Princess Margaret marriage: Inside her tumultuous relationship with Antony Armstrong-Jones

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Princess Margaret has long been famous for her relationship with her only husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones – and numerous others. Their marriage eventually ended in the first major divorce in the Royal Family since Henry VIII – but what happened in the interim?

Margaret and Antony met at a dinner party in 1958, after her famous relationship with Captain Peter Townsend ended.

But it was several months later when the young photographer was commissioned to do a portrait of the princess that the couple got together.

Initially, the relationship was kept under wraps, according to royal biographer Anna de Courcy.

She said: “Nobody knew about their relationship, there wasn’t a whisper about it.

“She would see him in secret at his studio and yes, he would join her at parties, but no one could pinpoint which man she was in interested in.

“The press focused more on the ones who were seen to be eligible.

“They didn’t think of Tony who was often in the background.”

Down the line, the couple were warned not to marry, particularly by royal courtiers who would have preferred Margaret marry a wealthy aristocrat.

Instead, on February 26, 1960, her engagement to Antony was announced. 

The Royal Family themselves were apparently pleased with the match, and the public were pleased to see Maragaret with someone she wanted to settle down with.

On May 6, 1960, the couple’s became the first royal marriage to be broadcast on television.

It attracted over 300 million viewers around the world.

Following their marriage and honeymoon, they moved into Kensington Palace and Antony was given the title of Earl of Snowdon in 1961.

They later welcomed their first child, David, followed by their daughter Sarah was born three years later.

However, their happiness was short-lived, according to Ms De Courcy.

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She said: “The first few years were wonderful.

”They had a lot in common, there was banter between them—he would help her with her speeches.

“They [were] very close in the first few years.

“They were both pretty strong-willed and accustomed to having their own way, so there were bound to be collisions.”

Antony took his work very seriously and was appointed artistic advisor to The Sunday Times in 1962.

She added: “Margaret’s template of marriage was quite different from Tony’s.

“He had parents who split, while her parents’ and sister’s marriage were very happy.

“She expected her husband to be with her more, but one of Tony’s strongest motivations was work.

“He had a workshop in the basement of Kensington Palace, and while she was understanding of his work commitments, Margaret didn’t realize it would take him away from her so much.”

Following the birth of Sarah, the couple began to grow apart.

Both began to have flings throughout the 1960s, with Margaret’s most famous being with Roddy Llewellyn, a landscape gardener 18 years her junior.

In 1969, Snowdon embarked on an extramarital affair with Lady Jacqueline Rufus-Isaacs, which despite her own infidelities, upset Margaret greatly.

Eventually, the couple split in 1976, and Buckingham Palace announced the couple would be getting a divorce in 1978.

Thankfully the pair remained friends despite their differences, and Antony married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg in 1978.

Princess Anne died in 2001 after a stroke and being plagued by a number of long-term health problems.

She was outlived by her former husband, who died in 2017.

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