2nd Earl of Snowdon, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Countess of Snowdon, David Armstrong-Jones, Divorce, Earl of Snowden, King George VI of the United Kingdom, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Viscount Linely
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, (Margaret Rose; August 21, 1930 – February 9, 2002) was the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II.
Margaret spent much of her childhood with her parents and sister. Her life changed dramatically at the age of six, when her paternal uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry divorcée Wallis Simpson. Margaret’s father became king, and her sister became heir presumptive, with Margaret second in line to the throne. During the Second World War, the two sisters stayed at Windsor Castle despite suggestions to evacuate them to Canada. During the war years, Margaret was considered too young to perform any official duties and instead continued her education.
After the war, Margaret fell in love with Group Captain Peter Townsend. In 1952, her father died, her sister became queen, and Townsend divorced his wife, Rosemary. He proposed to Margaret early the following year. Many in the government believed that he would be an unsuitable husband for the Queen’s 22-year-old sister, and the Church of England refused to countenance marriage to a divorced man. Margaret eventually abandoned her plans with Townsend and married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960; the Queen made him Earl of Snowdon. The couple had a son, David, and a daughter, Sarah, before divorcing in 1978.
Margaret was a controversial member of the British royal family. Her divorce in 1978 received much negative publicity, and her private life was for many years the subject of intense speculation by media and royal-watchers. Her health gradually deteriorated in the final two decades of her life. She was a heavy smoker for most of her adult life and had a lung operation in 1985, a bout of pneumonia in 1993, and at least three strokes between 1998 and 2001. She died at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London after suffering a final stroke on February 9, 2002. Her Mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother survived her by several weeks dying on March 30, 2002 at age 101.