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MARGARET: THE REBEL PRINCESS

Princess Margaret attending a film premiere in Leicester Square in white fur, London, England, 1951.
Courtesy of Getty / Ron Burton
Princess Margaret attending a film premiere in Leicester Square in white fur, London, England, 1951.

stream or tune in Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020 from 10 p.m. to Midnight on KPBS TV

Stream now with KPBS Passport!

MARGARET: THE REBEL PRINCESS is an insightful two-part biography of Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth’s beautiful and rebellious younger sister.

This new special, featuring rare footage and interviews with those who knew her best, offers unparalleled insight into Margaret’s turbulent life and times.

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Her unique position as the Queen’s younger sister in a changing Britain left her free to experiment and push boundaries, yet she was forever judged by a public and press beginning to question the very idea of a monarchy.

While Margaret often followed the rigid rules under which she was raised, she also stepped outside those rules and into scandal.

A complicated and contradictory princess, her story parallels her era, when the rules of social norms were being rewritten and a freer, more egalitarian society was emerging.

Margaret forged her own way by becoming a rule-breaking trendsetter and an eager participant in the excitement of a swinging 1960s London.

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Princess Margaret (right) with Peter Townsend (left) in South Africa. (undated photo)
Courtesy of Getty / Ullstein Bild
Princess Margaret (right) with Peter Townsend (left) in South Africa. (undated photo)

Her loves were passionate if not always wise, from Peter Townsend, a married aide to her father, to her dashing yet philandering husband Lord Snowden, to the much-younger Roddy Llewellyn.

Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones after the announcement of their engagement, 1960.
Courtesy of Getty / Keystone-France
Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones after the announcement of their engagement, 1960.

But it was her relationship with her sister that was perhaps the most important, the woman against whom she defined herself all her life.

MARGARET: THE REBEL PRINCESS presents new interviews with several of her closest friends including Lady Anne Glenconner, Lady Jane Rayne and Jane Stevens; biographers Christopher Warwick, Craig Brown and Anne de Courcy; journalists Clive Irving of the Daily Express and Doris Bacon of AP and many others.

They reveal Margaret as the first truly modern princess — a superstar who introduced a flash of Hollywood glamour into Buckingham Palace and paved the way for Diana, Kate and Meghan.

A woman yearning for escape in a post-war world eager to shrug its own oppressive constraints, Margaret became a powerful and unpredictable force, reflecting and driving fundamental changes in our attitudes about the monarchy, celebrity, marriage and sex.

“People hold in their heads different ideas about what a princess should be,” said Clive Irving, former features editor of The Daily Express. “There’s the fairy-tale princess, the royal aloof, about whom you know very little. Then there’s the Princess Margaret type who suddenly becomes all too visible or all too human. The ground wasn’t prepared for Margaret in the way it’s been prepared for our current royal princesses. They are the beneficiaries of the suffering and pain that Margaret went through.”

Queen Elizabeth with the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. (undated photo)
Courtesy of Getty / Lisa Sheridan
Queen Elizabeth with the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. (undated photo)

EPISODE GUIDE:

Episode 1 airs Sunday, Nov. 22 at 10 p.m. - Learn how Princess Margaret’s life and loves reflected the social and sexual revolution that transformed the western world during the 20th century, and redefined society’s image of the modern princess.

Episode 2 airs Sunday, Nov. 22 at 11 p.m. - Peek in on Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones at the start of their married life. They’re happy to ride the wave of a cultural and sexual revolution that’s transforming Britain, but a more open society may spell trouble for the monarchy.

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon at the Opera House in London, 1960.
Courtesy of Getty / Stringer
Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon at the Opera House in London, 1960.

Watch On Your Schedule:

Both episodes are available to stream on demand with with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

CREDITS:

Produced and directed by Hannah Berryman, edited by James Gold and executive produced by Chris Granlund. A BBC Worldwide production.

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