As a teenager, Margaret fell in love with her father’s equerry Group Captain Peter Townsend who was sixteen years her senior and, at the time, a married man.
Rebellious and outspoken Margaret’s world was turned upside down in 1952 when her father died from lung cancer, making Elizabeth queen.
That same year Peter Townsend divorced his wife and in 1953, he proposed to the 22-year-old princess sparking the beginning of Margaret’s bitter disillusion with the royal establishment and institutional rules.
Many senior officials in the British government felt a marriage between Townsend and the Queen’s sister would be unsuitable and tarnish the reputation of the monarchy, while the Church of England - which the Queen is head of - refused to even consider the prospect of the Princess wedding a divorced man who was already a father of two, branding the idea “unthinkable”.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill arranged for Group Captain Townsend to be transferred to the Belgian capital of Brussels for work in the hopes of the romance dwindling, but the Princess’ and her beau’s love did not falter and newspaper polls from the time showed public support for the young royal to marry the man of her choice.
In 1955, the government created a plan for Princess Margaret to marry Peter Townsend - on condition that she give up her right to the throne and much of her royal privilege.
Much to the surprise of many within the Windsor fold, the Princess decided against the proposal and thereby the marriage.
Group Captain Townsend subsequently met and proposed to a young Belgian woman, and days after she learned of Peter’s engagement Princess Margaret accepted the proposal of Antony Armstrong-Jones, a photographer and socialite.
Armstrong-Jones asked for the Princess’ hand in marriage with a ruby and diamond engagement ring.
The news came as a surprise to the British public as Margaret had kept the relationship largely out of the press.
The couple married in 1960 in the first British royal wedding to ever be televised.
More than 300 million royal fans tuned in from across the globe to watch Margaret’s nuptials.
The rebel princess said “I Do” in a stunning wedding gown by British designer Norman Hartnell and wore the Poltimore Crown as her wedding tiara.
According to custom, Armstrong-Jones was given the title Earl of Snowdon one year after their marriage.
Who are Princess Margaret’s children?
Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones had two children: David, Viscount Linley, born on November 3rd 1961, and Lady Sarah, born May 1st 1964.
Both of Princess Margaret’s children were born via Caesarean section at the royal’s request.
David, Viscount Linley
At birth, David Armstrong-Jones was fifth in line to the British throne. Today, he is 18th in the line of succession.
Princess Margaret’s son inherited his father’s artistic talent, and grew up to become a much respected furniture creator known professionally as David Linley.
The craftsman boasts an elite client list which includes global icons such as Elton John and Valentino Garavani. He also serves as an honorary chairman at world renowned Christie’s auction house.
In 1993, David married Anglo-Irish aristocrat Serena Stanhope; Lady Serena wore a dress that bore striking similarity to the bridal gown of her mother-in-law Princess Margaret.
The couple share two children, Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones and Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley.
Lady Margarita and Viscount Linley are Princess Margaret’s grandchildren.
When his father passed away in January 2017, David Armstrong-Jones became the 2nd Earl of Snowdon.
Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones
Princess Margaret’s only daughter Lady Sarah grew up at Kensington Palace with her brother David.
She was born seventh in line to the British throne and is now 21st.
Just like her elder sibling, Sarah inherited the creative skill of her father and developed her talents to become a recognised painter.
Lady Sarah is also the vice-president of the British Royal Ballet.
In 1994, Lady Sarah married actor Daniel Chatto and went on to have two children, Samuel and Arthur Chatto.
She is now best known as Sarah Chatto and lives life largely away from the spotlight.
Sarah is reportedly a favourite confidante of Queen Elizabeth; she is also Prince Harry’s godmother.