If you’ve been engrossed by The Crown – and in particular, Vanessa Kirby’s entrancing, nuanced portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister, Princess Margaret – there’s a new programme that you need to add to your ‘to watch’ list.
The BBC has confirmed that it is working on a two-part documentary chronicling the life (and loves) of the late Countess of Snowdon, with intimate interviews and contributions from many who knew her before her death in 2002.
‘This compelling two-part series profiles Princess Margaret, whose life and loves reflected the social and sexual revolution that transformed Britain during the 20th Century,’ the BBC confirmed in a press release. ‘With sumptuous archive, engaging animated illustrations and a series of revealing interviews with close friends, personal staff, historians and biographers, the series follows Margaret’s life as she re-defined our image of the modern princess.’
Princess Margaret became second in line to the throne behind her sister at the age of just six, when her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated to marry divorcée Wallis Simpson, and her father George VI became King. After the Second World War, she herself fell in love with Group Captain Peter Townsend, who at the time was married with children, but he was viewed to be an unsuitable husband for someone of her position.
She later wed Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was made Earl of Snowdon by Elizabeth, and the pair had two children, David and Sarah. However, the couple’s marriage ended in divorce in 1978.
Contributors for the BBC’s ‘deeply personal’ account of her life will include childhood friend Lady Anne Glenconner, who later became Margaret’s lady in waiting; Basil Charles, the owner of a bar on the Caribbean island of Mustique who met the Princess in the 1970s; and authorised biographer Christopher Warwick.
‘She was a trailblazer, she was a little bit of a rebel. She wanted to have the [royal] life but she also wanted to have a normal life,’ said Basil to the programme.
The show is one of several new historical BBC Two commissions arriving on our screens over the next few months, with others focusing on areas as diverse as the history of iconic products and crafts to the Windrush scandal.
Simon Young, Commissioning Editor, History at the channel commented: ‘These titles show the breadth, depth and vitality of history at the BBC. From the astonishing impact of individual struggles for justice on our legal system, to the richness of Britain’s industrial heritage, they also signal a desire to offer our audiences powerful insight into the profound and subtle ways in which history shapes the world we live in today.’
The Princess Margaret documentary will air on BBC Two this autumn