Princess Margaret, Princess Margaret Biography, Princess Margaret Biography and Profile, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth

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Princess Margaret Early Life

Princess Margaret Rose was born on August 21, 1930, at Glamis Castle, Scotland, the second daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York. As a child, Margaret enjoyed swimming and displayed a talent for the piano. She was educated at Buckingham Palace but moved to Windsor Castle upon the outbreak of World War II.

Princess Margaret was the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and sister to The Queen. She was born on 21 August 1930. During her rich and varied life, The Princess played an active role in the Royal Family’s public work, supporting The Queen. Her particular interests were in the broad field of welfare work, and in the arts. She was patron or president of over 80 organisations, ranging from children’s charities to ballet companies.

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As a child, Margaret enjoyed swimming and displayed a talent for the piano. She was educated at Buckingham Palace but moved to Windsor Castle upon the outbreak of World War II.

Princess Margaret was also a devoted mother. Two children from her marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones survive her: Lord Linley, born on 3 November 1961, and Lady Sarah Chatto, born on 1 May 1964.

Princess Margaret Biography and Profile

Princess Margaret Rose was born on August 21, 1930, at Glamis Castle, Scotland, the second daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York. As a child, Margaret enjoyed swimming and displayed a talent for the piano. She was educated at Buckingham Palace but moved to Windsor Castle upon the outbreak of World War II.

Princess Margaret eventually struck up a relationship with photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was appointed 1st Earl of Snowdon following their marriage in May 1960. Their son, David Albert Charles, was born in November 1961, and daughter, Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth, followed in May 1964. By the late 1960s, Margaret and Lord Snowdon’s high-profile union was rumored to be on the rocks. Although they remained married, Margaret developed a relationship with a younger landscape gardener named Roddy Llewellyn, which became known to the public when the two were photographed together on vacation in early 1976. The press, which was already grumbling about the princess’s diminishing public appearances, pounced on the affair. Margaret and Lord Snowdon separated shortly after the scandal reached headlines, and in May 1978 they completed their divorce, the first by a British royal couple in 400 years.

Princess Margaret Education and Interest

Princess Margaret was educated at home with her sister Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen). She learned to ride, enjoyed swimming and became a keen gardener. She had a strong interest in music from an early age, taking piano lessons by the age of four and later becoming an accomplished pianist.

Princess Margaret Joined the Brownies

In 1937 she joined the Brownies, and when she was old enough enlisted in the Girl Guides. She always maintained close links with Guiding, and, until her death, served as President and Chairman of the Council of the Girl Guides Association. In childhood during the Second World War she also became a Sea Ranger and, in 1949, was appointed their Commodore.

When she was five years old The Princess attended the Jubilee of her grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary. Less than two years later came her second great State occasion, her parents’ Coronation in Westminster Abbey. Princess Margaret began to carry out public engagements at a very young age; one early appointment was as Patron of the Scottish Children’s League (she became its President in 1966). In 1947 she accompanied the King and Queen and Princess Elizabeth on their South African tour.

Princess Margaret Marriage and family

In February 1960 The Queen announced her consent to the engagement of The Princess Margaret to Mr Antony Armstrong-Jones, and they were married in Westminster Abbey on 6 May. The honeymoon was spent in the West Indies. After marriage they made their home in an apartment in Kensington Palace. In October 1961 Mr Armstrong-Jones was created Earl of Snowdon and Viscount Linley.

They had two children. Their son, Lord Linley, was born on 3 November 1961 and christened David Albert Charles; their daughter, Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth, was born on 1 May 1964. The marriage of The Princess to Lord Snowdon was dissolved in May 1978.

Princess Margaret Later years

In her later years The Princess Margaret suffered poor health, experiencing a mild stroke on 23 February 1998 whilst at her holiday home in Mustique. Twelve months later 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.

The Princess’s poor health restricted the number of public engagements which Her Royal Highness was able to take on in her final years. The Princess nevertheless continued where possible to support the work of many of her organisations. Among her final official engagements were a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show on 21 May 2001 and the 80th birthday service for HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on 10 June 2001.

The Princess’s last public appearance was at the 100th birthday celebrations of HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester in December 2001.

She died on 9 February 2002. Unusually for a member of the Royal Family, she was cremated, and her ashes were deposited in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Princess Margaret Charities and Patronages

Princess Margaret took a full share in the Royal Family’s many public activities and showed particular interest in the broad field of welfare work. Many of the 80-plus organisations of which she was Patron or President are concerned with activities for young people, children’s well-being and caring for sick people.

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.

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Princess Margaret made many official overseas visits, representing The Queen on numerous important occasions. She also opened British fairs and trade promotions, besides making other less formal visits. The Princess’s first Commonwealth visit alone was to the Caribbean in 1955.

In the arts, two of Princess Margaret’s great enthusiasms were music and ballet. In 1957, the same year that she was made an Honorary Doctor of Music of London University, she became the first President of the Royal Ballet, The Queen serving as Patron; she was also President of the Sadler’s Wells Foundation.

Princess MargaretHonours and Appointments

Princess Margaret was Colonel-in-Chief of a number of military units, including the 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars and The Royal Highland Fusiliers, taking a personal interest in their history and activities and making a point of being posted with their latest news. She had special relationships with HMS Illustrious and HMS Norfolk. She was Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Coningsby. Apart from British regiments, Princess Margaret was also Colonel-in-Chief of foreign units including the Highland Fusiliers of Canada and The Bermuda Regiment. A full list follows:

Royal Navy and Royal Marines

  • Special Relationships
  • HMS Illustrious
  • HMS Norfolk

Army (and Commonwealth Armies)

  • Colonel-in-Chief
  • 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars
  • The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret’s Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment)
  • Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps
  • The Highland Fusiliers of Canada
  • The Princess Louise Fusiliers (of Canada)
  • The Royal Newfoundland Regiment
  • The Bermuda Regiment

Deputy Colonel-in-Chief

  • The Royal Anglian Regiment

Royal Air Force

  • Honorary Air Commodore
  • Royal Air Force Coningsby

Princess Margaret was Honorary Fellow of several learned societies, received Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Cambridge and Keele, and was a Master of the Bench of Lincoln’s Inn.

In December 1957 she was made an Honorary Doctor of Music of London University (the degree being conferred on her by her mother who was then Chancellor of the University). She was especially interested in the ballet and was Patron of the Sadler’s Wells Foundation. When, in 1957, the two companies and the school received their charter as the Royal Ballet, she became the first President (The Queen being Patron).

Princess Margaret was awarded the Royal Victorian Chain by The Queen in 1990 and was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1953. She was Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and held foreign orders and decorations from The Netherlands, Zanzibar, Belgium, Uganda and Japan. A full list follows:

British Decorations

  • Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (1953)
  • Royal Victorian Chain (1990)
  • Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St John of Jerusalem (1956)

Foreign Orders and Decorations

  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, 1948
  • Order of the Brilliant Star of Zanzibar, First Class, 1956
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Belgium, 1960
  • Order of the Crown, Lion and Spear of Toro Kingdom (Uganda), 1965
  • Order of the Precious Crown, First Class (Japan), 1971

Princess Margaret Romance and Controversies

Following the war, Margaret appeared in the public eye more frequently. Oft contrasted with her older sister, Elizabeth, the glamorous young beauty developed a reputation as an independent spirit who enjoyed socializing late into the night.

Princess Margaret soon grew close to Group Captain Peter Townsend, a war hero and royal equerry, and their secret relationship was revealed at the coronation of her sister, Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. However, Townsend was an older man and a recent divorcé, and the relationship was said to be frowned upon by the Church and Parliament.

The Queen and Prime Minister Anthony Eden eventually reached an agreement in which Margaret could marry Townsend in exchange for forfeiting her rights to succession. Ultimately, Margaret chose not to follow through with the arrangement, and she announced her split from Townsend in October 1955.

Princess Margaret’s Death

Like her father and following years of heavy smoking, Princess Margaret underwent an operation to remove part of her left lung in early 1985. In 1993, she contracted pneumonia. No longer the subject of media scrutiny, Margaret withdrew into private life as the tabloids focused on Princess Diana and a younger generation of royals. She dealt with increasing health problems in later years, enduring a series of strokes and an accident with scalding bathwater. After her third stroke, the princess died on February 9, 2002, in London.

More than a decade later, Princess Margaret figured prominently in The Crown, a popular drama about the British monarchy during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Additionally, the 2018 documentary series Elizabeth: Our Queen included a segment in which big sister revealed her approval of Margaret’s relationship with Roddy Llewellyn, because “he made her really happy.”

Princess Margaret Family

Princess Margaret was also a devoted mother. Two children from her marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones survive her: Lord Linley, born on 3 November 1961, and Lady Sarah Chatto, born on 1 May 1964.

Princess Margaret Biography and Profile

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