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Prince Harry's surprising comments on Princess Margaret's 'doomed' marriage behind closed doors

The Queen's sister was married to Antony Armstrong-Jones from 1960 to 1978

Prince Harry walks down road
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
May 2, 2023
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Prince Harry not only opened up about his own relationship with Meghan Markle but also other members of the royal family in his book Spare.

While the Duke of Sussex admitted that he pleaded with his father King Charles not to marry Queen Consort Camilla as he thought it was "unnecessary" and discussed the expectations around Prince William's public wedding with the Princess of Wales, he described his great aunt Princess Margaret's relationship as "doomed."

WATCH: Prince Harry's unexpected comments on Prince William and Princess Kate's wedding

The late Queen Elizabeth II's sister – who became the Countess of Snowdon – exchanged vows with photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones on 6 May 1960, just over two months after the couple announced their surprise engagement.

Speaking of her marriage, which ended in divorce in 1978, Harry wrote: "One hasty marriage, which looked doomed at the outset and ended up being worse than expected. Her husband leaving poisonous notes around the house, scalding lists of things wrong with her. Twenty-four reasons why I hate you!"

Margaret's lady-in-waiting Lady Anne Glenconner also previously revealed Margaret suffered "terrible times" amid her divorce. "She hated the idea of divorce, and resisted for a long time, but I watched as Tony placed her in an impossible position, demeaning her and goading her into making it inevitable.

Princess Margaret and her new husband Antony Armstrong-Jones leave Westminister Abbey after their wedding© Getty
Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960

"The Princess simply concentrated on getting through all manner of upsetting things, knowing that later they would never seem as distressing as they once had. This resolution struck me as a form of true courage," she wrote in her memoir serialised in the Mail.

Before marrying the photographer – with whom she welcomed children David Armstrong-Jones and Lady Sarah Chatto – Margaret was in a relationship with Royal Air Force officer Peter Townsend, the Queen's equerry. After he divorced his wife Rosemary Pawle, Peter and Margaret had planned to tie the knot but encountered problems since divorcees weren't allowed to remarry in the Church of England.

Margaret later released a statement confirming that she had broken off the engagement. "I have been aware that, subject to my renouncing my rights of succession, it might have been possible for me to contract a civil marriage. But mindful of the Church's teachings that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before others.

Princess Margaret in a floral hat next to suit-clad Peter Townsend in 1955© Getty
Princess Margaret called off her engagement to Peter Townsend

"I have reached this decision entirely alone, and in doing so I have been strengthened by the unfailing support and devotion of Group Captain Townsend."

Harry revealed her experience of struggling to marry a divorcee led to fears that he would not be permitted to propose to Meghan Markle, who was married to Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2014.

Detailing a conversation between himself and his private secretary, Ed Lane Fox, nicknamed Elf, he wrote: "A fairly recent relative had been...strongly dissuaded...from marrying the love of their life.


"Your aunt Margaret.


"Yes. She’d wanted to marry a divorcé and...well.


"Elf nodded.

"Oh [expletive], I thought. This might not be a slam dunk."

DISCOVER: King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla to celebrate secret wedding on coronation

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