The younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret Rose, became known for having an independent streak and for various controversial relationships throughout her life. Blue Badge Guide, Debbie Keenan takes a look at our Queen’s younger sister.
Born August 21 st 1930 at Glamis Castle in Scotland, the second daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York. Following the abdication of her uncle King Edward 8th in 1936, her parents were crowned King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.
She was educated at Buckingham Palace but spent a lot of time at Windsor Castle during World War II. Following the war, Princess Margaret was a glamorous young woman who enjoyed socializing. In 1953 she grew close to Captain Peter Townsend, a war hero and royal equerry, and marriage was certainly on the cards. Unfortunately for Margaret, Townsend was an older man and a divorcee and the relationship was frowned upon by both Church and Parliament. An agreement was reached whereby the Princess could marry Townsend in exchange for forfeiting her rights to the succession. This she did not agree to and she split from Townsend in October 1955.
Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in May 1960 and he was the first commoner to marry into the Royal Family for 400 years (Elizabeth Woodville being the first marrying Edward IV in 1464). It was the first royal wedding to be televised. The marriage produced two children, David, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah (now Chatto).
By the late 1960s, the marriage was on the rocks, with Margaret developing a relationship with a younger man, Roddy Llewellyn. The scandal reached the press and the couple divorced in 1978, the first by a British royal couple in 400 years.
Margaret withdrew from public life and battled 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 9th 2002 in London. She is buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle next to her parents.
More than a decade later, Princess Margaret figured prominently in “The Crown”. Additionally, the 2018 documentary “Elizabeth: Our Queen” included a segment in which Her Majesty revealed her approval of Margaret’s relationship with Roddy Llewellen, because ‘he made her really happy’.
Deborah Keenan is an experienced South of England guide who specialises in Royal tours and tours of Windsor Castle and St Georges Chapel.