Snowdon & Margaret Part 2

In the mid 60s they were the most modern and glamourous royal couple. They parties they threw were attended by the elite of the artistic world such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and Frank Sinatra.


People were never allowed to forget that she was a Princess. She was always regal and grand in every setting. Tony became increasingly tired of his wife’s high standards and royal ways. They began to argue in front of others.  Tony began working again and would go away for long stints. The unhappiness led to affairs, due to the feelings of neglect. He asserted his independence and she was left lonely.

Princess Margaret was known to be temperamental and Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother were sympathetic to him. Tony was having an affair with the neighbor’s daughter who was 16 years his junior. The press threatened to come out with the story and the girl admitted to the affair. Tony’s world was crashing in on him and he took it out on Margaret.

As their marriage began to unravel, Margaret was starting to gain weight and began drinking. Margaret then started a relationship with a man 17 years her junior, Rody Luellen. When the press printed a photo of Margaret with her younger lover it was the last straw for Tony. He saw it as a way out of the marriage. The press wasn’t so kind and Tony came out on top, making it seem like it was her fault.

They divorced in 1978 and she was devasted. Divorce went against her religious beliefs and felt she had let the royal family down. This divorce was the first in the royal family in more than 400 years.

Her health deteriorated after the divorce, while Tony’s photography career continued. He continued to keep a good relationship with the royal family despite the divorce. The family appreciated that he had never spilled the beans on the marriage with Margaret.


Tony went on to get remarried to a lady he was having an affair with while he was still married to Margaret. But his wandering eye and promiscuous ways continued and he had a love child with a woman 30 years his junior, when he was 67 years old. He then had his second divorce.

It’s really a sad story of the marriage but very interesting and scandalous. I didn’t know the Queen actually had a sister until recently. Margaret passed away in 2002 at the age of 71 after suffering several strokes. And Tony is still alive today at age 83.

Snowdon & Margaret

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.

NPG x125228; King George VI; Queen Elizabeth II; Princess Margaret; Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother by Studio Lisa (Lisa Sheridan)

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.