How Princess Margaret’s marriage ended in chaotic divorce

The Crown distorts truth on Margaret's marriage says expert

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On May 6, 1960, the Queen’s only sister Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey. The pair were later created the Earl and Countess of Snowdon by the Queen and they had two children, David and Sarah. The Snowdons resided at Kensington Palace for several years, but their marriage would end in divorce in 1978 after almost two decades together.

After the birth of their daughter Sarah in 1964, Margaret and Antony’s marriage began to break down and rumours of “flings” began to circulate.

Anne de Courcy, who wrote a biography of the Earl of Snowdon, said as per Town & Country: “The flings used to upset her a lot. She had some too, but never as long as his. They weren’t revenge affairs, she just wanted to feel desired.”

The author added that Margaret and Antony clashed over the latter’s dedication to his work as a photographer.

She said: “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.”

Antony had affairs while away on photographic assignments and, at one point, he had an affair with Lady Jacqueline Rufus-Isaacs, the Evening Standard reported.

And some of the notable people Margaret was rumoured to have had romances with included Robin Douglas-Home, nephew of the former Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home, and allegedly the actor’s Peter Sellers and David Niven.

Margaret also had a well-documented romance with landscape gardener Roddy Llewellyn, who was 17 years her junior.

Scandal struck when pictures of their holiday in Mustique, while Margaret was still married to Antony, were splashed on the front pages of the tabloids in 1976.

After the incident, Mr Llewellyn issued a statement: “I much regret any embarrassment caused to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family, for whom I wish to express the greatest respect, admiration and loyalty.

“Could we please be permitted by the media, who have besieged us, to carry on with our work and private lives without further interference.”

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Antony and Margaret subsequently separated in 1976 and divorced in 1978. A statement read: “Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and the Earl of Snowdon, after two years of separation, have agreed that their marriage should be formally ended. Accordingly, Her Royal Highness will start the necessary legal proceedings.”

Antony married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg shortly after his divorce from Margaret, and they had a daughter named Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones.

Antony’s second marriage would also end with separation in 2000, while Princess Margaret never remarried and died in 2002.

Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn were thought to have been in a relationship for several years before they eventually split, and it is thought the Queen permitted him to visit Margaret’s grave earlier this year.

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