Margaret was just 71 years old when she passed away on February 9, 2002.
She had suffered a stroke that was followed shortly after by cardiac problems. Despite their many ups and down over the years, the Queen was very close to her younger sister, especially given they largely had only each other for childhood companions. It certainly broke her heart to lose her so many years ago.
Just seven weeks after Princess Margaret’s passing, the royal family suffered another tragic loss when the 101-year-old matriarch, The Queen Mother, died in her sleep on March 30.
“It was a tremendous blow [for the Queen] to lose both of them so close together, particularly at the start of her Golden Jubilee year,” Dampier tells New Idea.
“But she soldiered on and enjoyed the celebrations in 2002, as her mother and sister would have wanted her to do.”
February 6, the Queen’s accession date, has always been bittersweet for the monarch, as it’s also the day her cherished father, King George VI, died in 1952.
The monarch confirmed this in a message earlier this month on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee.
“It’s a day that, even after 70 years, I still remember as much for the death of my father as for the start of my reign,” she wrote.
As such, while June will bring plenty of celebrations for Her Majesty and her public, she prefers to commemorate the day she ascended the throne privately at home.
“She normally marks the dates quietly at Sandringham, where her father died aged only 56,” Dampier tells New Idea exclusively.
King George VI lovingly referred to his family as “we four”, but for the past 20 years, the Queen has been the only one left. And royal insiders say she’s been feeling their absence now more than ever.
With Prince Philip no longer around to comfort her, the Queen’s family are providing her with a much-needed shoulder to lean on during the difficult anniversaries of these deaths.
WATCH: Queen Elizabeth pays tribute to The Queen Mother (Article continues after video)
“She will remember them all in her own way, and her family are rallying around her to support her as much as possible, despite COVID restrictions,” Dampier says.
“I’m sure the Queen will see a lot more of all her children and their offspring going forward as they wrap her up in cotton wool for the Platinum Jubilee events.”
This year marked the first anniversary of her mum and sister’s deaths where she also hasn’t had Philip by her side. While she’s always mourning her dad, King George VI, the Queen was also devastated to lose her sister and mother within weeks of each other in 2002, which was her Golden Jubilee year.
For more, check out the latest issue of New Idea, out now.