Season two of Netflix’s The Crown told the story of one of the royal family’s most scandalous photos, but how much of it is true and how much was made up for the story?
While The Crown mostly focuses on Queen Elizabeth II and her rise and reign as monarch, it also goes into details of the other royals. One of them is naturally her sister, Princess Margaret.
In episode four, the audience is given an inside look at Margaret’s romance and eventual marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones, a photographer that treated Margaret like a woman rather than a royal. Their budding relationship naturally took an intimate turn, with Armstrong eventually taking personal photos of Margaret in a pose that made it seem like she was nude.
In reality, she had just slipped the straps of her dress and the photo was taken from the shoulders up, so to any onlooker, it would appear as though the Princess were naked.
The picture sparked a scandal for 1960’s England and made all the major newspapers. But how much of it was actually as depicted on the show, and how much of it was imagined by the director?
To start, the photograph is definitely real, and Antony Armstrong-Jones definitely took it. Margaret herself sent it to The Times of London, which was then circulated amongst all the major media outlets at the time.
But the time itself wasn’t actually when it was depicted in The Crown. The episode features the photograph being taken in May of 1960 when it was actually taken in 1967 after Margaret and Armstrong-Jones were already married with two children.
The show also takes creative license as to how the two met. The show made it seem like one of Margaret’s ladies-in-waiting introduced the pair, when in reality Armstrong-Jones was already well known to the royal family, having been their photographer for several years. Margaret and Armstrong-Jones began a relationship in secret and only revealed it after becoming engaged in February of 1960.
That scandal would also pale in comparison to the later scandal that would end Margaret and Armstrong’s marriage in divorce. Lord Snowdon, Armstrong’s royal title, was infamously libidinous and had multiple affairs during their marriage, most famously the alleged threesome between Snowdon and Jeremy and Camilla Fry.
Camilla’s daughter Polly was proven to be born of Armstrong in a DNA test in 2004.