Saturday, 14 January 2017

RIP Mr Jones

Yesterday the death was announced of Lord Snowdon - born Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones in 1930. You can read his full obituary on the BBC Website here. In his teens, he developed polio and had to lie flat on his back for a year. His Uncle, theatre designer Oliver Messel, helped alleviate the boredom by arranging for visits from celebrity friends [Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich] and also getting Tony interested in photography.
By the end of the 1950s, Tony was acknowledged as one of the foremost photographers of his generation, taking pictures of the rich and famous.
Through this, he got to meet our Queen's sister, Princess Margaret. Both possessed a strong rebellious streak, and they got engaged, and then were married in 1960.

This is the first "Royal Wedding" I remember - it was so exciting seeing this glamorous princess in her elegant gown. I'd not been at school very long, but avidly read newspaper reports. And wished I could be a royal bridesmaid like Princess Anne [and I pitied Charles and his awful haircut]
Sadly the wedding ended after 18 years and my Mum always maintained that if Margaret had been allowed, back in 1952, to marry her first love [Group Captain Peter Townsend] then life would have been very different for them all. Who knows?
I imagine the media will have much to say over the next few days about the behaviour of Margaret and Tony - they did not always conduct themselves with the decorum expected of Royals. Maybe they wished they could be ordinary 'Mr and Mrs Jones'
But that could never be. After the divorce, Lord Snowdon married again, twice, and had many other relationships - lasting happiness seemed to elude him. But he was undoubtedly very skilled with a camera
Because of his polio, he was trouble by a limp for the remainder of his life - and did a phenomenal amount to ensure good facilities and proper access for disabled people - including a famous row over the Chelsea Flower Show which resulted in admission for guide dogs, and eventually a purpose built garden for those with mobility issues.

He leaves five children - siblings and half-siblings 

David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl Of Snowdon 
Lady Sarah Chatto
Lady Frances von Hofmannsthal
Jasper Cable-Alexander and Polly Fry


  1. I also remember their magical wedding, and I still think that Princess Margaret's wedding gown, and how she wore her hair with that wonderful diadem (for that is how it was described at the time) were simply stunning. I was 15 at the time and watched our black & white TV the whole of the day, from the ceremony, then the balcony of Buckingham Palace and finally the departure down the River Thames.
    Yes, sad that both of them never seem to find lasting happiness, either with each other or with other people.
    Margaret P

  2. Maybe the fact it was all in black and white on our little old TVs made it seem even more remote and splended. I loved her gown too - 'magical' is a great description of the event.

  3. How interesting! Thank you for the detailed info!


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