A Princess and Her Photog: How the Bloom Faded

18-year marriage had an auspicious start
By Victoria Floethe,  Newser User
Posted Jan 12, 2009 6:43 PM CST

(Newser) – Princess Margaret thrilled Britain in 1960 by marrying a dashing photographer—the first commoner to marry a monarch's daughter in 400 years. As Lord Snowdon, he navigated the perils of royal life while hosting parties with Margaret for London's jet set crowd of actors and writers. But Snowdon and the princess "were both center-stage people, and only one person can occupy the center at any given moment,” said one friend.

"The Princess was royal, but Tony was magnetic, and wittier," writes Anne De Courcy, in a new biography of Snowdon excerpted in Vanity Fair. "There were arguments and, more ominously, the beginning of the put-downs." With two children, they hid behind a merry mask while Snowdon holed up in his work and Margaret became increasingly possessive of him. Finally, in 1978, she divorced him, confirming an early warning of a Snowdon friend: "Never was there a more ill-fated assignment.”