Marriage and family

Marriage and family

Princess Margaret with her family

‘I have to have things which photograph well; there’s no use in having a really pretty dress which does not photograph …'

Life

On 9 March 1960, following Princess Margaret’s engagement to photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones earlier in the year, a formal announcement was issued from Clarence House: ‘The marriage of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret with Mr Antony Armstrong-Jones will be solemnised at Westminster Abbey on the morning of Friday, May 6th, 1960, at 11.30 o’clock.’

Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones leave Westminster Abbey on their wedding day, 9 March 1960. (popperfoto.com)
This was the first royal wedding to be televised. After the ceremony the couple boarded the royal yacht Britannia to embark upon their honeymoon in the Caribbean.

Replica of Poltimore tiara, commissioned by Carl Toms for a display of Princess Margaret's wedding dress in 1975. (Private Collection © Historic Royal Palaces)
The couple moved into Apartment 10, Kensington Palace before moving to Princess Margaret's former apartment in early 1963 where they made their family home.

On 3 November 1961, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon had their first child, a son born in Clarence House, and christened David Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley.

Their second child, a daughter, Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth, was born at Kensington Palace on 1 May 1964.

Main image: A family portrait of HRH Princess Margaret, The Earl of Snowdon and their children David Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, in the garden of their home at Kensington Palace, 1965. (popperfoto.co.uk)

Style

The Princess’s wedding dress, designed by Norman Hartnell, was made from silk organza with 30 metres of fabric in the skirt alone.

However, the embellishment was minimal to suit Margaret���s delicate frame. Hartnell’s designs were much admired by the Princess, as she explains in The Englishwoman’s Wardrobe, he was ‘always so good at getting the balance right.’

In the 1960s, Princess Margaret was heralded as a figure of sophistication. She embraced fashion while recognising that her royal duties took precedence. In 1986, she said of her clothing choices:

‘I have to have things which photograph well; there’s no use in having a really pretty dress which does not photograph … I always, always have to be practical. I can’t have skirts too tight because of getting in and out of cars and going up steps. Sleeves can’t be too tight either: they must be alright for waving.’

The designer Christopher Bailey cited Princess Margaret’s distinguished style as the direct inspiration for his spring/ summer 2006 collection for Burberry Prorsum. It incorporated 1960s A-line dresses with patent platform shoes, lavish use of gold brocade and a pastel colour palette.

Explore Princess Margaret's unique style:

Childhood
Debutante
The glamour years
Mustique
Millennium
Fashion legacy
Norman Hartnell
What’s on: Princess Line – the fashion legacy of Princess Margaret

 

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