Princess Margaret Rose Windsor

(Countess of Snowdon)

1930 - 2002

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret

Unconventional royal and socialite. Sister of Queen Elizabeth II and daughter of King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, she was born in Glamis Castle (Angus). Her birth was the last required to be witnessed by a government minister, an ancient practice, presumably to prevent the illegitimate substitution of a potential heir to the throne.

Scandal followed from her engagement to Group Captain Peter Townsend (1955), and pressure was applied for her not to marry a divorced commoner. Putting her public duty ahead of her private life, she acceded to this request and later married Anthony Armstrong-Jones (Lord Snowdon), a noted society photographer, in 1960. However this marriage ended in divorce in 1978, although it gave rise to two children, Sarah and David, Viscount Linley. Both Margaret and Snowdon had been unfaithful, but she had been sensationally photographed with another man at her Caribbean hide-away on the island of Mustique.

Respected for her charitable works, her later years were dogged by ill-health, undoubtedly accelerated by heavy smoking and high-living. She died in London, having suffered several strokes. She was cremated in Slough and, after the death of her mother, Margaret's ashes were placed in the vault of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, alongside her parents.

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