SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

British RoyalsHistoryInsight

40 facts about Princess Margaret on the anniversary of her death


David S. Paton CC BY-SA 3.0

On February 9, 2002, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon died at the age of 71 from a stroke. Royal Central rounds up some of the most interesting facts about The Queen’s younger sister.

  1. She was going to be called Ann Margaret, but her grandfather, King George V vetoed the name, Ann. In the end, she was named Margaret Rose.
  2. When she was born, her christening was delayed so she wouldn’t be listed as number 13 in the parish records.
  3. She was affectionately known by her family as ‘Margot’.
  4. Princess Margaret and her sister were not formally educated at school. Their mother believed that an upper-class girl did not need an academic education and entrusted their upbringing to their governesses. The Queen Mother later revealed she regretted not pushing for her daughters to go to school.
  5. At the time of her birth, Margaret was fourth in line to the throne. The highest she ever reached in the succession was second. At the time of her death, she was eleventh in line.
  6. She made her first radio broadcast with her elder sister from Windsor Castle during World War Two. The young royals spoke to the children who had been evacuated.
  7. When King George VI spoke of his daughters, he said, “Lillibet is my pride, Margaret is my joy.”
  8. She lived a far more decadent lifestyle than her elder sister, and it was reported that she enjoyed the deference and pomp of royal life more than The Queen.
  9. She was a heavy smoker.
  10. Her favourite alcoholic drink was Famous Grouse whiskey with a dash of water. Most lunchtimes, she and her mother would have a four-course meal along with half a bottle of red wine each.  She was also partial to a ‘Vodka pick-me-up’ at noon.
  11. She famously fell in love with her father’s former equerry, Peter Townsend, who was sixteen years her senior but ended the relationship when it became clear that marriage would mean giving up her right to the throne.
  12. Her relationship with Peter Townsend came to light when a journalist noticed her pick a piece of lint off of Townsend’s jacket at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.
  13. She married celebrity photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones on 6 May 1960 in Westminster Abbey. The couple later became the Earl and Countess of Snowdon.
  14. Their wedding in 1960 was the first to be broadcast live on television, and 300 million people watched the wedding.
  15. Her wedding dress was designed by Norman Hartnell, a favourite royal designer.
  16. She opted to wear the Poltimore tiara on her wedding day. It was not a family heirloom. Instead, it was bought at an auction for £5,500. This piece was continually worn by the Princess, famously in a photograph in a bathtub taken by her husband.
  17. Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones had two children, David Albert Charles, now the 2nd Earl of Snowdon, and Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth.
  18. She has four grandchildren: Charles Patrick Inigo Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley and Lady Margarita Elizabeth Rose Alleyne Armstrong-Jones from her son, the 2nd Earl of Snowdon. Lady Sarah Chatto is the mother of Samuel David Benedict Chatto and Arthur Robert Nathaniel Chatto.
  19. Margaret and Antony separated in 1976 after her relationship with Roddy Llewellyn came to light, and their divorce was formalised in 1978.
  20. She lived in Apartment 1A of Kensington Palace, which is now the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.
  21. Five months after their divorce, Antony Armstrong-Jones married Lucy Lindsey-Hogg. Soon after, they had a daughter, Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones.
  22. Princess Margaret was given a plot of land in the Caribbean by Colin Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner.
  23. She built a five-bedroom house on the island of Mustique named ‘Les Jolies Eaux’.
  24. She had part of her lung removed in 1985.
  25. As a former Brownie and Sea Ranger, she became the President of Girlguiding UK and continued in the role until her death in 2002.
  26. Her favourite book was War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
  27. She was romantically linked to the politician, John Turner, who would go on to become Prime Minister of Canada.
  28. Vanessa Kirby portrayed her in Netflix’s The Crown, seasons 1-2. She was portrayed by Helena Bonham-Carter for the following seasons 3-4. Lesley Manville will also portray the Princess for the successful show’s penultimate and final seasons.
  29. She had three nephews and one niece and eight great-nieces and nephews, including Princes William and Harry.
  30. Her net worth was estimated at £20 million when she passed away in early 2002.
  31. The Princess caught pneumonia in 1993.
  32. In 1998, she suffered her first stroke whilst on holiday in Mustique.
  33. In 1999, she suffered painful lesions on her feet after a bathroom incident.
  34. She struggled to walk after 1999 and used a wheelchair; she was also largely bed-bound.
  35. Her final appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony was in 2001 to celebrate the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday.
  36. Her final public appearance was for her mother’s 101st birthday.
  37. She died at King Edward VII Hospital, London, six weeks before the passing of her mother, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.
  38. She died three days after the anniversary of her father, King George VI’s death on 6 February 1952.
  39. She is one of the few royals to have been cremated.
  40. Her funeral was held in London on 15 February 2002 – the 50th anniversary of her father’s funeral.