Princess Margaret was the younger sister to Queen Elizabeth II. She grew up as the adored favorite of her father, King George VI, and was the naughtier sister. She grew up in a loving, stable family.
Antony Armstrong-Jones, later referred to after his marriage to Princess Margaret, as Lord Snowdon, came from a completely different background. He loved the bohemian lifestyle and was an upper class rebel, pushing the boundaries of sex, race, and class.
Tony grew up feeling rejected by his mother, who divorced his father when he was 5 years old. She remarried and had other children and didn’t have time for Tony anymore. The rejection had a profound effect on his character and he constantly sought out his mother’s love and approval. The other formative instance in his early life was when he was struck down with polio at 16. He forced himself to walk again. Polio gave him more drive and determination and he became super active and involved in rowing, skiing, and riding a motor bike.
People who knew the couple said that they relationship was doomed from the start. He couldn’t survive in her traditional world. They were very different people. He became a photographer at age 20 and exploited his social contacts and became a society photographer. He became very sexually active especially through his line of work where we worked with lots of women.
Princess Margaret and Tony met at a dinner party. She was at a vulnerable place in her life because she was recovering from the relationship with Group Captain Peter Townsend. They wanted to marry but he was divorced and in the 1950s divorce was a scandal. If she chose to marry him she would have had to give up her title as a Princess.
Tony and Margaret began dating secretly after her photographed her. He introduced her to a new world. He was never a one woman man and didn’t stop dating the other woman when he began dating Margaret. When they got engaged Tony’s mother was so thrilled and finally gave him some attention, because he had fulfilled her social climbing dreams. Sadly, Margaret pinned all her marital dreams on a man who was unstable and promiscuous.
The public was happy for Princess Margaret who was finally marrying for love. In the beginning of the marriage it was obvious they were in love, always next to each other at events. Tony followed royal protocol and attended all events with his wife, dutifully. He gave up his career as a photographer in the early days of his marriage.
Next week I’ll watch Part 2 of this doc.