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EDITIONS
Saturday, 9 February, 2002, 08:51 GMT
Margaret: Unlucky in love
Princess Margaret
She was the Diana of her day, upbeat and glamorous, every bit the princess. As she grew into a young woman, Margaret mania became the fashion.

She soon found out what it was like to be mobbed wherever she went. And on her early visits to Italy and France she had her first taste of the paparazzi.

It was a very conventional world she grew up in and she was to discover she could not follow where her heart led.

The teenage princess first noticed the love of her life, dashing war hero Group Captain Peter Townsend, on a tour to South Africa. But he was a married man, twice her age, with two children.

Group Captain Peter Townsend
Peter Townsend was the love of Margaret's life

Although the eventual break-up with his wife was nothing to do with Margaret, he became tainted in the eyes of society. Divorce was a dirty word.

The idea of his being involved with, or marrying, the princess so offended the establishment that the Queen's private secretary, Tommy Lascelles, banished him to Brussels.

Statement

The couple were still under siege two years later when Peter Townsend returned from his exile.

The princess was now 25 and no longer needed permission from her sister to marry. But the conventions of the State and the Church of England still placed obstacles in her path.

The princess would have had to have given up everything if she wanted to go ahead with the relationship.

In 1955 she bowed to the inevitable and issued a statement which announced that "mindful of the Church's teaching" she would not marry the group captain.

Engagement

Some of the crowned heads of Europe were noticeably absent when five years later, at the age of 29, the princess married Antony Armstrong-Jones, whom she had met at a dinner party in Chelsea in 1958.

The princess later told the then Conservative MP, Jonathan Aitken, that she had decided to marry Antony Armstrong-Jones in October 1959, on the same day that she received a letter from Group Captain Townsend announcing his engagement to a Belgian girl.

"I received a letter from Peter in the morning," she explained, "and that evening I decided to marry Tony.

"I didn't really want to marry at all. Why did I? Because he asked me! Really, though, he was such a nice person in those days. In a way he introduced me to a new world."

Margaret marrying Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960
In 1960 she married Antony Armstrong-Jones

Even though he was created Earl of Snowdon on their wedding day, many thought she should marry a prince, not a photographer.

His friends had been surprised as he had had few former girlfriends. Her friends noticed she loved his avant garde image.

During the early part of their marriage she forsook the Rolls-Royce for a Mini and even rode pillion on his motorbike.

The couple became part of a social whirl, enjoying the company of actors and pop stars, including the actor and comedian Peter Sellers, with whom the princess was very close.

Suicide

Among Margaret's other male friends were the writer Robin Douglas-Home, who committed suicide in 1968, and, more questionably, the killer and actor John Bindon.

Lord Snowdon soon tired of his role as royal husband. He was strong-minded and ambitious.

Rumours of a rift started after seven years of marriage and their arguments became legendary. They struggled on for 16 years before separating.

Small wonder then that the charming young Roddy Llewellyn stepped in to fill the gap. Her most outrageous choice to date, he was many years younger, footloose and fancy-free.

The couple first met in Scotland in September 1973 at the Café Royal in Edinburgh when travelling to a house party in Peebleshire hosted by Margaret's old friend, Colin Tennant.

Roddy Llewellyn
Her relationship with Roddy Llewellyn lasted eight years

In pursuit of a mission in life he joined a Wiltshire commune. The group planned to open a restaurant in Bath with Roddy growing the produce. It would lead to his career in landscape gardening.

A picture of the couple on holiday in Mustique created the scandal that finally blew the Snowdons' marriage apart.

She would be the first royal to divorce since Henry VIII. The press laid siege to Llewellyn's farm.

Despite the outrage, Roddy Llewellyn was far from being a fame-seeking toy boy.

His relationship with the princess lasted nearly eight years but, in the end, the age gap was too great and Roddy married a younger woman.

Princess Margaret never found a love to follow him.


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Princess Margaret 1930-2002
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