her own right – read our blog post here) and Prince Arthur (who married the Alexandra who brought the Fife tiara into the family). Below Margaret is photographed with her mother and siblings in 1890. (Bracelet alert!)

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Margaret was part of the large British royal family, and participated in many seminal events. Here is the family grouping at Princess Mary’s wedding in July 1893. Margaret is second from the left in the second row, in profile.

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Margaret was known as Daisy as a young girl. This isn’t dated, I’d put it perhaps somewhere from 1887 to 1900. I think her charm comes through very clearly here.

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This extended family grouping was done in 1897. I peered at this one for quite a while, knowing that she’s here, that she would be about fifteen, and that she’s probably one of the two Gibsonesque girls in the back row.

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The next year, when she was sixteen, she was photographed standing behind Princess Mary in this picnic shot. The fashions of the time showed off her tiny waist to perfection.

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In 1902, Margaret with her mother and sister were photographed in their robes for the coronation of King Edward VII. Patricia was known as Patsy at this time, and I believe she is sporting one of the family bracelets.

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Margaret met Gustaf Adolf of Sweden while on a family tour of Europe and Northern Africa. Both she and Patsy were shopped around as potential spouses to many royal houses, but it was at a stop in Egypt that they met up with the Swedish heir. Although Gustaf Adolf was initially identified as a match for Patsy, it was Margaret who was smitten. The feeling was reciprocated, the match was generally approved, and they were married in 1905. Margaret and her new husband moved to Sweden, where she became known as Margareta.

The young couple is shown below in 1906, with the addition of their first son, Gustaf Adolph. The Princess was a devoted and present mother, and engaged her growing family in her interests. The children were often taken along on her photographic expeditions, and Margaret brought her enthusiasm for art to their nursery. She was a particular fan of Claude Monet, something she shared with her daughter Ingrid, who developed a life long appreciation for Impressionism.

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During World War I, Margareta as highly active on the home front, organizing the women of the country in sewing undergarments for the soldiers, acting as an intermediary for missing soldiers, and establishing the Margareta fundraiser for the poor. Her positive support for political democratic reform was a great influence on her husband, and a key to modernizing Sweden at the end of the Great War.

Below, Margareta is shown with her family of four in 1913, just before the outbreak of the war.

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In 1919, the year before her death, the Crown Princess was featured on the cover of Filmjournalen magazine. It was a bit of a shock to me to see the modern hair here.

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Princess Margaret died of sepsis in 1920, while pregnant with her sixth child. It was a blow to her husband and children, and a shock to the Swedish public who had come to love their transplanted English princess. For royal watchers in general and for this blog in particular, she gifted many things: an enormous number of royal descendants, a bracelet tradition, a lace tradition, and a beautiful wedding tiara among them.