Juno Temple to play Princess Margaret: The royal rebel

Drinking, smoking and men - the Queen's late younger sister Princess Margaret was no wallflower. Now rising star Juno Temple will portray the young royal in Girls' Night Out, a fictionalised story of how the two princesses bolted from Buckingham Palace to celebrate the end of World War II with commoners.

Described as a story of "romance and danger", the film also stars Alexandra Roach, who played a young Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, as the Queen and is due for release this year.

So why is Princess Margaret to fascinating?


She was just 22 when she brought scandal to Buckingham Palace by announcing that she was in love with a divorced commoner 16 years her elder, Group Captain Peter Townsend. She wanted to marry Townsend, but with her big sister about to become Queen, this was strongly discouraged. Instead she wed photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, (later Earl of Snowdon) in 1960. It was not a happy union and Margaret reportedly indulged in several affairs before the couple divorced in 1978.


A heavy smoker and drinker, the princess liked to party. After acquiring a sizeable plot on the private Caribbean island of Mustique as a wedding present - as you do - the Princess organised opulent gatherings for high-fliers outside the usual aristocratic circles, including celebrities and entrepreneurs. Mick Jagger was a regular visitor and rumoured japes included skinny dipping, intimate beachside dalliances and consumption of illicit substances.

Pushing Boundaries

She was the original "cougar", falling in love with Roddy Llewellyn, a man 17 years her junior while she was still married. While the Duchess of Cambridge's topless shots caused a stir last year, snaps of Margaret in her swimsuit with Llewellyn were splashed across the News of the World in the early 70s. Her antics saw her branded a "floosie" by Labour MPs (this was the 70s). Before Victoria Beckham was dubbed "too posh to push", Princess Margaret chose to have both her children by elective Caesarian section in the 60s. She wore glamorous, low-cut dresses, experimented with fashion and was dubbed the "Serene Highness" for her reportedly cutting remarks. Her friend Gore Vidal said of her: "She was far too intelligent for her station in life."

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Words: Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex Features