Margaret a 2-Pack-a-Day Smoker : Part of Princess' Lung Removed--It's Benign

From Times Wire Services

Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II, underwent an operation to remove a "small area of her left lung" that proved to be non-cancerous, the hospital announced today.

A press spokesman for the 54-year-old princess said Margaret, a heavy smoker, was in satisfactory condition at the National Heart and Chest Hospital in London and is expected to leave the hospital within the week.

"Princess Margaret underwent an operation yesterday," the hospital statement said. "This was to remove a small area of her left lung, which was found to be innocent," meaning non-cancerous.

"I am very relieved that everything went all right and that it was not something serious," said Lord Snowdown, the princess' former husband. "I hope the princess will be back home very soon."

Margaret was taken from her apartment at Kensington Palace to the hospital Saturday afternoon, and doctors had said she was undergoing tests.

Published reports said Margaret had been suffering chest pains and difficulty breathing. Newspapers on Sunday linked the tests to the princess' smoking habit, reportedly of more than 40 cigarettes a day. She is often photographed at parties with a tortoise-shell cigarette holder in her right hand.

She was treated for upper respiratory illness in 1978 while on an official tour of the South Pacific and Far East.

Her father, King George VI, and her uncle, the Duke of Windsor, both died of lung cancer.

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