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#OTD 1960: Princess Margaret marries Antony Armstrong-Jones

The marriage and relationship of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones has been well documented and dramatized over the last sixty years, most recently in Netflix’s ‘The Crown’. From their first meeting in 1958 to their shocking divorce in 1978, it is often said that Princess Margaret’s divorce paved the way for future royal divorces including Princess Anne’s from Captain Mark Phillips and the highly publicised separation of The Prince and Princess of Wales.
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However, on 6th May 1960, Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones could not be happier and it was the date set for their wedding at Westminster Abbey. It is alleged that, despite him not being from the aristocracy, The Royal Family really approved of Margaret’s match with Antony with Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother liking him from the very beginning. The couple’s engagement was announced in February 1960.

Westminster Abbey was the venue chosen for Margaret and Antony’s wedding and the ceremony was the first to be broadcast on television, attracting a worldwide audience of 300 million with the BBC estimated that 20 million people watched in the United Kingdom.

The wedding dress worn by Princess Margaret was designed by Norman Hartnell and she wore it with the Poltimore tiara – a diamond tiara made for Florence, Lady Paltimore at Garrads of London in the 1870s and was purchased by Princess Margaret shortly before her wedding.

Princess Margaret had eight bridesmaids:

  1. Princess Anne – niece of the bride.
  2. Marilyn Wills – goddaughter of the bride.
  3. Annabel Rhodes – daughter of the bride’s cousin, Margaret Elphinstone.
  4. Lady Virginia Fitzroy – daughter of the Earl of Euston.
  5. Sarah Lowther – daughter of Sir John Lowther.
  6. Catherine Vesey – daughter of Viscount de Vesci.
  7. Lady Rose Nevill – daughter of the Marquess of Abergavenny.
  8. Lady Angela Nevill – daughter of Lord Rupert Nevill.

Because Margaret’s father, King George VI, died in 1952 she was accompanied down the aisle by The Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke escorted the bride from Clarence House in the Glass Coach and they arrived at the Abbey at 11.30am. Crowds in London had gathered along the procession route and outside the Abbey hoping to catch a glimpse of the bride as she arrived.

The service was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, and following the ceremony the couple made the traditional Buckingham Palace balcony appearance. Margaret and Antony spent six weeks aboard Britannia for a cruise around the Caribbean for their honeymoon before moving into permanent apartments at Kensington Palace.

The couple welcomed their first child, David Albert Charles, in 1961 while their second child, Sarah Frances Elizabeth, was born in 1964.

It is reported that Margaret had her first extra marital affair in 1966 with Anthony Barton, a Bordeaux wine producer and godfather to her daughter. Antony Armstrong-Jones also had a series of affairs. The couple’s marriage began to break down very early on and by the early 1970’s, the Margaret and Antony had begun to drift apart.

The couple remained married until July 1978 when their divorce was finalised. On 15th December 1978, Lord Snowdon married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg. Princess Margaret did not marry again and died in February 2002.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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