Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Crown, Season 2.
The Crown has taken a more titillating turn this season, especially in depicting the burgeoning romance between Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) and photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones (Matthew Goode). If you've made it through Episode 7, then you've seen them meet, flirt, fight, have sex, and get married. But what about the rest of it?
Season 2 definitely plants the seeds of what would turn out to be a tumultuous and unhappy marriage. In real life, Margaret and Antony's relationship was a secret to most — even her close friends — until they announced their engagement on 26th February 1960. But even this festive news was actually tainted by the fact that Peter Townsend, the man Margaret had been set on marrying a couple of years before, wrote to announce his own engagement while she was at Balmoral Castle with Armstrong-Jones, apparently waiting for his proposal. (In the show, he proposes at his apartment after some wild make-up sex.)
Rumour has it that she asked him to hold off until the news of Townsend's upcoming marriage blew over. This, combined with the fact that Armstrong-Jones had a penchant for sleeping around — he has not one, but two affairs while courting Margaret in season 2, with actress Jacqui Chan, and married couple Jeremy and Camilly Fry — did not bode success.
The two were married with great pomp and circumstance at Westminster Abbey on 6th May 1960. As the first royal wedding to be televised, it drew almost 20 million viewers. In 1961, Armstrong-Jones was given a peerage and made the Earl of Snowden. By the same token, Margaret became Countess of Snowden.
By the end of season 2, Margaret has had her first child, David, and is pregnant with her second — and only daughter — Sarah.
But fans of the princess and the photographer better brace themselves for season 3 — that's when all the drama will unfold.
Over their 18 years of marriage, both were rumoured to have had countless affairs. Unproven rumours have tied Margaret to such celebrities as Mick Jagger and Peter Sellers. More explicit however, is that while in her 40s, and still married to Snowden, she carried on an eight-year relationship with a man 17 years her junior named Roddy Llewellyn, described as "former brewery trainee and sometime gardener who is now an aspiring pop singer,"by People Magazine in 1978. (That story, incidentally, about the controversy regarding Margaret and Roddy's latest trip to Mustique, is a treat.)
The end of Margaret and Snowden's life together was as controversial as its beginning and middle. As Anne de Courcy wrote in Snowden: The Biography, excerpted in Vanity Fair, " On 10th May 1978 a statement was issued from Kensington Palace: '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.'"
Snowden and Hogg divorced in 2000, and he had another child with a journalist in 1998. (In 2004, a biography of Armstrong-Jones claimed that he had also fathered a child just before his wedding to Margaret, an allegation we also see play out this season, when Camilla Fry tells him she's pregnant during his engagement party.)
Margaret died of a stroke in 2002. Snowden reportedly remained close to the royal family even after his divorce, and continued to photograph them until just before his death, in January 2017. You can find some of his pictures of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and even Prince William here.
If you're currently googling the projected release date for season 3 (there isn't one yet), know that you're not alone. Vanessa Kirby was apparently so upset that she wouldn't get to play out this part of history (season 3 will jump forward in time and have an entirely new cast) that she reportedly asked Peter Morgan, the series creator, for a Princess Margaret spinoff.
“I was so desperate to do further on . . . because it’s going to be so fun [to enact] when their marriage starts to break down," she told Vanity Fair. "You see the beginnings of that in episode 10. I kept saying to [series creator Peter Morgan], ‘Can’t you put in an episode where Margaret and Tony have a big row, and she throws a plate at his head?’ I’m so envious of the actress who gets to do it.”
Still no word on who that will be, but she's got some meaty scenes ahead of her.
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