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All about the wedding of princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Before talking about the wedding, it is important to remember that Princess Margaret was the youngest sister of Queen Elizabeth II. And as a matter of fact, she was known as the rebel sister. No wonder she ended up marrying a commoner.

Wedding Princesa Margaret e Antony Armstrong-Jones

During her youth, Margaret had a busy life, packed to glamorous parties, watered with alcohol, in a Hollywood star style. This ended up giving him celebrity status. In this life in the spotlight, she ended up meeting photographer Antony “Tony” Armstrong-Jones. Tony would be the person Margaret would spend the next 15 years of her life with.

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones met in 1958 at the home of Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, who was a childhood friend of Queen Elizabeth II and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. Tony was the son of divorced parents and worked as a photographer. Profession in which he developed a prestigious career, photographing British high society. As a result, he frequented the same environments as the princess. He even did some portraits of close friends of the royal family, as well as little princes Charles and Anne. Margaret, despite being also known for her arrogant posture, allowed herself to start the romance with the photographer. At first, however, this novel was still far from the eyes of Buckingham Palace and the Prime Minister's office. The couple used to meet in the house Tony rented at 59 Rotherhite Street, which was also his studio.

On February 26, 1960, Margaret's engagement to Tony was announced. In the Times editorial at the time, the following was said: "There is no recent precedent for a marriage of someone so close to the throne, outside the statute of international royalty and the English nobility". Even the liberal News Statesman was restrained in its words, when it published that the realization of that union between a princess and a commoner should be evaluated “with an indulgence that only a few years ago would have been unthinkable”.

There was undoubtedly a buzz around what the position of Queen Elizabeth II would be. She decided to support her sister, at the same time she offered Tony the title of Mr. Armstrong-Jones. At first, Tony refused the title. The following year, Margaret became pregnant with David Armstrong-Jones, her first child. And it was then that Tony accepted the titles of Earl Snowdon and Viscount of Lynley and Nymans.

The wedding, which was celebrated on May 6, 1960, at Westminster Abbey, had all the pomp and circumstance expected of a royal wedding. After the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, it was the first major royal spectacle, and likewise had the ceremony televised to over 300 million viewers worldwide.

To compose her look, the bride chose a stunning white silk dress. The dress was designed by Norman Hartnell, the same designer who made Queen Elizabeth II's wedding dress. Margaret also wore a beautiful diamond tiara, the famous Poltimore tiara, which she had purchased months earlier.

The ceremony was attended by around 2000 guests who watched as Margaret entered alongside Prince Philip. After taking the ceremonial vows, the bride and groom walked to the balcony of Buckingham Palace, where they waved to the crowd. Scene that, incidentally, was repeated other times in other weddings of British royalty. Over the next few weeks, they headed aboard the royal yacht Britannia for their honeymoon in the Caribbean. There, it was the place where Margaret received land on his private island of Mustique as a gift from Colin Tennant, who would be the future Baron of Glenconner.

For a rebellious princess, a wedding at Westminster Abbey with nods at Buckingham Palace was pretty traditional, don't you think?

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