Margaret and her younger sister, Patricia, were regarded as two of the most beautiful and eligible princesses in Europe, so their uncle, Edward VII, wanted them to make good marriages. After visits to the royal families in Spain and Portugal, it was expected both girls would marry into either family but it wasn’t to be as Margaret was destined to meet the love of her life in Cairo.
The future Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden met both sisters in Egypt, and while plans were underway for him to meet Patricia, he fell madly in love with Margaret and the feeling was mutual. Gustaf Adolf proposed to Margaret at a dinner held by Lord Cromer at the British Consulate in Egypt and she readily accepted. The couple were married on 15 June 1905 in St. George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle, before moving on to Sweden in July.
Needless to say the union was a happy one and Gustaf Adolf loved his wife’s English ways as he had been raised by an austere Prussian mother who had put him under constant pressure to excel. Margaret was far more laid back but very supportive and she adapted to her new life in Sweden very easily. As soon as she arrived in the country, Margaret started to learn the Swedish language and asked to be educated in the culture and history. Eventually, she began taking incognito trips out into the country to see things for herself. Margaret also had a great love for gardening, and transformed the grounds of Sofiero Palace into beautiful English gardens. She later published two books on gardening with her own illustrations.
In 1907, Gustaf’s father ascended to the throne of Sweden, making Gustaf and Margaret, Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden. When war broke out in Europe, Margaret remained pro-British, despite her Swedish mother-in-law’s German proclivities, and took part in many fundraising efforts to equip the Swedish army. Margaret also acted as an intermediary for families seeking news of loved ones who were lost or wounded in battle. Margaret’s love for reform made her popular in her adopted country, and she is often credited with saving the Swedish monarchy.
On 1 May 1920, Margaret died suddenly of an infection after surgery while pregnant with her sixth child and was buried on Karslborg Island in her wedding dress and veil as per her wishes. Margaret’s death, at the age of 38 years, came as a great shock to the British and Swedish royal families as the princess was a great favourite. It was also a particularly unhappy occasion for her father, the Duke of Connaught, as his beloved daughter died on his seventieth birthday.
On 3 November 1923, Gustaf married Lady Louise Mountbatten, formerly Louise of Battenberg, the daughter of Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, at St. James’s Palace. It was Louise who eventually became Queen of Sweden.