Princess Margaret of Connaught (Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah; January 15, 1882 – May 1, 1920) was Crown Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Scania as the first wife of the future King Gustaf VI Adolph of Sweden.
Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom holding her granddaughter Princess Margaret of Connaught
Princess Margaret was the elder daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and his wife Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. Her father, The Duke of Connaught was third son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Princess Margaret’s mother, Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, was the daughter of Prince Friedrich-Charles of Prussia (1828–1885), the son of Charles of Prussia (1801–1883) and his wife Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1808–1877). Her mother was Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt (1837–1906), daughter of Leopold IV of Anhalt-Dessau. Louise Margaret of Prussia‘s father, was a nephew of the German Emperor Wilhelm I,and a double cousin of the German Emperor Friedrich III, the husband of her sister-in-law, Victoria, Princess Royal.
Princess Margaret was born at Bagshot Park and baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on March 11, 1882 by Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury. She was also confirmed in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle in March 1898. Princess Margaret was known as “Daisy” to her family.
When Princess Margaret of Connaught was 23 and her younger sister Princess Patricia of Connaught was 18, both girls were among the most beautiful and eligible princesses in Europe. Their uncle, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom wanted his nieces to marry a European king or crown prince.
In January 1905, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught visited Portugal, where they were received by King Carlos and his wife, Amélie of Orléans, whose sons Luís-Filipe, Duke of Braganza and Prince Manuel entertained the young British princesses. The Portuguese expected one of the Connaught princesses would become the future Queen of Portugal. No marriage proposal materialized.
The Connaughts continued their trip to Egypt and Sudan. In Cairo, they met Prince Gustaf-Adolph of Sweden, the future Gustaf VI Adolph of Sweden, grandson of the Swedish King Oscar II. Originally, Margaret’s sister Patricia had been considered a suitable match for Gustaf-Adolph; without his knowledge, a meeting was arranged with the two sisters.
Crown Prince Gustaf-Adolph of Sweden and Princess Margaret of Connaught.
Gustaf-Adolph and Margaret fell in love at first sight; he proposed at a dinner held by Lord Cromer at the British Consulate in Egypt and was accepted. Margaret’s parents were very happy with the match. Gustaf-Adolph and Margaret married on June 15, 1905 in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple spent their honeymoon at Adare Manor in County Limerick, Ireland, and arrived in Sweden on July 8, 1905.
One of Margaret’s wedding presents was the Connaught tiara, which remains in the Swedish royal jewellery collection today.
Wedding of Princess Margaret and Crown Prince Gustaf-Adolf of Sweden in 1905.
The couple had five children. Margaret was a dedicated mother to her children, and was determined to spend time with them. She was not keen on letting them be raised by nursery staff, as was the convention of the day.
When Gustaf-Adolph’s father, Crown Prince Gustaf, acceded to the throne as King Gustaf V in 1907, the couple became Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden.
Coronet of Margaret used for the Coronation of Edward VII in 1902.
The marriage between Margaret and Gustaf-Adolph is described as a happy love match. Gustaf Adolf felt great pressure from the “Prussian” military discipline with which he had been raised by his mother, and he was greatly affected by and attracted to Margaret’s differing English customs. The visiting Infanta Eulalia of Spain wrote that the Crown Princess gave the Swedish court “just a touch of the elegance of the Court of St James’s” and of how much Margaret loved her life in Sweden.
After her arrival in Sweden, Margaret, who in Sweden was called “Margareta“, received lessons in the Swedish language, and asked to be educated in Swedish history and social welfare. After two years, she spoke good Swedish. She was also eager to find out more about Sweden, and on many occasions went on incognito trips.
Margaret was also interested in art, and was an admirer of the works of Claude Monet. She photographed, painted, and took a great interest in gardening. She and her spouse received Sofiero Palace as a wedding gift, and they spent their summers there and made a great effort creating gardens in an English style on the estate; her children participated in their improvement.
During World War I, Margaret created a sewing society in Sweden to support the Red Cross. The society was called Kronprinsessans Centralförråd för landstormsmäns beklädnad och utrustning (“The Crown Princess’s central storage for clothing and equipment of the home guard”), which was to equip the Swedish armed forces with suitable underwear.
When paraffin supplies ran low she organized a candle collection, and in November 1917 she instituted a scheme to train girls to work on the land. She also acted as intermediary for relatives separated by the war. With her help, private letters and requests to trace men missing in action were passed on. She was also active in her work on behalf of prisoners. She aided prisoners of war in camps around Europe, especially British nationals. Margaret’s efforts during the war were pro-British, in contrast to mother-in-law’s strictly pro-German attitude.
At 2 o’clock in the morning on Saturday, May 1, 1920, her father’s 70th birthday, Crown Princess Margaret died suddenly in Stockholm of “blood poisoning” (sepsis). Some time before this she had suffered from measles, which aggravated her ear, and she underwent surgery to remove a mastoid. Since the previous Sunday, she had been suffering from pain in her face from something below her eye, and doctors decided to perform another procedure. On Thursday, symptoms of erysipelas appeared under her right ear.
She fell gravely ill on Friday night when symptoms of sepsis became evident, and she died within hours. At the time, she was eight months pregnant with her sixth child. In announcing her death during traditional International Workers’ Day celebrations, Swedish Prime Minister Hjalmar Branting said: “the ray of sunshine at Stockholm Palace has gone out” (Solstrålen på Stockholms slott har slocknat).
In Britain, there had been reports, vicious rumors, that Margaret was unhappy in Sweden and that her death actually had been a suicide.
Princess Margaret was buried according to her specific and detailed wishes, written in 1914. She asked to be buried in her wedding dress and her veil, with a crucifix in her hands, in a simple coffin made from English oak and covered in British and Swedish flags. She requested that there should be no lying-in-state after her death.
As mentioned her death occurred on her father’s 70th birthday and she died 30 years before her husband’s accession to the throne of Sweden. Through her daughter, Princess Ingrid of Sweden who married King Frederick IX of Denmark Princess Margaret was the Grandmother of the current Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Queen Margrethe II was named after her grandmother and, like her grandmother, is known as Daisy within the family.
On 3 November 1923 at St. James’s Palace Crown Prince Gustaf-Adolph married Lady Louise Mountbatten, formerly Princess Louise of Battenberg. Her father, Prince Louis of Battenberg, who was an admiral in the British Royal Navy, renounced his German title during the First World War and anglicised his family name to “Mountbatten” at the behest of King George V.
He was then created the first Marquess of Milford Haven in the peerage of the United Kingdom. From 1917, therefore, his daughter was known as “Lady Louise Mountbatten”. Her mother was Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Lady Louise was a sister of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and of Princess Alice of Battenberg, who was the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. She was also a niece of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia. Lady Louise was also a first cousin once removed from her husband’s first wife, Princess Margaret of Connaught.