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PRINCESS MARGARET’S LOVE ISLAND

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 14 October 2021 | 0 Comments

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14 October 2021
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Its been 20 years since her death, yet Princess Margaret has left her mark on the world, as the dear sister to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the royal who famously loved, lived and laughed with gusto on the beautiful isle of Mustique.  

Princess Margaret went on her first trip abroad in 1947 to South Africa, as part of a State tour with her parents and sister. But, once an adult, Queen Elizabeth's younger sister had the luxury of a regal lifestyle on her own terms. Prince Charles was born in 1948, making Margaret the third-in-line to the throne again. With the birth of Princess Anne in 1950, Margaret was then made fourth after her niece.  Margaret became known for her seductive glamour and beauty and her lively character and love for nightlife and the arts ensured she had a wide circle of friends. 

Margaret adored parties and was soon one of London’s most eligible single women. Princess Margaret and her sister were purportedly very close, but due to their positions in the royal hierarchy, they led entirely different lives. Elizabeth was bound to royal duties, while Margaret was more free to live a life of her own design, complete with lots of socialising and partying. 

When she was in her early 20s, Princess Margaret fell in love with Group Capt. Peter Townsend, a war hero who had served as an equerry to her father. After serving as a pilot in World War II, Peter Townsend worked was a constant presence by the side of King George VI but his role in the royal family's life came at a detriment to his own marriage. He became absent from his own wife and two sons and it soon became apparent that Princess Margaret and Townsend were in love. It became a press rumour but a “gentleman’s agreement” on Fleet Street, where many of the major British news outlets headquarters were located, ensure that the affair was not reported in the national British news. In particular, The Daily Express, a top newspaper at the time, was actively deferential to the royal family in reporting on their affairs in the 1950s. Many press outlets followed suit as to not damage the royal family’s reputation. However, the secret didn’t remain so for long, everything changed when Margaret tenderly removed a piece of lint from Townsend's jacket during Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953. 

The press saw the interaction as a public display of intimacy - and the cat was well and truly out of the bag. Margaret went on to marry playboy Antony Armstrong-Jones, also known as Lord Snowdon, but it was a volatile Union. Armstrong-Jones had affairs with both men and women during his marriage,and fathered a love child that he kept secret. Margaret was unhappy but found the strength to break the mould, according to Biographer Christopher Warwick, by establishing public acceptance of royal divorce and living her own life her own way. She was no Angel, while she was married to Antony Armstrong-Jones, she famously had an affair with Roddy Llewellyn, a landscape gardener "17 years her junior."  

The pair hid their relationship from the public until photos of them swimming together in Mustique in the West Indies (a destination Margaret frequented) were published in 1976. Harper's Bazaar reports that Margaret and Armstrong-Jones got divorced in 1978, and that Margaret and Llewellyn's relationship lasted until 1980. Margaret’s passion for life was equalled by her love of the Caribbean, particularly the exotic island of Mustique. With its striking tropical foliage and stunning sea views, the island didn’t only serve as her romantic hideaway but was also Margaret’s all-time favourite place to spend time, relax and party with friends. 

In the gauzy heyday of Margaret’s most legendary soirées, this most attractive part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines held the reputation for being a hedonistic idyl of the very rich and fabulous, from affluent socialites and nobility to rock stars and a Bohemian artsy crowd. Drinks flowed, joints were rolled and Margaret puffed continually on a cigarette - smoking around 60 on a normal day. Margaret want just a guest, she threw her own VIP gatherings at the home she had built in 1972 and christened Les Jolies Eaux, meaning ‘beautiful waters’. 

It was here, in the whitewashed house that Margaret sought sanctuary from the paparazzis prying eyes. It was the first, and only, house she ever owned and considered home. 

Free from London’s constant scrutiny, Princess Margaret could indulge her whims. As one of only 15 householders on the island, she took her turn to host a drinks bash every evening. Her preferred tipple was whiskey, with Famous Grouse her brand, and Mustique’s well-heeled jet set moved mountains to ensure it was available for her on arrival, flying it in to the three miles long and one and a half mile wide island.

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