Princess Margaret – The Life and Death Of The Countess of Snowdon

Princess Margaret was one of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s two daughters, the other being Queen Elizabeth II. She was born on 21 August 1930 and died on 9 February 2002 at the age of 93. 

Long before recent members of the British royal family like Princess Diana, her son Prince Harry or his wife Meghan Markle were making headlines for whatever it is they do in their private lives, a certain Princess Margaret was the punching bag for the British tabloids.

The beautiful younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II was known for her adventurous and wild lifestyle which many would argue was unacceptable from someone of such high standing and in the line of succession to the British throne.

Among her numerous controversies that were the subject of intense speculation by the public was her romantic association with several men, notably that with Group Captain Peter Townsend, her father’s equerry who would later serve her sister in the same position after she became Queen.

Many might be familiar with Princess Margaret’s story if they have seen the blockbuster Netflix series, The Crown. Specifics of her life, like the exact circumstances surrounding her death, were however not discussed on the show.

Princess Margaret Bio and Profile Summary

Age/Date of Birth:
Born: 21 August 1930
Died: 9 February 2002
5 feet 1 inch (1.55 m)
Husband or Boyfriend:Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon (m. 1960–1978)
Parents:Father: George VI
Mother: ‎Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Net Worth:£20 million ($28 million)

Who was Princess Margaret?

Princess Margaret was born Margaret Rose Windsor on the 21st of August, 1930 at Glamis Castle in Scotland. She is the second daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, who would later become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth after King Edward VIII abdicated the throne. Her only sibling is Queen Elizabeth II.

Most of Margaret’s childhood was spent with her sister and parents. Unlike most other children, the young girl did not get to go to school but was instead educated at home by a governess as it was said that her mother only intended to raise her daughters to become “nicely behaved young ladies”.

When Princess Margaret turned 5, her grandfather, King George V, passed away and his son King Edward VIII acceded the throne. Edward was King for less than a year before he chose to abdicate in order to marry a two-time American divorcee that the Church of England would not accept as queen.

As a result of this, Margaret’s father took his place and in the blink of an eye, the young girl became second in line to the throne. This development turned her life around, however, she was able to manage it well in the early days of her life.

Margot, as she was fondly called, was a Girl Guide and a Sea Ranger. As she grew older, she enjoyed socializing with other members of high society. Her beauty, glamour, and fashion sense was evident for everybody to see as she was often featured in the press at balls and parties.

The princess was also able to take on several official engagements, some of which had her tour other countries like Italy and France. She further joined charitable organizations like Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps among many others as either president or patron.

Scandals Surrounding The Princess

The first scandal that Princess Margaret was involved in was her romantic relationship with Group Captain Peter Townsend who worked for her family and was 16 years older than her. The pair started an affair a long time ago while Townsend was married.

By 1953, a year after her father had passed away and her sister had become Queen, he divorced his wife and proposed marriage to the princess. Margaret accepted and informed the Queen of her desire to marry the divorcee as her consent was required due to the Royal Marriages Act 1772.

As was the case with King Edward VIII, the Church of England again refused to allow a divorcee to marry into the royal family. The British Cabinet also refused to approve the marriage, leaving Margaret with the only option of renouncing her rights to the throne if she wanted to carry on.

Princess Margaret eventually released an official statement ending her relationship with Townsend. A few years later, she made headlines again for marrying a commoner, photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones in 1960. Her marriage to Jones was not without controversy as the princess was a heavy drinker and smoker who loved attending parties.

She also enjoyed flirting with men publicly, something that the press was very keen to report on. There were also several reports that she had been involved in a number of extramarital affairs, some of which were proven while others were not, causing more problems in her home.

In 1976, a picture of the princess and a lover 17 years her junior was published on the front page of a tabloid newspaper. This prompted the couple to admit publicly that they had problems in their marriage.

Two years later, their divorce was finalized. Margaret’s reputation suffered heavily as a result of this and she never quite recovered although she still carried on performing royal duties for many more years.

Members of Princess Margaret’s Family

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret, husband Antony and children – image source

Princess Margaret’s marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was made the Earl of Snowdon, was the first British royal wedding to be broadcast on national television. Together, the couple had two children; David who was born on the 3rd of November 1961, and Lady Sarah, who they had three years later on the 1st of May 1964.

Unlike her, Margaret’s children were not raised in the spotlight and have since lived a life far away from it. Her son David, the 2nd Earl of Snowdon, is in the furniture business. He is also the chairman of the famous British sales auction venture, Christie’s UK. He got married in 1993 to a lady named Serena Stanhope and they have a son named Charles and a daughter named Lady Margarita.

Lady Sarah, on the other hand, is an artist who has won awards for her paintings. She got married to actor Daniel Chatto in 1994 and together they have two children; Samuel and Arthur. Sarah has a close relationship with her aunt Queen Elizabeth II who reportedly enjoys being in her niece’s company.

The Truth Behind Princess Magaret’s Death

Princess Margaret
image source

Princess Margaret’s long heavy use of alcohol and cigarettes proved to be detrimental to her health in her older years. It is reported that she began smoking as far back as from when she was 15 years of age, if not earlier.

Her first notable illness was in 1978 when she was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and alcoholic hepatitis. By 1985, she had to undergo a procedure that had part of her left lung removed. This, however, did not deter her from still smoking and drinking. She did so for another six years before giving up the former but continuing with the latter.

In 1993, Margaret battled pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. Her next ordeal was in 1998 when she suffered a mild stroke at her holiday home in Mustique. She suffered a series of strokes in the following years that left her with partial vision and paralysis on the left side.

Her last public appearance was in 2001 at her mother’s and then aunt’s birthday celebrations in August and December of that year. In February 2002, it was announced that Princess Margaret had died in the King Edward VII’s Hospital, London, after suffering yet another stroke that resulted in cardiac problems. She was aged 71.

As she had requested, a private funeral was held while her remains were cremated and placed in her parent’s tomb.

Profile Summary
First Name:Princess Margaret
Last Name:Windsor
Also Known As:
Countess of Snowdon, CI, GCVO, CD
Famous For:Queen Elizabeth II's Younger Sister
Colleges/Universities Attended:
Educational Qualifications:
Birthday & Zodiac
Age/Date of Birth:
Born: 21 August 1930
Died: 9 February 2002
Zodiac Sign:Leo
Birth Place:
Glamis Castle, United Kingdom
Country of Residence:
Physical Attributes
5 feet 1 inch (1.55 m)
Eye Colour:
Hair Color:
Other Body Measurements:
Marital Status:
Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon (m. 1960–1978)
Family and Relatives
George VI
Mother: ‎Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Lady Sarah Chatto, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon
Siblings:Queen Elizabeth II - Sister
Other Relatives:
Grandchildren - Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Arthur Robert Nathaniel Chatto, Samuel Chatto, Charles Armstrong-Jones
Net Worth
Estimated Net Worth:
£20 million ($28 million)
Source of Wealth:
Royal Inheritance

Did Princess Margaret ever marry and who was her husband?

Princess Margaret got married to Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, on the 6th of May 1960 at Westminster Abbey.  Born on 7 March 1930, Anthony was a notable British photographer and filmmaker who was known for his portraits of world’s famous personalities, most of which were published on major venues such as Vanity Fair and Vogue.

When did Princess Margaret die?

Princess Margaret died on 9 February 2002 in King Edward VII’s Hospital, London, at 06:30 (GMT). Her funeral took place on February 15 2002 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and just as she has wished, it was a private service with only family and friends in attendance. Her body was subsequently cremated at Slough Crematorium and her ashes kept in the Royal Vault in St George’s Chapel. However, two months after, it was transferred to her parent’s tomb in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.

How did Princess Margaret die?

Princess Margaret’s health became progressively worse in the last 20 years of her life. Being a heavy smoker and drinker for many years as an adult, she eventually had a lung operation in 1985. Ten years later, she suffered pneumonia and had a stroke three times between 1998 and 2001. Unable to withstand a fourth stroke that hit her in 2002, she died on 9 February.

What did Princess Margaret die from?

Princess Margaret died from a stroke that was accompanied by heart problems. Before then, she had had a series of health issues and not less than three strokes.

How old was Princess Margaret when she died?

At the time of her death on 9 February 2002, Princess Margaret was 93 years old.

How long was Princess Margaret married?

Princess Margaret was married to Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones for 18 years. They got engaged in February 1960, got married at Westminster Abbey on 6 May 1960, separated in 1976, and finally divorced in 1978.

How many times did Princess Margaret marry?

Princess Margaret was married only once to Antony Armstrong-Jones. They were married for 18 years, from 1960 to 1978.

How tall was Princess Margaret?

The late Princess was 1.55 m (5 feet 08 inches) tall. Meanwhile, her sister, Queen Elizabeth II was reportedly 5 feet 4 inches tall at the time of her coronation but with aging, she has lost some inches as she is believed to now stand at 5 feet 1 inch.

Ernestina Ginikanwa
Ernestina Ginikanwa
Ernestina is a writer who loves telling stories and being up to date with recent news headlines. The limited free time she can carve out is for catching up on her favorite TV shows and spending more time with her family.


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