History

Princess Margaret's wedding

06 May 1960

Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey in the spring of 1960. It was the first royal wedding to be broadcast on television and more than 20 million viewers tuned in to watch it.


Photo: Princess Margaret and her husband, the photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, wave from Buckingham Palace. (AFP/Getty Images)

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Princess Elizabeth leaves Westminster Abbey in London, with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, after their wedding ceremony, 20 November 1947.

20 November 1947

Elizabeth II's wedding

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Princess Anne, Princess Royal and Mark Phillips wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their wedding, 14 November, 1973.

14 November 1973

Princess Anne's wedding

More information about: Princess Margaret's wedding

How the couple met

Princess Margaret was the daughter of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, born 21 August 1930 at Glamis Castle - the first royal birth in Scotland since the 17th Century.

On VE Day in 1945, she mingled with the crowds outside Buckingham Palace along with her older sister Elizabeth, who was to become queen in 1952.

The young princess took an interest in the arts and fashion and was the centre of a young set of aristocrats, know as The Margaret Set.

In 1953 she fell in love with one of the Royal Household, Group Captain Peter Townsend. Because he was divorced, marriage to Margaret was judged unacceptable by the Church of England and the political establishment. Eventually, Margaret decided not to marry him.

The princess resumed her social life and, in 1958, was introduced to a Cambridge graduate who was making a name for himself as a photographer.

Anthony Armstrong-Jones and Princess Margaret were engaged in October 1959.

The wedding day

Thousands lined the streets to witness the Queen's younger sister get married. It was the first ever televised wedding, and 20 million viewers tuned in.

Princess Margaret made the journey from Clarence House to Westminster Abbey in the Glass Coach with the Duke of Edinburgh.

She dressed in white silk and sported a diamond tiara. Among the 2,000 guests in the church were the King and Queen of Sweden, and the traditional Church of England service was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

After the ceremony, the pair travelled to Buckingham Palace where they waved to a delighted crowd.

The newlyweds boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia on the Thames and set off for a honeymoon in the Caribbean.

Life after the wedding

Antony Armstrong-Jones (now the Earl of Snowdon) and Princess Margaret had two children, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones. Over time, Lord Snowdon tired of official engagements, saying "I'm not royal; I'm just married to one."

The couple officially separated in March 1976, and divorced two years later.

Princess Margaret was dogged by ill-health for many years. She suffered a nervous breakdown, had parts of a lung removed and badly scalded her feet in a bathing accident. The operation on her lung failed to stop her smoking.

In 1998, she suffered the first of a series of strokes. On 9 February 2002 she died peacefully in her sleep after another stroke. Her funeral took place at St George's Chapel, Windsor.

The Earl of Snowdon has continued with his photography work. He remarried in 1978 but later divorced in 2000. In 1999 he received a life peerage so he could keep his seat in the House of Lords.

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