Royal Biographies: Princess Margaret
by David Johnson
Once considered the most unhappy royal, Queen Elizabeth's younger sister, Princess Margaret Rose, was unable to escape controversy. She was born on August 21, 1930. Artistic and fond of nightlife, Princess Margaret fell in love with a divorced man, Group Captain Peter Townsend, in the 1950s. She abandoned plans to marry him when she was told that she would be unable to marry a divorced man and remain in line to the throne. Instead, in 1960, Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones, a professional photographer. He received the titles Earl of Snowdon and Viscount Linley. The couple had two children, David, Viscount Linley, and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones.
In 1953, Margaret directed a West End play, The Frog, which proved a disaster and an embarrassment to Buckingham Palace. Margaret continued to associate with actors and literary types, going to nightclubs and staying up late. She spent much time at her retreat on the Caribbean island of Mustique.
Princess Margaret's stormy marriage was the subject of much gossip until she and Lord Snowdon were divorced in 1978.
Although Princess Margaret was involved in about 80 organizations, especially those connected with music, ballet, young people, and caring for the ill, she was accused of being indifferent to her royal duties.
The Princess died on February 9, 2002, at age 71.
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