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Margaret Rose (1930—)

Margaret Rose (1930—)

English royal princess . Name variations: Princess Margaret Rose; Margaret Windsor; Margaret Armstrong-Jones; countess of Snowdon. Born on August 21, 1930, in Glamis Castle, Tayside, her mother's ancestral home in Scotland; second daughter of Albert Frederick Arthur George, 13th duke of York, later known as George VI, king of England (r. 1936–1952), and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (b. 1900); sister of Elizabeth II, queen of England (r. 1952—); educated privately by governesses and at a small school at Windsor Castle; married Anthony Armstrong-Jones, earl of Snowdon (a photographer), on May 6, 1960 (divorced 1978); children: David Armstrong-Jones (b. November 3, 1961), Viscount Linley; Sarah Armstrong-Jones (b. May 1, 1964).

Four years younger than her sister Queen Elizabeth II , Princess Margaret Rose grew from a doll-like child into a beautiful, charming woman. "Margaret was also spoiled," wrote Unity Hall , "because her parents were aware that all her life she must play second fiddle to her older, more serious sister." Like Elizabeth, Margaret was educated privately at home and at the Royal School at Windsor Castle. She was described by her longtime governess, Marion Crawford , as possessing an intellect and curiosity that allowed her to keep pace with her sister's more advanced studies. From age three, Margaret also displayed a talent for acting and a musical ear that gave her almost perfect pitch.

At 21, she fell deeply in love with her father's equerry, Group Captain Peter Townsend, a divorced man with whom marriage was out of the question for a member of the royal family. The romantic misadventure played out in the international press, and by the time Margaret gave up Townsend she had evoked heart-felt sympathy from royal watchers throughout the world. In 1960, after years of continued intensive media coverage of her romances, she married the photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones, who was later given the title earl of Snowdon. They had two children, David, Viscount Linley, and Sarah Armstrong-Jones , before the marriage ended in a bitter divorce in 1978, the first in the royal family since Henry VIII legally parted from Anne of Cleves .

For some time after the divorce, Margaret remained the subject of speculation about her romances. In 1987, concern shifted to her health when the Palace confirmed that she had undergone surgery. However, in 1995, looking quite robust, she joined the queen mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon ,

and her sister Elizabeth on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.


Edwards, Anne. Royal Sisters. NY: William Morrow, 1990.

Hall, Unity. The Private Lives of Britain's Royal Women. Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, 1990.

Sakol, Jeannie, and Caroline Latham. The Royals. NY: Congdon and Weed, 1987.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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