Born on 21st of August 1930
Died on 9th of February 2002
Which Princess Margaret was the true one? Patron of the NSPCC and various artistic charities, loyal support to the Queen, a woman of intellect, glamour and charm; or a whisky-gulping one-time party-girl barely capable of eating a mouthful of food without drawing on a cigarette? Both of course reflect aspects of what in the end was perhaps a rather wasted life where any talents she had were largely unused.
As ‘heir apparent to the heir presumptive’ as she put it Margaret Rose was always going to be in her elder sister’s shadow, though by being born at Glamis Castle in Scotland she managed to stand apart from centuries of senior royal births, hers being the first in Scotland since Charles I.
Her future well-being cannot have been helped by her lack of education – for whatever reason both princesses were not allowed to attend a school, being taught by a governess, a fact resented by Margaret in later life.
A deep romance with fighter-pilot war hero Peter Townsend was ended by the princess after church and government pressure – he was divorced – and instead in 1960 she married photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones, later Lord Snowdon, with whom she had two children. They separated in 1976, and divorced in 1978, ending a marriage during which she is said to have had affairs with glamorous men like Peter Sellers, and some not so glamorous like gangster John Bindon whom she met on Mustique, her Caribbean island haunt.
Prince Charles remembered her musical gifts when speaking after her death; other friends testified to her charm. She was a complex and memorable woman who epitomised a sexy age in stark contrast to her final years of failing health. She died in 2002 and is buried in St Georges Chapel Windsor.
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