Harry Myers/REX/Shutterstock

From the age of 6,   Princess Margaret had been destined to live in the shadow associated with her older sister.

It was then that their dad, Albert, became Ruler George VI   whenever his older brother, Edward VIII , gave up the throne right after less than a year as king in order to marry the twice-divorced American socialite  Wallis Simpson . These people became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and the scandal led to 10-year-old Princess At the becoming the future California king of England.

The  shake-up also vaulted Margaret through fourth to second in line, although she presumably never thought a lot of it because any children associated with Elizabeth’s would automatically precede the girl. But though she herself would not wear the crown, generations on generations of royal protocol nevertheless prevented her life from actually being entirely her own.

Which isn’t to say that the girl didn’t enjoy herself.

“In one sense, the girl had such a voice, but the lady also wasn’t able to really very own what she wanted in the girl life, ” Vanessa Kirby , who plays Maggie on the sumptuous Netflix drama  The Crown ,   . “I felt so sorry on her, and it’s made me more enthusiastic to live my life in the way that I wish to. ”

Margaret plus Elizabeth were very close  because children growing up, the tense environment of World War II providing the backdrop for formative years.

“These were two entirely normal plus healthy little girls, and we had the difficulties, ” Marion Crawford, that spent 17 years with the loved ones as governess, later . “Neither was over taking a whack at her foe, if roused, and Lilibet has been quick with her left connect. Margaret was more of a close-in fighter, known to bite on events. ”

Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret

Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Pictures

And despite some lumps along the way, they  would remain close  until Margaret’s death in 2002. Elizabeth’s  younger sibling was mostly of the true confidantes  the queen experienced in her life as the duties and pressure piled  up rigtht after her ascension to the throne within 1952.

Margaret was obviously a bridesmaid when Elizabeth married in 1947, and they maintained a direct phone collection between Buckingham Palace and Margaret’s residence at Kensington Palace intended for daily chats.

Though their life were far from normal  and Margaret  refrained from referring  to her sibling in public  as anything besides “the queen, ”  in personal the younger sister still called the girl big sis by her the child years nickname of “Lilibet”— and she has been still “Margot” to the queen.

But tradition was custom, and the queen would always be the rung above Princess Margaret,   compelled to serve as the family’s moral authority and bound with the rule of law and regal tradition. And a myriad of tests emerged early.

Not  a long time before Elizabeth married Philip in Nov 1947, Margaret fell  in love with the married RAF Captain Peter Townsend , who being an attendant of her father’s worked  in  the structure and had accompanied the family on a  trip to South Africa earlier that calendar year.

“We rode with each other every morning in that wonderful nation, in marvelous weather, ” the particular princess told a friend about the trip, according to 2009’s  Snowdon: The Biography . “That’s when I actually fell in love with him. ”

Princess Margaret, Peter Townsend


Townsend, who had been 15 years older than Margaret, furthermore had two sons.   Whenever George VI died in 1952, he moved from Buckingham Structure with Margaret and the Queen Mother in order to Clarence House; shortly after, he great wife divorced.

The  decorated officer,   whose soft temperament was said to have  complemented  Margaret’s more  fiery nature, suggested to the princess in 1953— however it was when she casually cleaned a speck of lint through his coat, as any girlfriend would certainly, in the middle of her sister’s coronation within June 1953 that the media had been shocked into attention, never to allow up on the taboo couple.

Those whose approval would certainly theoretically be necessary for them to get married to were opposed to the match from the beginning.

Queen Elizabeth II was said to feel deeply on her sister’s predicament, but having hardly warmed the throne she was not yet in a position to rewrite history and all sorts of a sudden make it perfectly acceptable for any member of the royal family in order to marry a divorcé.

Per the Royal Marriages React of 1772, the reigning sovereign’s permission was required, and the california king did investigate all her choices. Complicating the process, the Church associated with England ironically forbade divorce— though  King   Henry VIII   needed to leave the Catholic church and begin the Church of England themself in 1532  to  divorce their first wife so he could get married to Anne Boleyn , lucky her.   The Uk government was also that  prudish  about this.   Edward VIII abdicated within 1936 rather than risk a constitutional crisis.

About to start a six-month tour of the Earth, the queen asked her cousin to wait a year, and then they would review. In the meantime, she first had Townsend transferred back to her staff with Buckingham Palace, and then the prime ressortchef (umgangssprachlich) arranged a post for your pet in Belgium.

Maggie and Townsend wouldn’t see one another again until Oct. 12, 1955— when it became apparent that their own hoped-for marriage would not be taking place, despite  a wave of general public opinion in their favor.

“I would like it to be known which i have decided not to marry Group Chief Peter Townsend, ” Margaret stated in a statement that they drafted jointly and was issued by the Structure on Oct. 31. “I are actually aware that, subject to renouncing the rights of succession, it might are already possible for me to contract the civil marriage. But mindful from the Church’s teachings that Christian relationship is indissoluble, and conscious of our duty to the Commonwealth, I have solved to put these considerations before other people. I have reached this decision completely alone, and in doing so I have been heightened by the unfailing support and faithfulness of Group Captain Townsend. We are deeply grateful for the concern of those who have constantly prayed for the happiness. ”

It had been revealed about 13 years ago through documents unearthed from the National  Records that the queen and Prime Ressortchef (umgangssprachlich) Anthony Eden had joined forces in order to draw up a plan for Margaret plus Townsend’s proposed marriage, which would possess allowed her to keep her regal title and allowance, and carry on as a face of the royal family members, but give up her or any associated with her children’s place in the line associated with succession.

“Her Majesty would not wish to stand in the way of the girl sister’s happiness, ” Eden, who had been divorced himself, wrote in a notice to his fellow Commonwealth primary ministers.

Alas, the particular fight for their future had exhausted them both. “When it was accomplished, we looked at each other, ” Townsend recalled to a friend in a notice. “There was a wonderful tenderness within her eyes which reflected, Perhaps, the look in mine.   There were reached the end of the road, our own feelings for one another were unrevised, but they had incurred for us an encumbrance so great that we decided together in order to lay it down. ”

So despite being nevertheless in love, they went their particular separate ways. Their love characters have been preserved in the archive on Windsor Castle, to remain sealed till what would’ve been Margaret’s 100th birthday, in 2030.

Hence Princess Margaret’s unhappy story line in  The Overhead ‘s first season, along with Ben Miles as Townsend.

After their breakup, Townsend fulfilled and married  a Belgian cigarette heiress named Marie-Luce Jamagne, exactly who at 20 was 24 many years younger than him and had been said to look a lot like Margaret.

The real deal, meanwhile, continued upon as the toast of London culture. Though still tethered to the monarchy, she led a modern (for right now, even) celebrity lifestyle— sleeping past due, doting on her dogs, lunching along with mum, going to theater, dining and  living it up  until all of the hours. Sleep, rinse, repeat.

Stories of Margaret’s cig and whiskey-fueled nights out kept the particular monarchy and the tabloids on their feet. Her rowdy circle included several men— all of whom she had been romantically linked to, though only many of them were actual suitors. She had been briefly engaged to Billy Wallace , the grand son of architect  Sir Edwin Lutyens, but  supposedly because, at twenty six, she felt it was best to a minimum of settle for someone she liked. Maggie broke it off when this individual admitted to cheating on her throughout a holiday in the Bahamas.

“The thing with Townsend was obviously a girlish nonsense that got beyond control. It was never the big thing on her behalf part that people claim, ” Wallace later said, per .   “I got my chance and blew this with my big mouth, or even she would have become Mrs. Wallace and am would have been able to handle her. inch

While Wallace has been likely exaggerating, it turned out Margaret had been on the fence about Townsend when the two years of imposed delay had been about up, though it could just the emotional fatigue— and regal propriety— talking. In a letter in order to PM Eden dated Aug. fifteen, 1955, she wrote, “I feel not going to see him during this time however in October I shall be returning to Greater london, and he will then be taking their annual leave— I do certainly wish to see him while he is right now there… But it is only by seeing your pet in this way that I feel I can correctly decide whether I can marry your pet or not. ”

Margaret’s friend and biographer Christopher Warwick that the little princess had previously told him the lady had no idea of any program in the works to allow her to  marry.  

“What is certain as a result of this letter is the fact that she knew the Government was introducing the way for the marriage if the lady wanted it and it proves that will she was so much more involved in the procedure than she ever let upon, ” he said.

Princess Margaret, Anthony Armstrong-Jones

Getty Pictures

Margaret kept it quite hush-hush when she embarked on the romance with society photographer plus portraitist Antony Armstrong-Jones , who  circulated among the creative, progressive type of company she popular. (Enter Matthew Goode as the photographer when  The Crown is actually second season starts streaming Fri. )

They were with Balmoral Castle when she discovered that Townsend was engaged. Suspecting that  Antony had been planning to offer, she actually asked him to keep off just a bit— which he or she did, waiting until the next day. Within a feat that would be just about impossible nowadays, their engagement announcement on February. 26, 1960, came as an excellent surprise to the world’s media, because no one really knew they were a few in the first place.

Armstrong-Jones plus Princess Margaret were married in Westminster Abbey on May six, 1960, in the first royal wedding ceremony to be televised. About 300 mil people tuned in, though several royal family heads from other countries RSVP’d no in objection as to what they viewed as the princess’ improper match.

Grettle Hartnell , who also produced Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding dress, designed  Margaret’s  gown. She had 8 bridesmaids, including her then 9-year-old niece,   Princess Anne .

They will took a six-week cruise round the Caribbean for their honeymoon. The particular bride’s friend Colin Tennant  gifted the bride and groom with a  vacation estate  by himself private island of Mustique (which remains a favorite vacation spot for  and ).  

Princess Margaret and the newly christened  Lord Snowdon moved into Kensington Structure upon their return to England, exactly where they were known for hosting artists, stars and other glamorous types at trendy soirees in their apartment. Margaret was obviously a patron of a number of organizations plus charities, as is the royal method, and she took great pride within her work for the arts (she was, among other things, president of the Regal Ballet), hospitals, the military, kids and other causes close to her center.

She and Armstrong-Jones went on to have two children jointly, David, 2nd Earl of Snowdon ,   and Woman   Sarah , both of whom the princess or queen is said to have great affection pertaining to.

Perhaps still unconsciously (or consciously) lamenting the marriage that will didn’t happen, it was just a few yrs later, however , that one could imagine Maggie becoming a bit of a headache for her cousin.

According to different biographical accounts of Margaret, the girl husband, the royal family and a few of the gentlemen mentioned here, the little princess became increasingly restless.

In 1966, two years after Dorothy was born, the princess reportedly a new brief affair with her young one’s godfather, winemaker Anthony Barton . Intimate letters that will came to light later would apparently confirm that, next, she had a dalliance with Robin Douglas-Home , nephew of former Uk PM Alec Douglas-Home. Her rumored celebrity conquests over the years included Peter Sellars , David Niven , and Warren Beatty .

Tennant introduced then 43-year-old Margaret to Roddy Llewellen , a gardening anticipate 17 years her junior, within 1973, and— leading an increasingly individual life from her husband— they will enter into an eight-year-long relationship.

Under the guise of them being beloved friends, they would holiday together in Margaret’s getaway in Mustique. Distraught by Llewellen taking off for Chicken on a vacation without her with one point, she swallowed a number of sleeping pills, later saying, “I was so exhausted because of every thing, all I wanted to do was rest. ”

In 1976, photos of Llewellen and Little princess Margaret landed on the front web page of  News of the Planet , and she and Lord Snowdon were more or less forced to acknowledge the particular rupture of their marriage.

Also it was then that Margaret, exactly who may not have even thought this possible, insisted upon getting a separation and divorce. Her wish was granted upon July 11, 1978, making the girl the first royal to divorce since  Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh in 1901. Snowdon, who supposedly hadn’t  exactly been sitting around awaiting Margaret to come home nights, quickly remarried Lucy Lindsay-Hogg later that season.

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, Royal Scandals

Kypros/Getty Images

The image of Margaret, the first “paparazzi princess” before — and later Kate Middleton, and now — came along, did suffer in the open public eye. No matter how much people enjoy a good scandal, they’re still fast to judge. Twenty years prior, the failure of Margaret’s relationship with Townsend had been considered more of a dark mark against the rest of the royal family members,   accused of getting in the way of the particular princess’ chance  at happiness. The lady never blamed her family, nevertheless , and would insist that the choice not to marry him was eventually hers alone.

Yet though the royal family bent just a little, they did not break, and Maggie, not to mention her sister, the full, powered through what at the time was your biggest scandal of the modern regal era.

The introduction of Princess Diana, who wedded within 1981 when she was just 20, changed everything, of course. The particular press  and the public found a brand new person to obsess over, the girl shocking death in 1997 not really diminishing that fascination in the slightest. When anything, it only increased.  

Yet thanks a minimum of in part to the travails of Little princess Margaret, when Charles not only divorced but also wanted to remarry the divorced love of  his life, Camilla Parker-Bowles ,   Queen At the II gave her consent— plus Charles remains in line to succeed the girl, as does his son Knight in shining armor William after him. Perhaps, although you’d never know it to look at the girl ever-stoic countenance, the queen experienced by the 1990s that certain old guidelines just didn’t make sense any more.

And though the hoi polloi still raised their brows,   maybe more out of habit compared to out of any real concern, will gladly next year.

Lord Snowdon— who turned out to get fathered a daughter before he or she married Margaret, and then went on to get two more children after their particular divorce— passed away this past January from 86. His biographer Anne sobre Courcy ,   “Tony as soon as said to me, ‘I do such as change, ‘ and that was an effective motif in all his frolics. They will led him into one emotional motor vehicle accident after another. ”

Margaret and Townsend never completely lost  touch over the years, but they failed to see each other again until that they had a chance meeting  in 1992. These year they at Kensington Structure, where an observer said these people sat together on a sofa plus “chatted like the old friends these were. ” When he at the age of 80, the particular palace said that the princess has been “sad” to hear the news.

Princess Margaret at the age of 71 after struggling a stroke. At her memorial, for the first time perhaps ever, Queen At the II looked  anything less than stoic in public.

The particular Crown season two premieres Friday on Netflix.