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On This Day in 1960: The Wedding of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones took place

On 6 May 1960, Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong Jones at Westminster Abbey. The wedding would make history as it was the first royal wedding to be broadcasted on television with an estimated 300 million people tuning in to watch the day unfold.

The Engagement

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Prior to their engagement, Margaret’s relationship with the fashion photographer had been a well-kept secret. In February 1960, around two years after Armstrong-Jones and Margaret met at a party, they announced their plans to marry. The ruby engagement ring was designed by the Princess’s fiance.

The Princess made headlines when things were called off with Captain Peter Townsend years prior. A marriage between Margaret and Townsend was denied by Margaret’s sister, the Queen, as Townsend was a divorced man.

The Wedding Day

Thousands lined the streets from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey to catch a glimpse of the royal bride.

Staying with tradition, the Princess made the short journey from Clarence House to Westminster Abbey in a glass coach that is reserved for state occasions.

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Margaret’s father, George VI had died in 1952. The Duke of Edinburgh, Margaret’s brother-in-law, would accompany the Princess on her journey and give her away at the altar.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, led the ceremony in front of a congregation of about 2,00 people. Eight young bridesmaids were in tow, including Margaret’s niece, Princess Anne. The groom would choose Dr. Roger Gilliatt as his best man.

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A royal carriage procession led the newlyweds back to Buckingham Palace. The bride and groom, along with other members of the royal family stepped out onto the balcony to greet well-wishers.

Following the balcony appearance, a wedding breakfast was held.

The Wedding Dress

Marget wore a silk organza wedding dress designed by Normal Hartnell. Hartnell would design the Queen’s wedding gown just 13 years prior.

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Over 30 meters of fabric were used to make the full skirt while embellishments were kept to a minimum. Life magazine would describe the dress as “the simplest royal wedding gown in history.”

Margaret paired her gown with the Poltimore tiara. The tiara had been orignially made by the House of Garrad in the 1870s for Lady Poltimore.

Honeymoon

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The couple left London for a six-week-long honeymoon. Taking off on the Royal Yacht Britannia, well-wishers watched as the boat departed the Battle Ridge Pier on the River Thames and set off for the Caribbean.

Later years

A year after the wedding, the couple moved into Kensington Palace. Armstrong-Jones was then given the title, Earl of Snowdon. This made Margaret, Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.

The Snowdons had two children. A boy, David who was born in 1961, and a girl, Lady Sarah Chatto who was born in 1964.

After reports of infidelity on both sides, the couple separated in 1976. Two years later, Kensington Palace announced that the couple would divorce. Marking the first royal divorce since King Henry VIII in 1540.

After suffering from multiple strokes, the Princess would die at the age of 71 in February of 2002. Lord Snowdon died at his home in Kensington in January of 2017 at the age of 86.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.