HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret (Margaret Rose Armstrong-Jones, née Windsor; (August 21, 1930—February 9, 2002) was a member of the British Royal Family, the second eldest daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and sister of the current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. She also held the title of Countess of Snowdon.
Princess Margaret was always a controversial member of the British Royal Family. Her private life was scandalised by an affair with a divorced older man, marriage and divorce.
Princess Margaret was born on August 21, 1930, at Glamis Castle, Scotland, the ansectral home of the Earl of Strathmore, Queen Elizabeth's family. Margaret was the first British princess born in Scotland since the House of Stuart. Her father was HRH The Prince Albert, Duke of York, the second eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary. Her mother was HRH The Duchess of York (nee Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. As a grandchild of the sovereign, she was styled HRH Princess Margaret of York' at birth.
Margaret was educated alongside her elder sister, Princess Elizabeth, by their governess, Marion Crawford. In 1936, her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated the throne, and her father became King George VI. Margaret was then styled HRH The Princess Margaret. She attended her parent's coronation in 1937.
During World War II, Margaret stayed at Windsor Castle, just outside London. In 1952, her father died, and her sister became Queen Elizabeth II.
Two years after her sister's coronation, Margaret became embroiled in a public scandal over her affair for Captain Peter Townsend, a Royal Air Force pilot and Battle of Britain hero. Townsend was several years Margaret's senior, and divorced. This made him an eminently unsuitable husband for a Royal Princess. Margaret soon came under heavy pressure not to marry Townsend, with suggestions she would lose her title, civil list allowance and place in the line of succession. Taking advice from the Archbishop of Canterbury and senior politicians, and decided not to marry him, She then made a public announcement, in which she stated her decision not to marry Townsend, citing her loyalty to the Crown and being mindful of her position and responsibilities
However, papers released in 2004 indicate that had she married Townsend, she would have been allowed to keep her title as well as her Civil List allowance.  (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3363809.stm)
On May 6, 1960, Margaret married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, son of Ronald Armstrong-Jones and his first wife, Anne Messel, later Countess of Rosse at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony could be considered the first "modern" royal wedding thanks to the wider availability of television in the UK. In honour of his Welsh descent, her husband was created Earl of Snowdon. Margaret was then formally styled HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.
Together they had two children: David Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (later Chatto),
Princess Margaret began her royal duties at a very early age. She attended the silver jubilee of her grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary aged 5 in 1935. She later attended her parent’s coronation in 1937. Her first major royal tour was when she joined her parents and sister for a tour of South Africa in 1947. Her first solo tour was to the British colonies in the Caribbean in 1955.
The Princess’ main interests were welfare charities, music and ballet. She was President of the National Society and of the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Formerly Commandant-in-Chief of the Ambulance and Nursing Cadets of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, she later became Grand President of the St John Ambulance Brigade and Colonel-in-Chief of Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps.
Princess Margaret’s private life was one of intensive speculation. She was known to be active in high society circles. She purchased an apartment in the Caribbean island of Mustique in the 1960s, which was to be her favourite holiday destination. Revelations of wild parties, and drug taking were revealed in a documentary broadcast after the Princess’ death.
In the 1970s, revelations of an affair with Roddy Llewellyn led to her divorce from the Earl of Snowdon, although the marriage was regarded as over long before the affair was made public. This was the first divorce of a senior royal since Princess Victoria of Edinburgh in the 1900s.
[[image:Queen Mothers 100th|thumb|HRH The Princess Margaret with her sister and mother on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for her mothers 100th Birthday ( 4 August 2000)
The Princess’ later life was marred by illness and disability. She experienced a mild stroke on in 1998 whilst at her holiday home in Mustique. Later in the same year the Princess severely scalded her feet in a bathroom accident. This affected her mobility to the extent that the Princess later required support when walking and was sometimes restricted to a wheelchair. In 2000 and 2001 further strokes were diagnosed. Margaret’s last public appearance was at the 100th birthday celebrations of her aunt, HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester in December 2001.
Margaret died in hospital on February 9, 2002 after suffering several strokes. Her funeral was on the 50th anniversary of her father’s funeral and occurred during the jubilee year of the Queen. Her funeral was a private family event, though a full state memorial service was held for her several weeks later. Her funeral was also the last time the Queen Mother was seen in public before her death.
Titles and Honours
- Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret of York (from birth to 1936)
- Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret (1936 to 1960)
- Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Mrs Antony Armstrong-Jones (1960)
- Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1961 until her death)
Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order Royal Victorian Chain Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem
Honourary Military Appointments
Colonel in Chief
Royal Air Force
- Honorary Air Commodore
- Royal Air Force Coningsby