Arts & Culture

The Beginnings of Princess Margaret's Divorce Will Play a Role in Season Three of The Crown

Is it technically a spoiler if it's decades-old history?
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Season two of The Crown chronicled Princess Margaret's lasting heartache over Peter Townsend and her passionate romance with photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, a relationship which burned bright, but was not built to last. Because of that, season three of the series will delve into the deterioration of their marriage.

"We’re now writing season three," the show's history consultant Robert Lacey told me while discussing his new book, The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1 back in 2017.

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"And in season three, without giving anything away—it’s on the record, it’s history—we’ll see the breakup of this extraordinary marriage between Margaret and Snowdon. This season, you see how it starts, and what a strange character, a brilliant character Snowden was."

The timeline makes sense. Show creator Peter Morgan is sticking to roughly a decade per season, with season two running through 1964, and featuring Margaret's wedding.

By 1976, Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon had separated after years of infidelity on both sides.

"Margaret's template of marriage was quite different from Tony's," Snowdon's biographer Anne de Courcy previously said. "He had parents who split, while her parents' and sister's marriage were very happy. She expected her husband to be with her more, but one of Tony's strongest motivations was work. He had a workshop in the basement of Kensington Palace, and while she was understanding of his work commitments, Margaret didn't realize it would take him away from her so much."

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They eventually divorced in 1978, marking the first royal divorce since King Henry VIII's in 1540.

Kensington Palace announced the split in a statement in 1978. "Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and the Earl of Snowdon, after two years of separation, have agreed that their marriage should be formally ended. Accordingly, Her Royal Highness will start the necessary legal proceedings," it read.

Despite the end of their marriage, Margaret and Snowdon did remain close throughout the rest of their lives.

"They always maintained a solid friendship, once the bitterness of the divorce was over," de Courcy said.

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Princess Margaret and her family in 1964
Photo by FOX PHOTOS. GETTY IMAGES.

Thus far, Princess Margaret has been played on The Crown by Vanessa Kirby, and Matthew Goode will portray Armstrong-Jones in season two, but in the show's next chapter, the Queen's sister will be played by Helena Bonham Carter, and her husband by Ben Daniels.

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Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Daniels as Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon in Season 3 of 'The Crown.'
Photo by DES WILLIE.

"[They’re] completely addicted to each other," Daniels has said of Margaret and Snowdon. "Even right up until the minute they were getting divorced, they still had a really strong physical relationship. People often said that it was like foreplay for them, having a big row. They would have these huge rows and then amazing sex."

Expect season three to be as royally dramatic as ever.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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