The Queen’s sister burned “hundreds, maybe thousands” of letters that were sent to the Queen Mother – including personal notes from Lady Diana that could have provided “so many answers”.
Princess Margaret, who died in 2002 and was Queen Elizabeth’s only sibling, turned “a decade’s worth” of letters to ash in a move that destroyed “so much truth”, a royal author has revealed on the To Di For Daily podcast.
Gareth Russell admitted the burnings were “horrifying” from a historian’s perspective because of the amount of information that was lost forever.
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Princess Margaret burning letters from Princess Diana is of a particular interest due to the reportedly frosty relationship between the pair.
This was said to deteriorate even further after the breakdown in Lady Di’s marriage to then-Prince Charles.
But Russell explained the royal didn’t destroy the letters with a malicious intent as the practise of burning correspondence was widely practised amongst aristocrats at the time, for privacy reasons.
He added: “A lot of them burnt a lot of letters so for instance, Elizabeth II’s grandmother, Alexandra of Denmark, who was our Queen Consort from 1901 to 1910, had a completely unremarkable private life — nothing scandalous. But she burned the letters.
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“Aristocrats did that because they felt that letters sent privately shouldn't ever be public — it was a breaking of a code almost. So I think the Queen Mother was fully on board with Margaret doing it.”
However, despite the normality of the letter burning, royal commentators are devastated at losing the goldmine of resources that could have been analysed.
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Kinsey Schofield, who hosts the podcast, added that Diana’s mother, Frances Shand Kydd, travelled to Kensington Palace and burned all her daughter’s letters following her death as she was also from an aristocratic background where it was common behaviour.
She explained: “I read that and I remember being horrified. There's so much information, there's so much truth that has just been destroyed. We would have so many answers.”
The historian also claimed the Queen Mother’s letters would have held extreme significance as she was “one of the most important Queen Consorts in British history”.
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