Britain's Princess Margaret Ailing

ByABC News
January 1, 2001, 2:41 AM

L O N D O N, Jan. 1 -- Mystery surrounds the latesthealth problem to strike Princess Margaret, younger sister ofBritains Queen Elizabeth II, after palace officials announced shewas unwell but would give no details.

The 70-year-old princess, plagued by health problems sincemiddle age including a stroke in 1998 was undergoingmedical tests and was in bed at the Queens Sandringham estatein eastern England, Buckingham Palace said Sunday.

Were confirming that the princess has been unwell over theChristmas period, a palace spokeswoman told Reuters.

A doctor came to see her this weekend and is running anumber of tests, the results of which should be known in thenext few days.

Not Hospitalized

The spokeswoman said Margaret had not been to hospital andwas being treated at Sandringham, where the royal family hasbeen spending the Christmas holiday period.

British media came up with differing interpretations ofMargarets condition.

The BBCs royal correspondent, Jennie Bond, said the tone ofthe palaces comments suggested concern rather than alarm.

A Sunday tabloid reported the once fun-loving Margaret wassuffering from chronic depression. She really has lost the willto live, the People quoted a senior royal source as saying.

Seen in Wheelchair in Rare Public Appearance

Margaret a headstrong beauty whose life of privilege hasbeen marred by ill-health, thwarted love and whiffs of scandal was a notable absentee when the royal family made traditionalpublic appearances at Sandringham this Christmas.

In middle age, her health was a matter of frequent concernto the royal family. Surgeons removed a section of her left lungin 1985 as newspapers speculated that her condition had beenbrought on by chain-smoking up to 60 cigarettes a day.

1n 1999, she was ill for several weeks after scalding herfeet while taking a bath.