Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, GCVO FRSA RDI (7 March 1930 – 13 January 2017) was a British photographer and filmmaker who married Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II
Ronnie Jones (June 2, 1949 – June 16, 1996) was an American country music singer known professionally as Anthony Armstrong Jones, a stage name that he took from the name of the British photographer who married Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. A former professional golfer, Jones recorded four albums for Chart Records in that timespan, in addition to charting six times in the Top 40 on the Billboard country singles charts.
- Who Was Antony Armstrong-Jones?
- His Photography
- His Marriage to Margaret
- His Second Marriage
- Was He Attracted to Men?
- Later Life
Born Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Joneson March 7, 1930 in London, Armstrong-Jones, best known to friends and family as Tony, was the son of Welsh barrister Ronald Armstrong-Jones and Anne Messel. When he was very young, his parents divorced, and Tony and his older sister Susan went to live with their mother, who married Lawrence Parsons, Sixth Earl of Rosse, when Tony was five. His childhood in the Earl of Rosse's house was reportedly not a loving one. In Armstrong-Jones's obituary, The Guardiandescribed it as “a loveless and emotionally starved childhood,” in which Tony was “treated as distinctly inferior" to his mother's two sons with the earl. At age 16, he contracted polio and spent six months in recuperation, during which his only visitor was his sister Susan. He survived the illness, but the polio took a toll on one of his legs and he walked with a limp for the remainder of his life. Tony later attended Eton College, followed by Cambridge, but he flunked out of his exams i...
Even before he became involved with Princess Margaret, Tony had made a name for himself as a portrait photographer. In 1956, he put on a one-man exhibition of his work, and published two books of photography the year after that—the same year he would photograph Margaret's sister Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and their childrenon the grounds of Buckingham Palace. In the 1960s, after his marriage to Margaret, Tony became a photo editor of The Sunday Times magazine, where he would work for more than 30 years. He became a highly sought-after commercial photographer, working for publications like Vanity Fair and theDaily Telegraph as well as photographing celebrities such as Dame Maggie Smith, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood. Over the years, he continued to be a favored photographer of the royal family, even after his messy divorce from Margaret, capturing many iconic images of royals.
Princess Margaret first met Antony Armstrong-Jones at a dinner party in 1958, but it was far from love at first site. It took several months for romance to blossom,after Tony was commissioned to photograph Margaret, but even then things were kept very hush-hush. "Nobody knew about their relationship, there wasn't a whisper about it," Anne de Courcy author of the biography Snowdon told Town & Country. "She would see him in secret at his studio and yes, he would join her at parties, but no one could pinpoint which man she was in interested in. The press focused more on the ones who were seen to be eligible. They didn't think of Tony who was often in the background." They weren't under the radar for long, though. Tony proposed to Margaret in February of 1960; that May, their royal wedding at Westminster Abbey was the first royal wedding to be televised. Together they made a glamorous, charming picture of a royal couple. They traveled, touring America and hobnobbing with the Hollywood e...
The same year he divorced Princess Margaret, Tony married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, a film production assistant. Together, the two had a daughter, Frances, in 1979. The remained together for more than two decades, but infidelities and the 1998 birth of Tony's youngest child, Jasper, with journalist Melanie Cable-Alexander, ultimately ended the marriage in 2000.
Tony never confirmed or denied the longstanding rumors about his sexuality during his lifetime, but that didn't stop the speculation. "I enjoyed his company very much, but I didn’t take a lot of notice of him because I thought he was queer," Princess Margaret told her biographer Christopher Warwick in her later years. In her biography, de Courcy quoted a close friend of Armstrong-Jones’s referring to his preferences by saying, "If it moves, he’ll have it." She also noted that “most of the girls” who worked with him at his studio thought that, “there seemed little doubt that Tony was gay.” Perhaps the most persistent rumors about his sexuality came from his close relationship with then-husband and wife Jeremy and Camilla Fry. Depicted as a three-way relationship in The Crown's second season, Tony stayed with the couple frequently and clearly maintained some form of sexual relationship with Camilla at least—she gave birth to a daughter, Polly Fry, just weeks after Tony's marriage to P...
Despite the unhappiness of their marriage, Tony and Margaret remained friends throughout their lives, and he continued to spend time with the royal family, including taking many official royal photos, like the first photograph of baby Prince Harry in 1984. He became outspoken in the House of Lords and the press as an advocate for those with physical disabilities and mobility issues. He set up the Earl of Snowdon Award Scheme, using money he had made from photographs of the royal family to create funding for disabled students and helped design aids for the blind, hard-of-hearing, and those in wheelchairs. In 1999, Lord Snowdon was awarded life peerage, which gave him the title of baron and secured his seat in the House of Lords until his retirement in 2016. He died in his home in January 2017, at the age of 86.
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Nov 27, 2019 · According to The New York Times, Armstrong-Jones was in Australia at the time of Margaret's announcement and responded, "I am naturally desperately sad in every way that this had to come." The ...
Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones stand in the grounds of Royal Lodge (Getty Images) As a result, Armstrong-Jones, who took the title of the 1st Earl of Snowdon after his marriage, soon began a slew of affairs and flings in secret. What Margaret did not know was that her husband was never very faithful to her as he had been having an affair with his best friend Jeremy Fry's wife Camilla even before they got married — a relationship that led her to get pregnant with his child.
- Pritha Paul
Nov 18, 2019 · 1958: Anthony Armstrong-Jones is commissioned to photograph Princess Margaret. Princess Margaret first met photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones at a party in 1958, but apparently nothing happened...
- Later life
Following their marriage in May of 1960, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon were known as Britain's most glamorous couple, but their love story wasn't always a joyful one. Snowdon, then Antony Armstrong-Jones, was the first \\"commoner\\" to wed a king's daughter in over 400 years, but rumors of a rift in the marriage began as early as 1967. By the 1970s, the famous royal couple had drifted apart and in 1978, after almost 20 years of marriage, they announced their divorce. Princess Margaret wanted to show the public she had moved on from Townsend, and on February 26, 1960, her engagement to her new love interest was announced. The news came as a surprise to many, and it didn't go over well with everyone, particularly royal courtiers who would have preferred Margaret marry a wealthy aristocrat. After they returned from a six-week honeymoon aboard the royal yacht Britannia, the newlyweds moved into Kensington Palace. Armstrong-Jones was given the title Earl of Snowdon and in 1961, they welcomed their first child, David, into the family. Their daughter Sarah was born three years later in what was a happy time in their relationship. \\"The first few years were wonderful,\\" de Courcy said. \\"They had a lot in common, there was banter between themhe would help her with her speeches. They [were] very close in the first few years.\\" However, while they both enjoyed the celebrity lifestyle, their desire to be \\"centre-stage\\" is said to have caused friction in their marriage soon after the birth of their daughter. \\"Margaret's template of marriage was quite different from Tony's,\\" she added. \\"He had parents who split, while her parents' and sister's marriage were very happy. She expected her husband to be with her more, but one of Tony's strongest motivations was work. He had a workshop in the basement of Kensington Palace, and while she was understanding of his work commitments, Margaret didn't realize it would take him away from her so much.\\" After Sarah's birth, there were signs the royal marriage had started to crumble. According to The Evening Standard, Snowdon started having casual flings while he was away on photographic assignments, while Margaret had a brief relationship with Snowdon's university friend Anthony Barton, and later with Roddy Llewellyn, a landscape gardener 18 years her junior. In 1969, Snowdon embarked on an extramarital affair with Lady Jacqueline Rufus-Isaacs, which despite her own infidelities, upset Margaret greatly. After years of infidelity the couple separated in 1976. Two years later, Kensington Palace announced that the royal couple were divorcing. It was the first royal divorce since King Henry VIII's in 1540. \\"Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and the Earl of Snowdon, after two years of separation, have agreed that their marriage should be formally ended. Accordingly, Her Royal Highness will start the necessary legal proceedings,\\" the statement said.
However, the royal family were delighted with the match. \\"They all liked him very muchTony had great charm, very good manners and he knew exactly how to behave,\\" de Courcy explained. \\"He felt devotion to the royal family, to the Queen, who he admired immensely. He got on very well with Prince Charles and he adored the Queen Mother.\\"
After Margaret's first unhappy love affair, the Queen wanted her sister to be happy and the public, who were pleased to see Margaret settle down, were eventually supportive too. On May 6, 1960, the couple's became the first royal marriage to be broadcast on television. According to The Daily Express, it attracted over 300 million viewers around the world.
\\"They were both pretty strong-willed and accustomed to having their own way, so there were bound to be collisions,\\" says De Courcy.
Despite their troubles, the pair remained close until Margaret's death in 2002. \\"They always maintained a solid friendship, once the bitterness of the divorce was over,\\" de Courcy says, although Snowdon's love life remained complicated.
Soon after the divorce was finalized, he married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, the former wife of a film director, in 1978. Their only child, Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones, was born the following year, but Snowdon divorced again in 2000 after it emerged that he had fathered a son, Jasper, out of wedlock with journalist Melanie Cable-Alexander. It was later reported that he had fathered an daughter, Polly Fry, just before marrying Princess Margaret. A DNA test in 2004 apparently proved his paternity, but he denied any knowledge of the claims at the time.
On Friday January 13, 2017, Buckingham Palace confirmed the Earl had passed away at the age of 86. He will no doubt be remembered as a talented photographer, who was also a passionate campaigner for the disabled throughout his life. However, his connection to the royals will always get top billing. Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones will always be known as the man who marriedand divorcedthe Queen's glamorous sister.
- Those hate notes were totally real. In season 3 of The Crown, Princess Margaret, played by Helena, reads from a hateful note left by Tony that said, “You look like a Jewish manicurist, and I hate you.”
- It isn’t clear if Princess Margaret actually tried to commit suicide. Although in season 3’s finale episode, we see that the princess overdoses on sleeping pills, it was never confirmed by the press as to whether this was a suicide attempt.
- The couple became engaged while secretly staying at a friend’s place. In season 2 of The Crown, Tony proposes in the most elaborate of presentations as he makes the princess unbox and unwrap in his apartment for what seems like forever before her giant engagement ring finally pops up.
- He was not her rebound. This, according to Princess Margaret’s biographer Christopher Warwick, who wrote Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts. In 2017, Warwick told People that it was “utter nonsense” to deduce that her relationship with Tony was a pure reaction to move on from her ex Group Captain Peter Townsend.
- Who Was Princess Margaret?
- Early Years
- Controversial Romance
- Marriage and Scandal
- Charities and Honors
- Health Problems and Death
The younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret became known for an independent streak, her reputation bolstered by a controversial relationship with royal equerry Peter Townsend. The princess wed photographer Antony Armstrong-Jonesin 1960, but their marriage was also marked by scandal before their divorce in 1978, the first in the royal family in 400 years. Margaret died in London following a stroke on February 9, 2002.
Princess Margaret Rose was born on August 21, 1930, at Glamis Castle, Scotland, the second daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York. Following the abdication of Edward VIII to marry American Wallis Simpson, her parents were crowned King George VI and Queen Elizabethin 1937. As a child, Margaret enjoyed swimming and displayed a talent for the piano. She was educated at Buckingham Palace but moved to Windsor Castle upon the outbreak of World War II.
Following the war, Margaret appeared in the public eye more frequently. Oft contrasted with her older sister, Elizabeth, the glamorous young beauty developed a reputation as an independent spirit who enjoyed socializing late into the night. Margaret soon grew close to Group Captain Peter Townsend, a war hero and royal equerry, and their secret relationship was revealed at the coronation of her sister, Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. However, Townsend was an older man and a recent divorcé, and the relationship was said to be frowned upon by the Church and Parliament. The Queen and Prime Minister Anthony Eden eventually reached an agreement in which Margaret could marry Townsend in exchange for forfeiting her rights to succession. Ultimately, Margaret chose not to follow through with the arrangement, and she announced her split from Townsend in October 1955. READ MORE: The Ups and Downs of Princess Margaret's Love Life
Princess Margaret eventually struck up a relationship with photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was appointed 1st Earl of Snowdon following their marriage in May 1960. Their son, David Albert Charles, was born in November 1961, and daughter, Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth, followed in May 1964. By the late 1960s, Margaret and Lord Snowdon's high-profile union was rumored to be on the rocks. Although they remained married, Margaret developed a relationship with a younger landscape gardener named Roddy Llewellyn, which became known to the public when the two were photographed together on vacation in early 1976. The press, which was already grumbling about the princess's diminishing public appearances, pounced on the affair. Margaret and Lord Snowdon separated shortly after the scandal reached headlines, and in May 1978 they completed their divorce, the first by a British royal couple in 400 years. READ MORE: Princess Margaret: What Really Happened on Her 1965 Tour of the United States
Although she drew the most attention for her extravagant lifestyle, Princess Margaret was involved with more than 80 charities and organizations. Among them, she served as president of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and president of the Royal Ballet. Additionally, Margaret was appointed commander in chief of several military units, including the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars. She was appointed Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 1953 and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem three years later, and was awarded the Royal Victorian Chain in 1990.
Like her father and following years of heavy smoking, Princess Margaret underwent an operation to remove part of her left lung in early 1985. In 1993, she contracted pneumonia. No longer the subject of media scrutiny, Margaret withdrew into private life as the tabloids focused on Princess Dianaand a younger generation of royals. She dealt with 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 9, 2002, in London. More than a decade later, Princess Margaret figured prominently in The Crown, a popular drama about the British monarchy during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Additionally, the 2018 documentary series Elizabeth: Our Queenincluded a segment in which big sister revealed her approval of Margaret's relationship with Roddy Llewellyn, because "he made her really happy."