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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

The life of Princess Margaret of Connaught

Known as ‘Daisy’ by her family, Princess Margaret of Connaught was one of the most eligible Princesses in Europe. After marrying for love, she found herself happy in the role of Crown Princess of Sweden. Join me as I look at her happy life and tragically young death.


Queen Victoria with Princess Margaret, dated 1885 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

Born at Bagshot Park, Surrey, on 15th January 1882, Princess Margaret was the eldest child of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, and his wife, Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. in her journal, Queen Victoria described her reaction to the birth: ‘heard to my great joy, after 5, that Louischen [the nickname for Princess Louise Margaret] had been safely confined with a girl (always girls! My 18th granddaughter!) thank God, both are doing well’.


About two months later, on the 11th of March, the new Princess was baptised in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle by the Archbishop of Canterbury. She was given the names Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah, although she was mostly known by her nickname. Her godparents included: Queen Victoria; Prince Friedrich Karl and Princess Maria Anna of Prussia; Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany; Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia; Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales; and Prince Charles of Prussia.

Princess Margaret, dated August 1888 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

As the princess grew up, she often travelled with her parents and two siblings, Arthur and Patricia, although Bagshot Park remained their official residence. By the time they were teenagers, Margaret and Patricia were deemed two of the most beautiful, and therefore most eligible, Princesses in Europe. Due to this, Margaret’s uncle, the Prince of Wales, planned for her to marry either a European King or a Crown Prince.


In January 1905, Margaret and her family headed to Portugal, where they were to meet King Carlos I, his wife and his two sons; Louís Filipe and Manuel, who were charged with keeping the young Princesses entertained. The hope had been for one of the girls to become the future Queen of Portugal, although this wasn’t to be. As their journey continued, the family visited Sudan and Egypt. While staying in Cairo, Margaret was introduced to Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, who had initially been intended for her sister – not that he was aware of this! The two instantly got along and before long, the Prince had proposed to Margaret during a dinner at the British Consulate in Egypt.


Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden and Princess Margaret of Connaught on their wedding day, 15th June 1905 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

Both her family and his were pleased with the match and soon wedding plans were being put in place. Perhaps quicker than most other weddings, the ceremony took place a few months later on 15th June 1905 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. The ceremony itself was followed up by a luncheon hosted by Gustafs parents at Windsor Castle. After this, the two headed for their honeymoon at Adare Manir, in County Limerick in Ireland. A couple of weeks later, on 8th July, the newlyweds arrived at their new home, Sofiero Palace, in Helsingborg, Sweden. It had been given to them as a wedding gift from Prince Gustaf Adolfs grandfather, King Oscar II of Sweden.

Princess Margaret with her daughter, Ingrid, dated 1910 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

Now known as ‘Margareta’, the Princess adapted well to her new life in Sweden and began dedicating her time to learning its native history and language, which she could speak almost fluently within just two years. It was her strong interest that helped increase her popularity amongst the Swedish people. Along with her new home, Margaret became dedicated to her five children, the first of which was born in April 1906. Despite it being customary of the time, Margaret disliked leaving her children in the care of others and tried to spend as much time with them as possible.


In 1907, Margaret and her husband succeeded his parents and Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden. Although her duties didn’t change much, her position allowed her to make a great difference during the First World War. Like many women, Margaret turned to work and used her interest in gardening to help train other women to work the land. Her interest in painting wasn’t quite as useful but her creativity allowed her to create ‘The Crown Princess’s Central Storage for Clothing and Equipment of the Home Guard’, which was a sewing society supported the Red Cross by making suitable clothing for Swedish soldiers.

While providing supplies was already a big help, Margaret’s biggest contribution to the war was perhaps her work trying to track and find soldiers that had been pronounced missing in action. On top of this, her position also enabled her to help prisoners trapped in war camps.


Princess Margaret, dated 1918 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III 2024

By 1920, Margaret was pregnant with her sixth child when she underwent surgery to remove a mastoid from her ear. It had been caused by a previous battle with meningitis. Following the surgery, the Crown Princess began complaining of pain below her eye. Doctors had agreed to perform a second surgery when they discovered symptoms of erysipelas under her right ear. The infection quickly got worse and developed into sepsis. Margaret died at Stockholm Palace, aged 38, at 2am on her father’s 70th birthday, 1st May 1920.

Following her written requests, she was buried in a coffin made of English oak, wearing her wedding dress and holding a crucifix. Her coffin was then covered in both the British and Swedish flag. Her body was first buried at Storkyrken next to the Royal Palace in Stockholm but was later moved to the Royal Cemetery in Haga Park in Solna, Sweden, a spot she had chosen alongside her husband.

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