Born in 1930, Princess Margaret Rose was the younger sister and only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II. Their parents were King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Margaret was famous for both her beauty and her rebelliousness.
Princess Margaret (right) with her parents and sister in 1936
Photo by Marcus Adams. The Royal Collection © 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Photo source: The British Monarchy
As a young woman, Princess Margaret fell in love with an older man, royal equerry Peter Townsend. He proposed to her, but the match was opposed by the government and the Church of England because Townsend was divorced. In order to marry him, Margaret would have to give up her place in the royal line of succession.
Eventually Margaret decided to end her engagement to Townsend, explaining in a written statement, "Mindful of the Church's teachings that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before others."
Princess Margaret in Nassau, Bahamas in 1958
Photo source: The National Archives UK
Princess Margaret married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. He was given the title Earl of Snowdon shortly before the birth of their first child, David Armstrong-Jones (Viscount Linley) in 1961. A daughter, Sarah, followed in 1964.
But Margaret and Snowdon were unhappy in their marriage. Although it was considered unthinkable for a royal family member to get divorced, Princess Margaret did just that in 1978. She never remarried.
Princess Margaret had a reputation as a "party princess," and years of smoking and drinking took a toll on her health. She suffered lung problems and strokes, and sometimes used a wheelchair after a 1999 accident in which she scalded her feet in hot bathwater. In 2002, after suffering another stroke, she was taken to a hospital, where she died in her sleep. She was 71 years old. Her 101-year-old mother, who attended the funeral, died the following month.
The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in 1986
Photo © Elke Wetzig/CC-BY-SA
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons
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Princess Margaret by Theo Aronson. Queen Elizabeth II's sister, Princess Margaret, spent her life torn between meeting the exacting standards of the monarchy and flouting them. She was described as tragic, a royal maverick, a princess without a cause.
Margaret: The Last Real Princess by Noel Botham. Biography of Queen Elizabeth II's unconventional younger sister.
Princess Margaret: A Life Unravelled by Tim Heald. A biography based on unprecedented access to the Royal Archives and those closest to Princess Margaret, including her ex-husband, Lord Snowdon, and her son, Lord Linley.
Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts by Christopher Warwick. Biography of one of the most controversial royal figures of the 20th century.
Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner. A memoir of drama, tragedy, and royal secrets. The author was Princess Margaret's lady-in-waiting and closest confidante.
Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters by Andrew Morton. Biography of drastically different sisters - one resigned to duty, the other resistant to it.
Royal Sisters: Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret by Anne Edwards. How the royal sisters felt toward each other, their parents, and the men they loved.
Anecdotes and Quotes
Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown. The tale of Princess Margaret is Cinderella in reverse: hope dashed, happiness mislaid, life mishandled. This experimental biography combines interviews, parodies, dreams, diaries, essays, and more. (Also published under the title Ma'am Darling.)
The Wicked Wit of Princess Margaret by Karen Dolby. Sister of Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret made no secret of her intolerance for the dim-witted, the disobedient or the boring.
Snowdon: Public Figure, Private Man by Brian Hoey. When photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones married Princess Margaret in 1960, he became a member of the royal family -- and the "first royal rebel." The author talked to Snowdon's son and others to create a "full and frank portrait of this fascinating man."
Snowdon: The Biography by Anne de Courcy. Antony Armstrong-Jones married Britain's Princess Margaret in 1960. They divorced in 1978 -- the first royal divorce since Henry VIII.
Lord Snowdon by Lord Snowdon. A collection of Lord Snowdon's best photographs, including royals, aristocrats, celebrities, and people from other walks of life.
Night of Triumph by Peter Bradshaw. On VE Night, 1945, teenage Elizabeth and Margaret were allowed to leave the Palace incognito to celebrate.
The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Blalock. Fictional account of young Princess Margaret's outrageous life seen through the eyes of a lady-in-waiting.
These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.
The Queen's Sister. This 2006 TV movie stars Lucy Cohu as the scandalous Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II.
Wikipedia - Princess Margaret