Weird History
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Bet You Didn't Know Queen Elizabeth's Sister Was A Hard-Partying Princess

Updated February 21, 2019 974.4k views12 items

Princess Margaret was no stranger to controversy and scandal. The younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II played by her own rules, much to the chagrin of her royal relatives. In contrast to her quiet,proper sister, Margaret was outgoing and independent. Her romantic relationships, especially her potential marriage to Peter Townsend, garnered national attention and caused more than enough scandals for a single lifetime. 

Margaret loved to socialize, smoke and drink, and generally test boundaries - British intelligence agents may have even robbed a bank to save her reputation. Born into a life that wasn't really her own, Margaret rebelled and made the most of her position, having a lot of fun along the way.

  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    She Became Engaged To Her Future Husband Soon After Peter Townsend Proposed To Someone Else

    After Princess Margaret decided not to marry Peter Townsend, she was back to socializing. Prior to her relationship with Townsend, Margaret had been linked to dozens of men. She continued to have her pick of suitors.

    She entered into a secret relationship with photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones, a charismatic commoner, in 1958. The two announced that they were getting married in 1960, an engagement that took place shortly after Townsend proposed to another woman.

  • Hers Was The First Royal Wedding To Be Televised

    Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones married on May 6, 1960. The event took place in Westminster Abbey and was the first royal wedding broadcast on national television. Anywhere from 20 million to 300 million people watched at home, depending on the source, while thousands of others lined the streets of London.

    Armstrong-Jones, a commoner, soon became royal when Elizabeth made him the Earl of Snowdon.

  • Photo: Eric Koch / Anefo / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Both Princess Margaret And Her Husband Had Affairs Soon After Getting Married

    Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones's first few years of marriage were reportedly happy and they had two children, David and Sarah. Despite all the things life had to offer them, their marriage began to fall apart by 1964. Armstrong-Jones entered into several flings with other women, and Margaret had an affair with her longtime friend Anthony Barton. She also had an affair with Robin Douglas-Home, who took his own life 18 months after their tryst ended.

    Both the princess and her husband seemed unhappy in the marriage and took it out on each other. Their fights were escalated by alcohol, and when they weren't fighting, they tried to simply stay away from each other.

    They were each very aware of the other's affairs, and when Armstrong-Jones traveled, they corresponded to one another with extreme honesty. Armstrong-Jones wrote to his wife at one point:

    It really isn't good for you continuously to stay up so late drinking and so on... If things are not going very well at the moment, then please darling do discuss things with me and I'm sure we can straighten it out. I was rather shocked that you took such pride in telling me that you had only three half-hearted affairs and it was much better when I was in India. All I ask is not to make it too obvious.

    As Margaret's unhappiness deepened, she reportedly drank more, gained weight, and flirted excessively. "Sometimes she almost threw herself at men," said one of her friends. "Partly it was to make Tony jealous, partly to prove to herself she was still attractive."



  • Photo: Bert Verhoeff / Anefo / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Princess Margaret Was Linked To Peter Sellers And Mick Jagger, Among Others

    When Margaret wanted to escape her marriage and obligations, she often visited the island of Mustique. She was given 10 acres of land on the Caribbean island as a wedding gift, and built a luxurious villa there, where she often partied with lovers.

    Mick Jagger, Billy Joel, and David Bowie also owned homes on the island, feeding into rumors about the princess. Margaret was romantically liked to numerous celebrities, including Jagger and actors Peter Sellers and Warren Beatty.