To say that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has had a rough winter would be a serious understatement.

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This article was published 10/4/2021 (194 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

To say that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has had a rough winter would be a serious understatement.

Fissures within the walls of Elizabeth’s royal family resurfaced last fall, as reports of rifts and tiffs between the Wales brothers, her grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry, dominated the news. Then came concerns about the sketchy health of her 99-year-old spouse, Prince Philip, who passed away April 9, and the ongoing impact of the global pandemic on her subjects. And how about all that sour chirping from those California-based Sussexes, Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle, after she stripped them of their royal patronages.

The Associated Press files</p><p>Andrew Morton accessed countless anecdotes and recollections from former staff, current courtiers and old flames in his biography of Queen Elizabeth II (left) and Princess Margaret, seen here in 1955. </p>

The Associated Press files

Andrew Morton accessed countless anecdotes and recollections from former staff, current courtiers and old flames in his biography of Queen Elizabeth II (left) and Princess Margaret, seen here in 1955.

But the most recent family dust-up involves the serious but snarky fallout from this month’s TV interview with Oprah Winfrey, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared their view of life in the royal fishbowl with millions on the telly. Call it tosh* or truth, one thing’s certain: the tell-all tsunami, starring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will reverberate for reigns to come.

Blimey. The Hillbilly Elegy clan has nothing on this dysfunctional pod.

So what better time to examine the family dynamic within the House of Windsor, and its impact on past and present lineage? And who better for the job than veteran British scribe Andrew Morton in his latest biography, Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters.

"Every generation… is stalked by a shadow,’’ he writes in Elizabeth & Margaret. "The good versus the naughty royal. The rebellious extrovert versus the sensible introvert. William, the straight shooter and Harry, the wild child. Diana, the demure and Fergie the roustabout. The sun and the moon.

"These stereotypes often mask as much as they reveal. And yet, each set of royal siblings — like all siblings — feeds off this asymmetry, occupying the psychic space left by the other.’’ Whoa.

Morton’s analysis is more than flippant psycho-babble. His 15th biography does an exemplary job of fleshing out the often problematic relationship between Britain’s 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret (1930-2002). Utilizing his penchant for exhaustive, in-depth research and succinct prose — tools evident in his other bestselling royal exposés, including Diana: Her True Story (1992, updated 1998), and Meghan: A Hollywood Princess (2018) — Morton delivers more than the standard heir-and-the-spare story.

Elizabeth & Margaret is Morton at his gossipy best. By accessing countless anecdotes, recollections and impressions shared by childhood staff, current courtiers and old flames, Morton drills down into the two women’s similarities, differences and their often sad but sorry attempts at family fence-mending.

Which is not to say that Elizabeth and Margaret didn’t have each other’s backs during troublesome times. Morton says they did. He intimates that two offspring from the same royal gene pool — one raised to put duty above self, and the other putting self above all else — can always find common ground where the "family firm" is concerned.

Time will tell whether Morton’s predictions are spot on or just piffle. But you can bet the crown jewels that the House of Windsor will continue to have its royal boat rocked as 2021 unfolds.

* tosh = a Brit term for rubbish or nonsense.

GC Cabana-Coldwell is a Winnipeg-based writer who will head for high ground when the royal tsunami hits.