Play­boy-pho­tog­ra­pher wed sis­ter of Queen Elizabeth

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - IN MEMORY - By Robert D. McFad­den

Antony Arm­strong-Jones, the dapper pho­tog­ra­pher who be­came the Earl of Snowdon af­ter he mar­ried Princess Mar­garet, the sis­ter of Queen Elizabeth II, in 1960 and plunged into a life of priv­i­leges, par­ties, quar­rels and in­fi­deli­ties that ended in di­vorce 18 years later, died Fri­day at his home in London. He was 86.

His death was con­firmed by Buck­ing­ham Palace.

Tony, as his friends called him, flouted con­ven­tions, flunked out of Cam­bridge and used his London stu­dio for por­trait sit­tings and par­ties. He was a tal­ented pho­tog­ra­pher whose pic­tures of roy­alty and world celebri­ties were widely pub­lished and hang in mu­se­ums and na­tional gal­leries.

He was also an am­bi­tious, charm­ing wom­an­izer who was re­ported to have fa­thered two chil­dren out of wed­lock, in­clud­ing one while court­ing Princess Mar­garet. He took her of­fi­cial por­trait in 1958, and they con­nected again at a din­ner party and be­gan a se­cret af­fair.

It was not an aus­pi­cious be­gin­ning. She was heart­bro­ken, hav­ing been in love for years with a World War II fly­ing ace, Group Capt. Peter Townsend, 16 years her el­der and the di­vorced fa­ther of two. The royal fam­ily, the gov­ern­ment and the Church of Eng­land had for­bid­den a mar­riage. And not long af­ter she learned the cap­tain would marry an­other woman, the princess ac­cepted Arm­strong-Jones’ pro­posal.

On May 6, 1960, the 30-year-old com­moner and the 29-year-old younger daugh­ter of the late King Ge­orge VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, were mar­ried by the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury in a re­gal cer­e­mony be­fore 2,000 guests in West­min­ster Abbey and a global tele­vi­sion au­di­ence of 300 mil­lion.

They moved into Kens­ing­ton Palace and set­tled into a bi­fur­cated life, join­ing the royal fam­ily at Wind­sor Cas­tle and on trips to Scot­land, but also par­ty­ing with an en­tourage of bo­hemian artists, mu­si­cians and show-busi­ness celebri­ties.

When the princess be­came preg­nant, the prospect of an un­ti­tled heir ne­ces­si­tated a peer­age for Arm­strong-Jones, who in Oc­to­ber 1961 was dubbed Earl of Snowdon and Vis­count Lin­ley of Ny­mans in the County of Sus­sex.

A month later a son, David Al­bert Charles, Vis­count Lin­ley, was born on Nov. 3, 1961. A se­cond child, Lady Sarah Arm­strong-Jones, was born on May 1, 1964.

By the late 1960s there were nasty pub­lic quar­rels be­tween the cou­ple, and talk of a breakup.

In 1976 they for­mally sep­a­rated af­ter a pho­to­graph of the princess with a younger man who had been her com­pan­ion for sev­eral years gen­er­ated a scan­dal. Di­vorce fol­lowed in 1978. The princess never re­mar­ried and died in 2002 af­ter a se­ries of strokes.

Months af­ter the di­vorce, Snowdon mar­ried Lucy Mary Lind­say-Hogg. Seven months later their only child, Frances Arm­strongJones, was born. The cou­ple broke up in 2000 af­ter it was dis­closed that Snowdon had fa­thered a son with Me­lanie Ca­ble-Alexan­der, an edi­tor.

ANTONY Charles Robert Arm­strong-Jones was born in London on March 7, 1930, to Ron­ald and Anne Mes­sel Arm­strong-Jones. His fa­ther was a bar­ris­ter and queen’s coun­sel, the high­est rank of a trial lawyer, from which judges are usu­ally se­lected.

At Je­sus Col­lege, Cam­bridge, he stud­ied ar­chi­tec­ture and was an en­thu­si­as­tic pho­tog­ra­pher and row­ing coxswain but failed his ex­am­i­na­tions and was ex­pelled in 1951.

With school and fam­ily con­nec­tions, he was ap­pren­ticed to a court pho­tog­ra­pher and es­tab­lished his own stu­dio.

His imag­i­na­tive por­traits of so­ci­ety fig­ures, like light­hearted dowa­gers, ap­peared in Tatler. He be­came pop­u­lar in fash­ion­able cir­cles. In

1956 he made a por­trait of the Duke of Kent and soon be­came a court pho­tog­ra­pher, tak­ing pic­tures of the royal fam­ily for birth­days and other oc­ca­sions.

More than 100 Arm­strongJones pho­to­graphs are in the per­ma­nent col­lec­tions of the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery in London.

AP / 1975

An­thony Arm­strong-Jones ———

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