Take a look inside the fascinating, opulent and completely extraordinary life of The Queen’s beloved sister - Princess Margaret, the Countess of Snowdon.
She oozed opulence, relished in glamour and loved to party – her life though, was shrouded in controversy and scandal yet her legacy is as stunning as ever.
Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth lived a wonderful life as little girls, but it changed forever when her father George VI, with whom she shared a close relationship with, reluctantly and unexpectedly became King in 1936 after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated from the throne so he could marry twice divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.
Life in Buckingham Palace was strict and as the younger sister of the heir-apparent, her needs were often looked over.
“She was rather sidelined, and that’s why she became this outgoing, extravagant person because she felt she had to make her mark in some way,” close friend Lady Jane Rayne revealed in the documentary Princess Margaret – A Love Story.
Soon enough, after the Second World War, as the Princess blossomed in to a truly beautiful woman, she became a prominent socialite and the topic of conversation across the globe.
It became vastly clear that Princess Margaret was here for a good time, not a long – and boy, did she live.
Known fondly as a night owl, who would often stay up until the sun rose, she caused quite a stir for her sister who became Queen at just 25 – especially when it came to matters of the heart.
Famously the young Princess fell madly in love with a divorcee named Peter Townsend but was forced to end their engagement when her sister revealed that she had to choose between love and a royal title – including the salary that came along with it, a reported $AUD 400,000 per year.
“I would like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Capt. Peter Townsend. Mindful of the church's teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before any others,” she revealed to Parliament at the time.
She later married photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones, but after two children together they divorced in 1978 – causing more controversy for the Queen.
It was a life filled the finer things, romantic-trysts with celebrities and designer gowns, but first and foremost was her loyalty to The Queen, who she loved dearly.
Her extravagant, and expensive life came to an end in 2002 at 71 due to a stroke, The Queen announced her “beloved” sister’s death via statement with “great sadness.”
"I never in all my life heard Princess Margaret say a harsh or critical word about the Queen. She was totally devoted to her and the Queen will miss her very much," good friend and Conservative former Cabinet minister Lord St John of Fawsley said after her death.
Although it's been over a decade since her death, her legacy is still burning bright in her children and grandchildren, including 16-year-old grandson Arthur Chatto. However, Margaret did away with passing on any royal titles to her family, as she once explained, "My children are not royal, they just happen to have the Queen for their aunt."
Click through to see Princess Margaret’s stunning, glamorous and decadent life in pictures, plus get to know her grandson Arthur!
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