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Antony Charles Robert Armstrong Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon GCVO FRSA RDI (7 March 1930- 13 January 2017) was a British photographer and filmmaker who married Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom, the younger daughter of King George VI and younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II.


Early Life[]

Antony was the only son that Ronald Armstrong-Jones and his first wife Anne Messel had together. His father was a Welsh barrister and his mother later became the Countess of Rosse. Antony was born at Eaton Terrace, Belgravia in London. He was often called Tony by close relatives.

Antony’s paternal grandfather was Sir Robert Armstrong-Jones, the British psychiatrist and physician. His paternal grandmother, Margaret Armstrong-Jones was a graduate of Somerville College, Oxford and the daughter of Sir Owen Roberts, a Welsh educationalist. On his mother’s side, Antony was of German and Jewish descent.

Antony’s parents were divorced in early 1935 just before his fifth birthday. His mother remarried later that same year. When he was a school boy, Antony contracted polio while vacationing at the family’s country home in Wales. During his six months recuperating at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, he was only visited by his sister Susan.

Education[]

Antony was educated at two private boarding schools, the first being Sandroyd School between 1938 to 1943.

Antony later attended Eton College beginning in the autumn of 1943. By March 1945, Antony qualified in the “extra special weight” class of the school boxing finals. He continued boxing in 1946 and received praises in the Eton College Chronicle. In 1947, he was a coxswain and Eton’s traditional “Fourth of June” Daylight Procession of Boats.

Antony later enrolled at the University of Cambridge and he studied architecture at Jesus College but failed his second year exams. He later coaxed the winning Cambridge boats in the 1950 boat race.

Life and Career[]

Following his time at University, Antony began a career as a photographer in fashion, design and theater. Baron the photographer was impressed with Antony‘s work and brought him on as an apprentice initially on a fee paying basis but eventually Barron paid him as a salaried associate.

Antony’s early commissions were theatrical portraits, often getting recommendations from his uncle Oliver Messel. He later became known for his Royal studies, one of which was the official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh for their 1957 tour of Canada.

By the early 1960s, Antony became the artistic advisor of the Sunday Times Magazine and by the 1970s was established as one of Great Britain’s most respected photographers. His photography work ranged from the fashion industry to documenting the lives of people in inner cities and the mentally ill. Some of his best known portraits were of people such as; Marlene Dietrich, Lawrence Olivier, David Bowie, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Diana, Princess of Wales, Raine Spencer when she was Lady Lewisham, amongst others.

Antony, in 1968, had made his first documentary film, Don’t Count the Candles, for the US television network CBS on the subject of aging. The documentary won seven awards including two Emmys. He made a number of other documentaries such as Love of a Kind (1969) about the British and animals, and Born to be small (1971) about people of restricted growth, and Happy being happy (1973).

Antony was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and he was awarded the Hood Medal of the Society in 1978 in the Progress Medal in 1985.

Designs and inventions

Alongside Frank Newbie and Cedric Price in 1963, Antony codesigned the “Snowdon Aviary“ of the London zoo which opened in 1965. Antony later stated it was one of his proudest creations and affectionately called it the “birdcage”. Antony also had a major role in designing the physical arrangements for the 1969 investiture of his nephew Prince Charles as The Prince of Wales. In 1971, Antony was granted a patent for a type of electric wheelchair.

Philanthropy and charity[]

During his marriage to Princess Margaret, Antony was the patron of the National Youth Theatre, the Contemporary Art Society for Wales, the Welsh Theatre Company,  the Civic Trust for Wales, as well as the president of the British Theatre Museum.

In June 1980, Antony started an award for disabled students which was administered by the Snowden Trust and provides grants and scholarships for students with disabilities.

In the 1960s, Antony served as a councilmember of the Polio Research Fund. He was also a trustee of the National Fund for Research in crippling diseases. In 1981, Antony was the president for England of the International Year of Disabled Persons. Between 1995 and 2003, he was a provost of the Royal College of Art.

Personal life[]

Antony was married twice. His first marriage was to Princess Margaret for eighteen years between 1960 and 1978 before the ultimately divorced. His second marriage was to Lucy Lindsay-Hogg for twenty two years from 1978 to 2000 before they separated.

First Marriage[]

Antony became engaged to the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, in February 1960. The couple got married on 6 May 1960 at Westminster Abbey. Their ceremony was the first royal wedding to be broadcast on television. Despite much public enthusiasm, people criticized the fact that a commoner was marrying into the royal family. The couple lived in apartments at Kensington Palace. On 6 October 1961, shortly before the birth of their first child, the Queen granted her brother-in-law the title of Earl of Snowdon with the subsidiary title of Viscount Linley with the style of The Right Honourable. The couple had two children. Their son, David Albert Charles Armstrong-Jones, then styled as Viscount Linley, was born at Clarence House in London on 3 November 1961. There p daughter, Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth Armstrong-Jones was born at Kensington Palace in London on 1 May 1964.

The marriage began falling apart very publicly early on and there have been various speculations on why the marriage started to crumble. On Margaret’s side it was a pension for late night partying, while on Antony’s side it was an undisguised sexual addiction with people speculating that Antony was gay.

The couple remained married for 18 years, throughout the marriage there was drugs, alcohol, and bizarre behavior by both parties with Antony even leaving a list of “things I hate about you“ for Margaret to find in between the pages of books she read. The couple separated in 1976 and ultimately divorced in 1978.

In 2004, The Sunday Telegraph reported that Antony had fathered an illegitimate daughter, Polly Fry (b. 1960), shortly before his marriage to Margaret. Polly had asserted that a DNA test taken in 2004 proved that Antony was her father. Although these claims were denied by Jeremy Fry and Antony, Antony later admitted that the claims were true following Jeremy’s death.

Second Marriage[]

The same year of his divorce, 1978, Antony remarried to Lucy Mary Lindsay-Hogg (née Davies), the ex-wife of Sir Michael Edward Lindsay-Hogg, 5th Baronet on 15 December. Antony’s youngest daughter with Lucy is Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones who was born on 17 July 1979.  Throughout his marriage to Lucy, Antony had an affair with journalist Anne Hills who commited suicide on 31 December 1996.

In 2000, the couple separated when it was revealed that Antony fathered Jasper William Oliver Cable-Alexander (b. 1998) with Melanie Cable-Alexander, an editor at Colony Life Magazine.

Death[]

He died at his home in Kensington on 13 January 2017 at the age of 86.

His funeral took place on 20 January, seven days after his death, at St Baglan’s Church in Llanfaglan in the family plot in the churchyard.

Titles, honours and arms[]

Peerage[]

Antony was granted his earldom following his wedding, he was introduced to the House of Lords as the Earl of Snowdon on 28 February 1962. In 1963, Antony was appointed Constable of Caernarfon Castle and as part of his role he assisted in organizing the Investure of the Prince of Wales in 1969.

On 16 November 1999, Antony was created Baron Armstrong-Jones, which was a life peerage.

Anthony eventually retired from the House of Lords on 31 March 2016.

Awards and honours[]

  • Antony Charles Robert Armstrong Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon GCVO FRSA RDI (7 March 1930- 13 January 2017) was a British photographer and filmmaker who married Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom, the younger daughter of King George VI and younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II.GCVO: Knight Grand Cross the Royal Victorian Order, 7 July 1969
  • Antony Charles Robert Armstrong Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon GCVO FRSA RDI (7 March 1930- 13 January 2017) was a British photographer and filmmaker who married Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom, the younger daughter of King George VI and younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II.He was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's  Progress Medal and an Honorary Fellowship in 1985.

Antony Charles Robert Armstrong Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon GCVO FRSA RDI (7 March 1930- 13 January 2017) was a British photographer and filmmaker who married Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom, the younger daughter of King George VI and younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II.In 1989, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) from the University of Bath.

Antony Charles Robert Armstrong Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon GCVO FRSA RDI (7 March 1930- 13 January 2017) was a British photographer and filmmaker who married Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom, the younger daughter of King George VI and younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II.

In Popular Culture[]

Antony with portrayed by Matthew Goode in season two of the Netflix original series The Crown and by Ben Daniels in season three.

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