Princess Margaret’s later life was marred by illness and disability. She had smoked cigarettes since at least the age of 15 and had continued to smoke heavily for many years. On 5 January 1985 she had part of her left lung removed; the operation drew parallels with that of her father over 30 years earlier. In 1991 she quit smoking, though she continued to drink heavily. In January 1993 she was admitted to hospital for pneumonia. She experienced a mild stroke in 1998 at her holiday home in Mustique. Early in the following year the Princess suffered severe scalds to her feet in a bathroom accident, which affected her mobility to the extent she required support when walking and sometimes used a wheelchair. In January and March 2001, further strokes were diagnosed, which had left her with partial vision and paralysis on the left side. Margaret’s last public appearances were at the 101st birthday celebrations of her mother in August 2001, and the 100th birthday celebration of her aunt, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, that December.
Princess Margaret died in the King Edward VII Hospital, London, on 9 February 2002 at the age of 71 after suffering another stroke. Her funeral was held on 15 February 2002—the 50th anniversary of her father’s funeral. In line with her wishes, the ceremony was a private service for family and friends. Unlike most other members of the royal family, Princess Margaret was cremated, at Slough Crematorium. Her ashes were placed in the tomb of her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (who died seven weeks after Margaret), in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, two months later. A state memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey on 19 April 2002.