Anthony Armstrong Jones
- Category : Photographer
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 5/2 - Heretical / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Dominion 1
British photographer who gained the title of Lord Snowdon when he married Princess Margaret in 1960. The marriage lasted for 15 years and produced two kids. He continued to work as a photographer after the marriage. While on a BBC documentary assignment in 1974, Armstrong-Jones met Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, age 33; they married in December 1978.
His parents, Ronald and Anne, were considered prominent commoners. His dad was descended from landed gentry form North Wales. His folks divorced in 1934 but his mom strengthened his connection to the aristocracy by marrying an Irish peer, the Sixth Earl of Rosse. At 8 he was sent away to school, and at 13 entered Eton. He was a poor student but as a teenager, while recovering from polio, he discovered photography to pass the time. The disease left the slight 5 ft. 5 in. photographer with just a trace of a limp.
In 1948 he enrolled at Cambridge University to study architecture but was expelled after barely two years for failing his exams. Photography won out over studying. Moving to London, he used his family connections to get an apprenticeship with the renowned court photographer Baron Bahum. In less than a year he had his own studio where he specialized in shooting lighthearted portraits of society types that delighted the public. Energetic, imaginative and charming, Armstrong-Jones quickly became the favorite photographer of London's elite. In 1958 he was appointed as official court photographer. While shooting London's elite, he was taking shots of what he really loved to shoot - candid snaps of neighborhood life. Such pictures were published to critical praise in 1958 and 15 or so more books would follow over the years, including "Private View," 1965, "Sittings," 1983 and "Stills," 1987.
Armstrong-Jones may have first met Princess Margaret in his role as court photographer, but their first recorded social meeting was at a formal dinner party in early 1958. Both were clever, rebellious risk-takers, and they hit it off immediately. They partied with the likes of Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland, Mick Jagger, and the Aga Khan, apparently with the approval of the Queen Mother. When the announcement came that Princess Margaret would wed a commoner it caused a sensation. Many ordinary Britons celebrated while the aristocracy were scandalized by his mother's Jewish heritage and rumors of his numerous love affairs with both men and women. They married in Westminster Abbey on 6 May 1960 in a dazzling spectacle that he orchestrated. The following year he became Earl of Snowdon and Viscount Linley, agreeing to take royal titles so that their kids wouldn't be commoners. Their son David, Viscount Linley, was born in November 1961 and Lady Sarah in May 1964.
Anxious to resume his career as a photographer he chafed under the restriction of palace life and the demands of his imperious princess. Their increasingly vicious fights shocked their friends and by the early 1970s they were living separate lives. Both engaged in extramarital affairs, but it was Margaret who got caught in public in 1976. The papers published photos of her vacationing in the Caribbean with her lover, a handsome gardener cum pop singer named Roddy Llewellyn who was 17 years her junior. Snowdon took advantage of the situation and officially separated from her, demanding a divorce. Queen Elizabeth had no choice but to agree to the separation bit it was not until 1978 that the divorce was final. They became the first members of the immediate British royal family in modern times to be divorced.
That same year, Snowdon married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, who was pregnant with their child. Despite the scandal, he remained on friendly terms with the Windsor's and was especially well liked by the Queen Mother and Prince Charles.
Snowdon remained as the royal photographer and two of the five portraits of the late Princess Diana that appear on her commemorative memorial stamps are by him. Still energetic, he again caused a scandal in 1998 when it was revealed that he'd fathered a love child with Melanie Cable-Alexander, an editor at England's "Country Life" magazine. He later separated from his wife, Lucy.
In the 1990s he won acclaim for his sensitive studies of Britain's underprivileged and disabled community - a group he'd felt connected to since his own battle with polio.
Lord Snowdon died peacefully at his home in Kensington on 13 January 2017, aged 86.