Tabloid mania and a divorce: Inside Princess Margaret's affair with Roddy Llewellyn.


The younger sister of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, was always considered the royal rule-breaking rebel.

Just 13 years in to her marriage to Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret, then 46 years old, had an affair with Roddy Llewellyn, a landscaper 17 years her junior. It was the clear catalyst for the first royal divorce in over 400 years.

Now, Netflix’s The Crown has resurfaced the old dramas that have entangled the British monarchy for decades, including Princess Margaret’s controversial affair with her gardener.

You can watch the full trailer for season 3 of The Crown here. Post continues after video. 

Helena Bonham Carter and Harry Treadaway, who play Princess Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn respectively, met the royal’s former lover in preparation for the show.

Speaking to The Times, Bonham Carter reflected on the visit, and shared what Roddy had to say.

“He came to tea with me and Harry [Treadaway], who plays Roddy. He was so fun and warm – that’s what she needed. He’s very musical. He started singing a song in my kitchen,” she recalled.

“He said they found each other just at the right time. They were both very lost, both felt somewhat outsiders, just not quite accepted by the family – or not quite good enough. Her confidence was really undermined by the breakdown of her marriage. He also gave her fun at a time when she hadn’t been having much.”


So what actually happened between the two?

Princess Margaret’s marriage

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Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. Image: Getty.

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones' relationship was royal rule-breaking from the start. It's widely known that Antony, who was the first commoner to marry into the British Royal family in over four centuries, had multiple affairs right up until their engagement.

As The Crown shows, Princess Margaret and husband Lord Snowdon, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, were gifted the Caribbean island of Mustique as a wedding gift in 1960.


The married couple had two children together long before their marriage began to break down. In 1961, Princess Margaret gave birth to their first child, David, royal title Viscount Linley. Their second child, daughter Sarah, was born three years later in 1964.

Lord Snowdon is said to have hated the royal lifestyle within Kensington Palace, particularly Princess Margaret's staff.

Princess Margaret's affair with Roddy Llewellyn

Although this wasn't the first affair Princess Margaret had, it was certainly her most controversial.

Princess Margaret met Roderic Llewellyn in 1973 at a luncheon in Edinburgh. The two soon formed a special bond, and their affair was born.

The New York Times reports that the Queen disapproved of Roderic Llewellyn, reportedly referring to him as "my sister's guttersnipe life".

But contrary to the show's 'fling' depiction of their relationship, the two in fact remained together for eight years.

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Roddy Llewellyn in 1978. Image: Getty.

Their love affair became public knowledge when paparazzi pictures published by tabloid media showed Princess Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn on the Caribbean island in 1976. Mania quickly engulfed Princess Margaret.

Just as The Crown shows, the love affair was the catalyst for Princess Margaret's divorce in 1978.

After an eight year romance and three years following her divorce, Princess Margaret split with Roddy Llewellyn.

In 2002, the same year Princess Margaret died, Llewellyn reflected on his relationship with the royal to the The Telgraph, admitting: "I didn't think about the consequences of such a high-profile affair."

"If we all had crystal balls, we'd all know which horse to back, wouldn't we? I was just following my heart. In Princess Margaret I found a fine friend who could steady my restless nature and offer wise counsel."

Season 3 of The Crown is available to watch on Netflix now.

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