Princess Margaret’s ex-husband had clandestine nickname for baby

Antony Armstrong-Jones in steamy The Crown season 2 scene

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Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones, a photographer and filmmaker, in 1960, making the London-born ‘commoner’ the Earl of Snowdon. The pair went on to welcome two children together: Viscount David Linley and Lady Sarah. But, after 18 years, their marriage ended in divorce. Littered with infidelity, Margaret and Antony both engaged in extramarital affairs throughout their relationship, with Lord Snowdon even fathering a secret child during his honeymoon with the Princess. Just months after their divorce, Antony married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, a woman with whom he started a romantic relationship during his marriage to Margaret. In another twist, it was during this second marriage that Antony fathered another secret child, who was given a nickname to conceal its parentage.

Antony embarked on a relationship with Melanie Cable-Alexander during his second marriage. The pair met in 1997 when Melanie, then 34, was the features editor at Country Life Magazine. Their relationship lasted four years and, while they kept their romance private, it soon hit the headlines when news emerged that Lord Snowdon, then 67, had fathered her child.

In 1998, Melanie gave birth to her son Jasper. Initially, the truth about the baby’s parentage was unknown and he was given an indistinguishable nickname to avoid speculation.

“At first, Tony and I kept our meetings between us,” wrote Melanie for the Daily Mail in January. “No one at work knew the truth of Jasper’s parentage, and he was simply referred to as the ‘office baby’.”

She continued: “But the secret could not be kept for long. Snowdon was a popular, compelling figure, more famous than most of the celebrities whose pictures he took, and public interest in him was limitless.”

When the identity of Jasper’s father was revealed, Melanie had “72 journalists camped outside” her door. She recalled the “intense fear” she experienced when paparazzi followed her and baby Jasper.

Recounting the “stressful” time in her life, she said: “Some commentators concluded I was ‘ugly’, had become pregnant ‘deliberately’ to ensnare Snowdon, was a money-grabbing ‘harlot’ and more.”

Her relationship with Antony “ended a few years later, through my choice,” she explained, adding: “…but we remained close until his death in 2017.”

Melanie, now 59, has chosen to keep details of her relationship with Lord Snowdon private over the years, despite being regularly pursued and “offered eye-watering sums of money” to tell her story.

Her recent and rare comments came on the back of Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir Spare, which Melaine said she was astonished by.

“I never did take their money. I quickly realised that the more I said, the more I would fan the flames, and the longer the story would linger, until Jasper himself would be able to read about it,” she wrote.

“That was the last thing I wanted. The best way to protect my son was to simply shut up until the public interest in us both died away. And this is what so astonishes and concerns me about Spare, the wildly revelatory book by Prince Harry.”

Melanie went on to explain that she sat down for “one gentle, controlled interview to Hello! magazine when Jasper was seven months old, with the full approval of his father”.

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“It would help me buy a small property at a stage when Jasper and I had nowhere to live,” she wrote. “And then I would shut up about it all until my son was grown.

“Still, I hated every second of that interview. The journalist arrived early, before Jasper’s babysitter had a chance to whisk him away. That wrong-footed me and made me hugely anxious.”

Melanie continued: “With each word I spoke, I fretted about how it might affect those involved in my story, including Jasper and Tony who, after agreeing to it, offered little advice on what to say.

“I featured on the front cover, inevitably as Lord Snowdon’s mistress, and spent the week the magazine came out hiding from all the news agencies wanting to follow up.”

Since then, Melanie and her son have led relatively private lives. She remarried in 2015 to Martin Redwood in a “moving ceremony”.

Jasper, now 24, “has a thriving relationship with his families on both sides,” a blessing Melanie identifies as a result of being the “bigger person”.

Jasper holds his mother’s surname and has “carved out his own career path” as a filmmaker.

Melanie wrote: “My biggest achievement has been to be known as Jasper Cable-Alexander’s mother.”

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