Season 2's fourth episode sees the royal meeting a dashing photographer who is unlike anyone she's ever met: Antony Armstrong-Jones, played by the criminally underappreciated Matthew Goode. Before long, she's visiting his studio for a portrait session that's a far cry from her stuffy, ridiculously regal sittings with the famed Cecil Beaton.
Here, there's no tiara, gown, or even sleeves. Her shoulders are bare, and her expression is honest thanks to Tony's trick of asking Margaret if she misses her former lover Townsend just as the shutter clicks. Later, there's some seductive tiptoeing in the dark room, where the princess observes that the photo captures a Margaret that nobody has seen before.
A romance ignites, and a mini-scandal erupts. Rebellious Margaret has, of course, directed Tony to send the portrait, in which she gives the impression of being nude, to the Times. (Side note: LOL at Prince Philip barely scanning the front page before clawing through to the exact page his sister-in-law's racy image appears.)
Though The Crown is known to take some artistic license with its soapy storylines, the portrait scene resonates with reality. This bare-shouldered black-and-white portrait was taken by the real Armstrong-Jones in 1959, the year before he married Princess Margaret. As Lord Snowdon, he continued to shoot intimate photos of his famous wife, including this stunning snap from 1967, and this 1962 image of her posing in the bath with her tiara.
Were there motorcycle rides and post-date boogies to "I've Only Got Eyes For You" in real life, too? God we hope so.
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