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Photography inspired him, and launched his career; it would perhaps be too easy to say that it was also an art which demanded the least effort, and made best use of his social connections.Having left Cambridge degreeless, his career was generously funded by his father.She called it “the little white roomö, a refuge overlooked by swans. They called each other “pet” and “love”; but violet-tinted lavatory paper appeared in the bathroom, and other friends of Armstrong-Jones thought the “informal” evenings in Docklands were in fact “rather stilted and stiff”. It was “sex, sex, sex”, said one, adding that he was a “well-made” man.The Queen’s sister relished the naughtiness of it all – “Disobedience is my joy”, as she told Jean Cocteau. Later that year, Armstrong-Jones photographed the Princess for her 29th birthday.He was fun to be with – he always made you feel you were the most important person…” From one kind of theatre, Armstrong-Jones moved onto another, that of royalty, photographing the Queen’s children – and her sister.His appeal to the Princess was clear – an attractively freelance character, free of the restrictions under which she toiled. “I wonder how Lady Rosse likes her son to be referred to as ‘working class’,” Osbert Sitwell wrote to Lady Aberconway.
Unlike her other suitors – the “witless wonders” – he was a modern man, dressed in hip-hugging slacks, suede shoes, rollneck jumpers; fair, blue-eyed, lean, a diminutive figure prowling London in pursuit of subjects, camera clasped in his fist.And I remember sitting behind Lord Snowdon, as he then was, at a first night of Noel Coward’s Brought up at Plas Dinas, the Caernarvonshire family home, Armstrong-Jones went up to Eton – only for his teenage years to be blighted by the terrifying disease of polio.While he was in hospital, Uncle Oliver – in many ways an alternative father figure to Armstrong-Jones – brought some distinguished visitors: Noel Coward, and Marlene Dietrich, who sang “Boys in the Backroom” to him.On 20 February 1958, at Lady Elizabeth Cavendish’s house in Cheyne Walk, HRH Princess Margaret met Anthony Armstrong-Jones. In the wake of her frustrated, if not infamous relationship with Group Captain Peter Townsend, the glamorous princess was widely seen as “in need of a man”.
Although of an aristocratic background himself, Armstrong-Jones was a photographer and a bohemian, an advance guard of what would be known as the Swinging Sixties.“Artificiality and superficiality are abhorrent to him,” claimed a His quick-witted mercurial personality has enabled him to charm his way into many forbidden territories and overcome the most formidable opposition to get the pictures he wanted…his energy, which is boundless, is all poured into his work …He prefers to dress informally, but discreetly; he moves quickly and likes to drive his car at high speeds…He is addicted to mimickry…He seldom begins a telephone talk in his own voice ... His own views are always emphatic and inclined to be youthfully impetuous …Here he could play swinging bachelor, a precursor of Warren Beatty in .