14 Jan 2017

Princess Margaret's ex-husband Lord Snowdon dies

8:44 am on 14 January 2017

Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret's former husband, has died aged 86.

Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret on their wedding day in 1960. The couple divorced 18 years later.

Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret on their wedding day in 1960. The couple divorced 18 years later. Photo: AFP

The renowned photographer and film maker died peacefully at his home on Friday, according to his picture agency Camera Press.

Lord Snowdon married Princess Margaret on 6 May 1960 but they separated after 16 years of marriage and the divorce was finalised in 1978.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen had been informed.

Born Antony Armstrong-Jones, Snowdon photographed famous faces including Diana, Princess of Wales, Jack Nicholson and Elizabeth Taylor during his career.

His subjects were often the rich and famous, but he also had a hand in design - co-creating an aviary for London Zoo and inventing an electric wheelchair.

He was married twice, to Princess Margaret for 18 years and to BBC researcher Lucy Mary Lindsay-Hogg between 1978 to 2000.

Lord Snowdon was a talented film maker and photographer whose marriage to Princess Margaret fed the gossip columns for over a decade.

His career was punctuated by lurid tales of extra-marital affairs, alcohol and drugs, but throughout it all he maintained a close contact with the Royal Family.

His body of photographic work featured the cream of British society, although he was usually dismissive about his work.

He was most proud of the stunning aviary he helped design for London Zoo.

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the Queen was "saddened" by the news. He added that Lord Snowdon had been ill for some time.

Antony Armstrong-Jones was the son of barrister Ronald Armstrong-Jones QC and Anne Messel, who went on to become the Countess of Rosse.

He was educated at Sandroyd School, Salisbury, and then Eton, before heading to Jesus College, Cambridge, to study natural history. He switched to architecture after only 10 days but he eventually embarked on a career as a photographer after failing his second year exams.

During his career he also photographed actors and actresses for theatre publicity shots, including Laurence Olivier and Marlene Dietrich.