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EDITIONS
Saturday, 9 February, 2002, 11:47 GMT
Friend tells of 'beautiful, joyous Margaret'
Princess Margaret in 2001
Princess Margaret: "An extremely brilliant mind"
Lord St John of Fawsley tells BBC News about his fond memories of Princess Margaret, a close friend.

She was a person of such great vitality that her death comes as a particular blow and loss.

I have got wonderful memories of her. She was the most beautiful debutante of her generation and she kept that beauty right through her life.

She had an extremely brilliant mind and she was interested in very many things, the arts in particular, and she made a great contribution to the ballet - the Royal Ballet was as much her creation as anyone else's


She was always tremendously supportive of the Queen

One of the sadnesses was a question of timing, that she was brought up at a time when women didn't receive an adequate education.

Had she done so she would've been able to develop her intellectual gifts in a better framework.

I don't think she was frustrated so much but I think she realised that she didn't have the professional and educational training which she would otherwise have had.

But as a result she threw herself in to her Royal duties. She was the true professional - she prepared for them, she performed them punctiliously and with interest and with zest.

Strong character

She was always tremendously supportive of the Queen and the institution of the monarchy and, of course, the Church of England, of which she was a devout member.

Anyone is stung by public criticism but she threw it off, she was a strong character.

She realised the penalties that there are at being in the public eye, that people will attack you, other people are jealous of you and of course she suffered from that because she was human.

But she didn't didn't let it really deeply affect her life because she drew great comfort from her wonderful children, Sarah and David.


She had overcome the various difficulties of her earlier life

Sarah in particular is a very remarkable person, she's really a saint, and she was such a help to her mother.

And she [Margaret] loved the grandchildren - that was great fun for her.

It [her life] had its ups and downs but I think the important thing to remember is that in the last decade she'd really 'come into port'.

She had overcome the various difficulties of her earlier life. She settled down, as most people do.

No recluse

She enjoyed her family, she enjoyed her duties. She had many friends and she was a devoted friend herself.

She liked her outings and what she called her 'treats' and she was an extremely happy, joyous person so it would be a mistake to think of her as a sad recluse.

But then she was struck down by this dreadful illness, which she bore with tremendous fortitude.

She retained throughout that her sense of humour and her sense of proportion as well, and although she saw few people she was at those times her old self.

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Lord St John of Fawsley
"She was a person of great vitality"

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Princess Margaret 1930-2002
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09 Feb 02 | UK
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