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Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
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Title: Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
Full Name: Margaret Rose
Father: George VI
Mother: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Born: August 21, 1930 at Glamis Castle, Scotland
Relation to Elizabeth II: Sister
Married: Antony Armstrong-Jones
Divorced: July 11, 1978, on May 6, 1960
Children: David Armstong-Jones (Viscount Linley), and Sarah (Lady Sarah Chatto)
Died: February 2, 2002 at Kind Edward VI Hospital, London, aged 71 years, 5 months, and 13 days
Buried at: Windsor
Princess Margaret was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II. She was born on August 21, 1930. When she was 6 years old her Uncle Edward VIII abdicated, her father Prince Albert became King George VI, and she became 2nd in line to the throne. The two Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose were educated at home and spent most of the war years at Windsor Castle. Their Scottish governess Marion Crawford described Elizabeth as been the sensible one and Margaret as being full of fun and spoilt by her parents. In 1947 she joined her parents and sister on a tour of South Africa where she was chaperoned by the King’s equerry Group Captain Peter Townsend who had a distinguished war record in the RAF. Margaret was a bridesmaid at her sister wedding in 1947, and when her father fell ill with lung cancer she was appointed one of the Counsellors of State. She was close to her father and devastated by his death in 1952. Her sister Elizabeth became Queen.
Margaret fell in love with Peter Townsend who by 1953 was divorced from his wife. He was 16 years older than her and had two children. She declared their wish to marry but it was opposed by her mother, the Church and the British cabinet under Winston Churchill on the grounds that he was a divorcee. Her Uncle Edward had been forced to abdicate 17 years earlier over his wish to marry Wallis Simpson. Controversy raged for some time until Margaret issued a statement that she “had decided not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend.”
In May 1960 she married society photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones. They became the Earl and Countess of Snowdon, and had two children David Armstrong-Jones born in 1961 and Sarah in 1964. The marriage brought Margaret into high society and although she carried out public duties on behalf of her sister, she was regularly criticised by the press for frivolous and bohemian living. Margaret and her husband drifted apart, and in 1974-6 she had an affair with a younger man Roddy Llewellyn which became public when photos were printed of them together in swimsuits at her retreat in Martinique. She and Armstrong-Jones were divorced in 1978.
Her later life was marred by illness. She had smoked heavily like her father and in 1985 had a lung removed. In 1998 she had a mild stroke, and suffered scalds to her feet, and in 2001 further stokes which left her partially paralysed. She died in 2002 just 6 weeks before her mother.
‘I have as much privacy as a goldfish in a bowl’ – Princess Margaret (complaining of intrusion into her private life)
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