With her snubs and sulks, her fags and booze, her perceived nymphomania and her talent for making people feel uncomfortable, Princess Margaret is the Aunt Sally of modern royal history. The outlines of her story are well known. She was born at Glamis Castle in 1930 in the unlikely presence of the Labour home secretary J R Clynes. When she was six her uncle abdicated and her father became king. Her childhood was traumatised by a sense that her older sister was destined to be very important while she (barring some accident) was not. She was, however, doted on by her father, who spoiled her (she was less close to her mother). His early death was a blow and she drew close to another father figure, the royal equerry Peter Townsend, who reciprocated her romantic feelings. They would have liked to marry, but Townsend was divorced and the court took the view that, if Margaret married him, it would be difficult to continue excluding the Duke of Windsor and his twice-divorced consort from the royal fold. So she unhappily consented to give him up in 1955.
She consoled herself with her life at the centre of a brilliant social set and also enjoyed the delights of bohemia. It was a bohemian she married in 1960: the talented bisexual photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, created Earl of Snowdon. They shared midget dimensions and a snappy repartee, and had a