The One Condition Princess Margaret's Friends Had To Follow For A Royal Visit

Princess Margaret may have had a tragic life in many ways — numerous health problems, a failed marriage, tumultuous other relationships, and the frustrations that came along with being the "spare" to Queen Elizabeth II. However, that didn't stop her from enjoying a luxurious life, which she did to the fullest. The book "Ma'am Darling" (per X) described a typical morning in the princess's life: two hours in bed eating breakfast and reading the papers, followed by an hour-long bath, a leisurely dressing and makeup session, and then finally downstairs for a cocktail and an "informal" four-course lunch with her mother, Elizabeth the Queen Mother. 

Topping the list of Margaret's personal pleasures was her drinking habit, which became more pronounced with time. A friend of the princess's once told The Guardian the princess was just a casual wine sipper in her thirties, but later on in life, she took to drinking whisky throughout lunch to the point of "slurring her words slightly." Margaret also expected royal treatment when it came to her highballs, allegedly becoming snippy if her glass wasn't kept full and the ice kept fresh. 

A representative of one of the princess's charities told the outlet they always had to keep two bottles on site — one of mineral water, and one of her favorite Scotch whisky brand, The Famous Grouse — in preparation for an impromptu visit. "It might be 11 in the morning or four in the afternoon," said the insider. "If you didn't serve Famous Grouse, she could identify exactly what was in its place."

When it came to whisky, Princess Margaret accepted no substitutes

Just as King Charles allegedly has daily demands — shoelaces pressed, toothpaste squeezed on his brush just so — his late aunt, Princess Margaret, was reportedly just as persnickety about whisky, her drink of choice. Town & Country once recounted Margaret's days on Mustique, the small Caribbean island that became a favorite retreat for the élite. House parties were a daily part of life for the wealthy residents, but if one hoped to have Margaret as a regular guest, one needed to prepare accordingly. Tatiana Copeland, one of Margaret's Mustique party pals, explained it was essential to have a supply of The Famous Grouse whisky handy, or risk being on the princess's blackball list. "If you couldn't be bothered to know what she liked to drink, she probably wouldn't be bothered to come back to you," Copeland told the outlet. This required vacationers to pack some bottles in their luggage, since the brand wasn't available for sale on the island. 

For those thoughtful souls who remembered to keep her well stocked with Famous Grouse and cigarettes, Margaret would respond by letting her fun, uninhibited life-of-the-party self show. Still, even in this secluded and intimate environment, the princess never forgot her standing within the royal family — and didn't let anyone else forget it, either. According to El País, Margaret insisted on being addressed as "Your Royal Highness," and British companions were expected to bow to her. 

You can enjoy Princess Margaret's favorite drink

For a queen's sister who could easily demand the finest liquor, Princess Margaret had a surprisingly down-to-earth taste. Her preferred brand of whisky, The Famous Grouse, comes from a 128-year-old distillery in Perthshire, Scotland. Per their website, their original blend delights the nose with citrus and shortbread notes, leading to a warm fruity spiced taste with a "hint of oak."  There's also a Smoky Black variety, offering a richer palate and a "long, sweet and smoky" finish, and a Bourbon Cask edition aged in American bourbon barrels. Best of all, with prices ranging from $30-50 on Drizly, even commoners can enjoy the princess's favorite tipple. But if you want to spend something closer to a king's ransom, Famous Grouse does have a 12-year-old vintage that retails for about $250. 

Princess Margaret's favorite indulgences eventually took a toll on her, and she had to give up both drinking and smoking. Sadly, the damage had already been done; her final years were marked by ill health after a series of strokes. Not even death could keep her from having her own way: The princess planned her own funeral down to the music choices, and insisted on being the first senior royal ever to be cremated so that her ashes could be interred near the burial site of her father, King George VI. It's not known whether she instructed her family to have a final glass of Famous Grouse in her honor, but it's nice to imagine they did.