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Why Princess Margaret's death was extra devastating for Queen Elizabeth II

King Charles' aunt passed away at a difficult time for the late Queen Elizabeth II

queen princess margaret
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
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The start of 2002 was a difficult period for Queen Elizabeth II, with February seeing her sister Princess Margaret pass away aged 71.

Shortly after the upsetting death of her sister, Queen Elizabeth II's mother, the Queen Mother, died in March 2002, breaking the Queen's heart, with Prince Harry sharing emotional details in his memoir, Spare.

WATCH: Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret star in unseen childhood footage

The Duke of Sussex detailed the painful injury that proceeded the death of his great-aunt Margaret, who he called Aunt Margo. "She was unable to care for herself," he wrote. "After badly burning her feet in a bath, she was confined to a wheelchair, and said to be swiftly declining."

He went on to describe how the death of Princess Margaret impacted his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother, whom he called Gan-Gan, who was experiencing health issues of her own.

"When [Princess Margaret] died, February 9, 2002, my first thought was that this would be a heavy blow to Gan-Gan, who was also in decline," before sharing how the two tragic deaths impacted Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth II with Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother died within weeks of one another

"Granny tried to talk Gan-Gan out of attending the funeral. But Gan-Gan dragged herself out of her sickbed, and shortly after that day took a bad fall."

READ: How the Queen's cause of death differs from the Queen Mother's

The Queen Mother never recovered from the fall, and died soon after. Ahead of her funeral on 30 March 2002, her body lay in state initially at St James's Palace, before being transferred to Westminster Hall where it was guarded by members of the Welsh Guard and Yeoman of the Guard.

Queen Elizabeth II with Princess Margaret© Photo: Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, Princess Margaret

In an event later mirrored by her daughter's death 20 years later, so many members of the public arrived to show their respect that the official opening hours had to be extended.

Unlike her mother and sister, Princess Margaret had a low-key funeral following her passing on 9 February 2002.

READ: The Queen Mother turned down King George VI's marriage proposal three times

The event, which was held on 15 February 2002, was only for friends and family and unlike other members of the royal family, her body was cremated at Slough Crematorium.

queen mother funeral

The Queen Mother's coffin lay in state

Her ashes were later interred in the royal vault before being moved to the King George VI memorial chapel in Windsor where she lay alongside her father.

Margaret's funeral took place on the 50th anniversary of her father's funeral, and a further state memorial service was held on 15 April 2002.

Inside St Georges Chapel© Photo: Getty Images

Inside the King George Memorial Chapel

The Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II are also in the chapel now, alongside Prince Philip, whose body was moved there following the death of his wife.

The King George ;VI ;memorial chapel is an annex to the main chapel in Windsor and was added to the north side, behind the North Quire Aisle in 1969. It is generally open to the public, and three services per day take place there.

LISTEN: Find out what the royal family get up to before balcony appearances at Buckingham Palace

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