Friday, January 13, 2017

Death of the Earl of Snowdon (1930-2017)

The Earl of Snowdon "has died peacefully at his home:, reports the BBC.  He was 86 years old.

Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones was born at London on March 7 1930, the only son of Ronald Armstrong-Jones, a barrister and his first wife, Anne Messel, who later married the Earl of Rosse.

He was educated privately at Sandroyd School and Eton.  He attended Jesus College at Cambridge University, where he studied architecture.  As he failed his exams, he did not receive a degree.

He became in photography, especially fashion and theater, after he left university. His big break as a portrait photographer came in the late 1950s, when he was asked to take official photographs of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.  He also took photographs of the young Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

It was through mutual friends that Armstrong-Jones met Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's younger sister.  They became engaged in February 1960, and were married on May 6, 1960 at Westminster Abbey.

The couple resided in a large apartment at Kensington Palace (now the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their family).   On October 6, 1961, Queen Elizabeth bestowed on her brother-in-law, the titles Earl of Snowdon and Viscount Linley of Nymans.   Princess Margaret was expecting her first child at the time, and the child would have been styled as Miss or Master Christian name Armstrong-Jones if her husband did not have a title.

The Queen was not going to create her sister's children as royals so she created an earldom for Armstrong-Jones.   Margaret gave birth to a son, David Albert Charles on November 3, 1961.  He was styled as Viscount Linley.  A daughter, Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth Armstrong-Jones was born on May 1, 1964.

Lord Snowdon's marriage to Princess Margaret was dissolved by divorce in 1978.   Not long after he received his divorce.  Lord Snowdon married Lucy Mary Lindsay-Hogg (nee Davies).  They had one child , Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones, who was born on July 17, 1979.

Since 2000, Lord and Lady Snowdon lived largely separate lives after it was revealed that Lord Snowdon was the father of a son, Jasper William Oliver Cable-Alexander, born April 30, 1998), whose mother, Melanie, was an editor at Country Life.

He received a Life Peerage, Baron Armstrong-Jones of Nymans in November 1999, which allowed him to keep his seat in the GHouse of Lords, after the hereditary peers were excluded.  Lord Snowdon retired from the Lords in 2015.

He is survived by his five children,  Polly Fry, who was conceived shortly before his marriage to Princess Margaret,  Lord Linley, Lady Sarah Chatto, Lady Frances von Hofmannsthal, and Jasper Cable-Alexander, and at least seven grandchildren,  the Hon Charles Armstrong-Jones, the Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones,  Samuel Chatto, Arthur Chatto, Rex, Maud and Sybvuil von Hofmannsthal.

Polly was born on May 28, 1960, just three weeks after Armstrong-Jones married Princess Margaret.  Camilla Grinling was married to Jeremy Fry, a member of the Fry Chocolate dynasty, at the time of her affair.  She has five daughters from her marriage to Barnaby Higson.   A DNA test confirmed Lord Snowdon's paternity although it took him four years to acknowledge Polly as his biological daughter.

Lord Snowdon's son, Viscount Linley, succeeds as the 2nd Earl of Snowdon.   The Hon. Charles Armstrong-Jones becomes Viscount Linley, and Margarita sheds the Hon. to become The Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones.  These styles will not be used until after Lord Snowdon's funeral.   Until then, David remains styled as Viscount or Lord Linley.


Amanda said...

RIP. Best wishes to his children.

Marion Banks-Wilkinson said...

All rather sad isnt it? too much money and not enough to do.

Michelle said...

Marlene, do you know how things were between him and the royals after the divorce?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Good relations .. took royal photos. Queen Mother liked him.

James Licklider said...

Any word on when the funeral is going to be held.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Not yet, James. Most likely will be private with a public memorial service to be announced later