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Princess Margaret


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.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with Princesses Elizabth and Margaret
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
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.


Margaret Mum
The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in 1986
Photo © Elke Wetzig/CC-BY-SA
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Books About Princess Margaret

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Book categories: Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon, Elizabeth II, George VI, Queen Mother, Windsors

Princess Margaret

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.

Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts by Christopher Warwick. Authorized biography.

Lord Snowdon

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.


Movies & Documentaries

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.

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Related Topics

Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen Mother
The Windsor Dynasty





Other Websites

Wikipedia - Princess Margaret
BBC - Princess Margaret Recovering After Scalding Accident
CBS News - Final Farewell for a Princess
People - Britain's Princess Margaret Is Dead
Vanity Fair - The Princess and the Photographer
Guardian - Decent End to a Royal Marriage



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