The Dionne quintuplets on their 4th birthday in Callender, Ontario, May 28, 1938. Left to right: Emilie, Annette, Marie, Cecile and Yvonne.
The Dionne quintuplets on their 4th birthday in Callender, Ontario, May 28, 1938. Left to right: Emilie, Annette, Marie, Cecile and Yvonne.Bettmann—Getty Images
The Dionne quintuplets on their 4th birthday in Callender, Ontario, May 28, 1938. Left to right: Emilie, Annette, Marie, Cecile and Yvonne.
Sisters Olivia de Havilland (L) and Joan Fontaine at a party in Saratoga, California, circa 1934.
Sisters Sarah Grimke (L) and Angelina Grimke (R). Circa 1820s.
Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret in a library in Buckingham Palace on July 19, 1946.
The Bronte Sisters by Patrick Branwell Bronte, circa 1834.
Jacqueline Bouvier (later Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), seated, with her sister Caroline Lee Bouvier, standing behind her, wearing ball gowns, 1951.
English born doctors and sisters Elizabeth Blackwell (L) and Emily Blackwell (R). Both circa 1860s.
Zsa Zsa and Eva and Magda Gabor in 1953.
The Gish Sisters Lillian And Dorothy Gish, circa 1920s.
Sisters Abby Van Buren and Ann Landers
Andrews Sisters Portrait Session circa 1944.
Three of the Mitford sisters at Lord Stanley of Aldernay's wedding. (L-R) Unity Mitford, Diana Mitford and writer Nancy Mitford. Circa 1932.
The Dionne quintuplets on their 4th birthday in Callender, Ontario, May 28, 1938. Left to right: Emilie, Annette, Marie,
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Fame Runs in the Family With These Sisters From History

You don't have to be famous to have experienced some of the dynamics experienced by the groups in the photos above — you just have to have a sister.

Though we can only hope that others aren't experiencing sisterhood in the mold of the five identical Canadian girls known as the Dionne Quintuplets — who grew up like sideshow performers, in a home with a play space covered in glass for tourists to look through — but some of the downsides to sisterhood are practically inevitable.

For example, sibling rivalry is a common problem. Lee Radziwill has had to deal with living in the shadow of her sister, First Lady Jackie Kennedy. As Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip once told Radziwill, "‘You’re just like me – you have to walk three steps behind." And a 1942 LIFE profile of Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine noted that a dampening of their rivalry would lead to a dampening of their careers. The same went for columnists Ann Landers and Abby Van Buren (born Esther and Pauline Friedman). A 1958 LIFE profile of the feuding twins said that "it is the subtly ferocious personal struggle which lends their work its real fascination, and that without this goad neither of them would ever have begun it in the first place."

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But, even in the face of fighting, sisterhood often prevails. Though Queen Elizabeth II and her late sister Princess Margaret had their moments of disagreement, for example, the Monarch was recently seen with a clutch that seemed to bear the image of her sister's face. And, looking back into history, it's clear that sisters can accomplish a lot when they support one another — whether they're the 19th century abolitionist and suffragist Grimké sisters, the literary Brontës, or the Hyers sisters, who worked to expand the range of roles available for African-American performers in the 19th century. And of course, like the Mitford sisters, they didn't have to go into the same field in order to make their own marks on the course of world events.

For National Sisters Day on Sunday, here's a look at some of the most famous sisters of the last few centuries.

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