Andrew Morton’s biography of the sisters Elizabeth and Margaret covers well-trodden ground but raises some interesting points along the way ... he does a diligent and well-researched job, examining the closeness of the sisters and their conflicted relationship in a seamless, readable way.
Morton would prefer to define the queen and her late sister in terms comfortable to Us magazine: temperamental opposites who, despite their differences, came together for a higher purpose. What that purpose was and whether it was worth the sacrifice of these two limited and sometimes desperate individuals is a question that seldom floats into view ... Given the millions more who have watched the Netflix series The Crown, Morton’s narrative arc has the inescapable feeling of rehash. From young Margaret’s stymied affair with a divorced equerry to her wacky evening with Lyndon Johnson to her halfhearted midlife suicide attempt, Crown viewers will likely feel that they’ve heard this song before and that, in the superbly nuanced performances of Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter, they’ve gleaned grace notes that a glib compiler like Morton can’t aspire to ... What we need now, in any case, is not another celebrity biographer but an investigative journalist who will pry open the tiara casing around the Firm and expose its workings once and for all.
... an earnest examination of the yin-and-yang, Jackie-and-Marilyn dynamic between Queen Elizabeth and her late younger sister, Princess Margaret. The result is less deliciously inspired ... it’s hard not to lament a lack of scoops, or surprises, in Elizabeth and Margaret. Morton describes their relationship as 'intriguing but neglected,' but lingers on the oft-told saga of whether or not Margaret would relinquish her title to marry the much-older Group Capt. Peter Townsend, who wore the scarlet 'D' of divorce ... Morton provides rich context on the coldness of royal life ... In their current incarnation, the British royals strive for Barbour jacket-clad approachability, but Elizabeth and Margaret is a damning reminder of the monarchy’s imperialist roots.