The Earl of Snowdon
|Member of the House of Lords|
6 October 1961 – 11 November 1999
as a hereditary peer
|Preceded by||Peerage created|
|Succeeded by||Seat abolished [a]|
16 November 1999 – 31 March 2016 [b]
as a life peer
Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones
7 March 1930
Belgravia, London, England
|Died||13 January 2017 (aged 86)|
Kensington, London, England
|Resting place||St Baglan's Church, Llanfaglan, Wales|
|Alma mater||Jesus College, Cambridge|
Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, Vogue, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, and other major venues; more than 280 of his photographs are in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery.(7 March 1930 – 13 January 2017), was a British photographer and filmmaker. He is best known for his portraits of world notables, many of them published in
He contracted polio as a teenager, which left him with a shortened leg and a limp. As a result, in adulthood, Snowdon was a fierce and tireless campaigner for disabled people, and over several decades achieved dozens of groundbreaking political, economic, structural, transportation, and educational reforms for persons with any type of disability.
Armstrong-Jones was born at Eaton Terrace in Belgravia, central London, the only son of the marriage of the Welsh barrister Ronald Armstrong-Jones (1899–1966) and his first wife, Anne Messel (later Countess of Rosse; 1902–1992). He was called "Tony" by his close relatives.
Armstrong-Jones's paternal grandfather was Sir Robert Armstrong-Jones, a Welsh psychiatrist. His paternal grandmother, Margaret Armstrong-Jones (née Roberts), was a graduate of Somerville College, Oxford, and was the daughter of Sir Owen Roberts, the Welsh educationalist. Armstrong-Jones's mother's family was of German-Jewish descent. A maternal uncle was the stage designer Oliver Messel (1904–1978); a maternal great-grandfather was the Punch cartoonist Linley Sambourne (1844–1910); and his great-great-uncle Alfred Messel was a Berlin architect. Additionally, his great-great-grandmother, Frances Linley, was a first cousin of Elizabeth Linley, wife of Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
As a 16-year-old he contracted polio while on holiday in Wales; during the six months that he was in the Liverpool Royal Infirmary recuperating, the only visitor from his family was his sister Susan. The illness left him with a withered left leg, one inch shorter than the other, and a slight permanent limp.
Armstrong-Jones was educated at two private boarding schools: first at Sandroyd School in Wiltshire from the autumn term of 1938 to 1943. After Sandroyd he attended Eton College, beginning in the autumn term ("Michaelmas half") of 1943. In March 1945, he qualified in the "extra special weight" class of the School Boxing Finals. He continued to box in 1946, gaining at least two flattering mentions in the Eton College Chronicle. In 1947, he was a coxswain in Eton's traditional "Fourth of June" Daylight Procession of Boats.
He then matriculated at the University of Cambridge, where he studied architecture at Jesus College but failed his second-year exams. He coxed the winning Cambridge boat in the 1950 Boat Race.
After university, Armstrong-Jones began a career as a photographer in fashion, design and theatre. His stepmother had a friend who knew Baron the photographer; Baron visited Armstrong-Jones in his London flat, which doubled as his work studio. Baron, impressed, agreed to bring on Armstrong-Jones as an apprentice, first on a fee-paying basis but eventually, as his talent and skills became apparent to Baron, as a salaried associate.
Much of his early commissions were theatrical portraits, often with recommendations from his uncle Oliver Messel, and "society" portraits highly favoured in Tatler, which, in addition to buying many of his photographs, gave him byline credit for the captions. He later became known for his royal studies, among which were the official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh during their 1957 tour of Canada. He was also an early contributor to Queen magazine, the magazine owned by his friend Jocelyn Stevens.
As husband of Princess Margaret his first solo public engagement was to present the 1960 National Challenge Trophies for the trade organisation the Photographic Information Council's School Photography competition entries from 200 schools in Britain with active camera clubs, at the opening of an exhibition of the work on 7 December 1960, news of which event was covered in American and Australian newspapers as well as in England.
As the husband of a royal, he was granted the title Earl of Snowdon (Lord Snowdon) in October 1961.
In the early 1960s, Snowdon became the artistic adviser of The Sunday Times Magazine, and by the 1970s had established himself as one of Britain's most respected photographers. Though his work included everything from fashion photography to documentary images of inner-city life and the mentally ill, he is best known for his portraits of world notables, many of them published in Vogue, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times Magazine, and The Sunday Telegraph Magazine. His subjects included Marlene Dietrich, Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Leslie Caron, Lynn Fontanne, David Bowie, Elizabeth Taylor, Rupert Everett, Anthony Blunt, David Hockney, Princess Grace of Monaco, Diana, Princess of Wales, Barbara Cartland, Raine Spencer (when she was Lady Lewisham), Desmond Guinness, British prime minister Harold Macmillan, Iris Murdoch, Tom Stoppard, Vladimir Nabokov, and J. R. R. Tolkien. More than 280 of his photographs are in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery.
In 1968, he made his first documentary film, Don't Count the Candles, for the US television network CBS, on the subject of aging. It won seven awards, including two Emmys. This was followed by Love of a Kind (1969), about the British and animals, Born to Be Small (1971) about people of restricted growth and Happy Being Happy (1973).
In October 1981, a group portrait by Snowdon of the British rock band Queen was used on the cover of their Greatest Hits album. A Snowdon portrait of Freddie Mercury was used in 2000 on the cover of Mercury's compilation box set The Solo Collection.
In 2000, Snowdon was given a retrospective exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Photographs by Snowdon: A Retrospective, which travelled to the Yale Center for British Art the following year. More than 180 of his photographs were displayed in an exhibition that honoured what the museums called "a rounded career with sharp edges".
Designs and inventions
Snowdon co-designed (in 1963, with Frank Newby and Cedric Price) the "Snowdon Aviary" of the London Zoo (which opened in 1964); he later said it was one of his creations of which he was most proud, and affectionately called it the "birdcage". He also had a major role in designing the physical arrangements for the 1969 investiture of his nephew Prince Charles as Prince of Wales.
Philanthropy and charity
During his royal marriage, he was patron of the National Youth Theatre, the Contemporary Art Society for Wales, the Welsh Theatre Company, and the Civic Trust for Wales. He was also President of the British Theatre Museum.
In the 1960s he served as a council member of the Polio Research Fund, later renamed the National Fund for Research into Crippling Diseases. He served as a trustee of the National Fund for Research into Crippling Diseases, since renamed Action Medical Research.
In June 1980, Snowdon started an award scheme for disabled students. This scheme, administered by the Snowdon Trust, provides grants and scholarships for students with disabilities. He was president for England of the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981.
In February 1960, Snowdon, then known as Antony Armstrong-Jones, became engaged to the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret, and they married on 6 May 1960 at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony was the first royal wedding to be broadcast on television. Despite the enthusiasm of the public, some critics disapproved of a commoner marrying into the royal family. The couple made their home in apartments at Kensington Palace. He was created Earl of Snowdon and Viscount Linley, of Nymans in the County of Sussex, on 6 October 1961. The couple had two children: David, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, born 3 November 1961, and Lady Sarah, born 1 May 1964.
The marriage began to collapse early and publicly; various causes may have been behind the failure. On Margaret's end there was her penchant for late-night partying, while on Snowdon's part there was his undisguised sexual addiction ("'If it moves, he'll have it', was the summing-up of one close friend"). Anne de Courcy, in her 2008 authorised biography, writes "'[T]o most of the girls who worked in the Pimlico Road studio, there seemed little doubt that Tony was gay'. To which Tony responds: 'I didn't fall in love with boys – but a few men have been in love with me.'" De Courcy reveals a series of affairs with women, including a 20-year relationship with his mistress Ann Hills, and that Snowdon did not deny that he was bisexual.
In his 2009 memoir, Redeeming Features, British interior designer Nicky Haslam claimed that he had an affair with Snowdon before the latter's marriage to Princess Margaret and that Snowdon had also been the lover of Tom Parr, another leading interior designer.
The couple remained married for eighteen years. "They were both pretty strong-willed and accustomed to having their own way, so there were bound to be collisions", according to de Courcy. His work also consumed a great deal of time. "She expected her husband to be with her more, but one of Tony's strongest motivations was work." The marriage was accompanied by drugs, alcohol, and bizarre behaviour by both parties, such as his leaving lists of "things I hate about you" for the princess to find between the pages of books she read. According to biographer Sarah Bradford, one note read: "You look like a Jewish manicurist and I hate you". According to biographer de Courcy, "Most people, including the Royal Family, took his side."
When high society palled for Snowdon, he would escape to a hideaway cottage with his lovers or on overseas photographic assignments. Among Snowdon's lovers in the late 1960s was Lady Jacqueline Rufus-Isaacs, daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Reading. In spite of her own affairs, Margaret was said to be particularly upset when hearing about this woman. They separated in 1976, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1978.
In 2004, The Sunday Telegraph reported that Snowdon had fathered an illegitimate daughter shortly before marrying Princess Margaret. Polly Fry, born on 28 May 1960 in the third week of Lord Snowdon's marriage to Princess Margaret, was brought up as a daughter of Jeremy Fry, inventor and member of the Fry's chocolate family, and his wife Camilla. Polly Fry asserted that a DNA test in 2004 proved Snowdon's paternity. Jeremy Fry rejected her claim, and Snowdon denied having taken a DNA test. However, four years later, after Fry had died, Snowdon admitted that this account was true.
After his divorce from Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon married Lucy Mary Lindsay-Hogg (née Davies), the former wife of Sir Michael Lindsay-Hogg, 5th Baronet, in December 1978. In 1979 they had a daughter, Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones, who became a designer and board member of the Snowdon Trust. In 2006 Frances married Rodolphe von Hofmannsthal, the great-grandson of Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
From 1976 until 1996, Snowdon also had a mistress, journalist Ann Hills. She died by suicide on 31 December 1996.
Snowdon and Lucy Lindsay-Hogg separated in 2000 after the revelation that in 1998 Snowdon had fathered a son, Jasper William Oliver Cable-Alexander, by Melanie Cable-Alexander, an editor at Country Life magazine.
Lord Snowdon died peacefully at his home in Kensington on 13 January 2017, aged 86. His funeral took place on 20 January at St Baglan's Church in the remote village of Llanfaglan near Caernarfon. He was buried in the family plot in the churchyard.
Snowdon authored and curated a book of his own photographs, entitled Snowdon: A Life in View. It was edited by his daughter Lady Frances von Hofmannsthal. Graydon Carter wrote the foreword and Patrick Kinmonth wrote the introduction. Tom Ford is listed as a contributor in the book's credentials. It was published by Rizzoli in 2017.
Generally, Snowdon's publications have been attributed to Antony Armstrong-Jones. Occasionally, the byline includes Earl of Snowdon, and most of the titles at least contain Snowdon in the title.
- London. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1958. (A later edition has ISBN 0-297-16763-4.)
- Private View: The Lively World of British Art (1965, with text by Bryan Robertson and John Russell)
- Assignments. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1972. ISBN 0-297-99582-0.
- A View of Venice. [Ivrea]: Olivetti, c1972.
- Snowdon: A Photographic Autobiography (Times Books, 1979)
- Personal View. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1979. ISBN 0-297-77715-7.
- Snowdon Tasmania Essay. Hobart: Ronald Banks, 1981. ISBN 0-85828-007-8. Text by Trevor Wilson.
- Sittings, 1979–1983. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1983. ISBN 0-297-78314-9.
- Israel: A First View. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986. ISBN 0-297-78860-4.
- Stills 1984–1987. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987. ISBN 0-297-79185-0.
- Serendipity: A Light-hearted Look at People, Places and Things. Brighton: Royal Pavilion, Art Gallery & Museums, 1989. ISBN 0-948723-10-6.
- Pride of the Shires: The Story of the Whitbread Horses
- Public Appearances 1987–1991. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1991. ISBN 0-297-83122-4.
- Hong Kong: Portraits of Power. Boston: Little, Brown, 1995. ISBN 0-316-22052-3. Text by Evelyn Huang and Lawrence Jeffery.
- Wild Flowers. London: Pavilion, 1995. ISBN 1-85793-783-X.
- Snowdon on Stage: With a Personal View of the British Theatre 1954–1996. London: Pavilion, 1996. ISBN 1-85793-919-0.
- Wild Fruit. London: Bloomsbury, 1997. ISBN 0-7475-3700-3. Text by Penny David.
- London: Sight Unseen. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999. ISBN 0-297-82490-2. Text by Gwyn Headley.
- Photographs by Snowdon: A Retrospective. London: National Portrait Gallery, 2000. ISBN 1-85514-272-4.
- Snowdon. London: Chris Beetles Gallery, 2006. ISBN 1-871136-99-7.
Titles, honours and arms
Following his wedding, Armstrong-Jones was granted an earldom and introduced to the House of Lords as the Earl of Snowdon on 28 February 1962. The awarding of the earldom was in line with the practice of granting titles upon marriage into the royal family. Snowdon was appointed Constable of Caernarfon Castle in 1963; as part of this role, he designed and organised the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969.
He made his maiden speech in the House of Lords in April 1972 on the problems that disabled people suffered in everyday life. One of his last contributions to the Lords was in response to the Queen's Speech of 1992.
On 16 November 1999, Lord Snowdon was created Baron Armstrong-Jones, of Nymans in the County of West Sussex. This was a life peerage given to him so that he could keep his seat in the House of Lords after most hereditary peers had been excluded. An offer of a life peerage was made to all hereditary peers of the first creation (those for whom a peerage was originally created, as opposed to those who inherited a peerage from an ancestor) at that time. The government of the day had expected Lord Snowdon to follow the example of members of the royal family and turn down his right to a life peerage. At the time, Labour MP Fraser Kemp said he was "shocked and surprised that someone who achieved their position in the House of Lords by virtue of marriage should accept a seat in the reformed Lords".
Awards and honours
- GCVO: Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, 7 July 1969
- He was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal and an Honorary Fellowship in 1985.
- In 1989, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) from the University of Bath.
|by Camilla Grinling Fry|
|Polly Fry||28 May 1960||Barnaby Higson||5 children|
|by Princess Margaret|
|David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon||3 November 1961||8 October 1993
|Serena Stanhope||Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley|
Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones
|Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones||1 May 1964||14 July 1994||Daniel Chatto||Samuel Chatto|
|by Lucy Lindsay-Hogg|
|Lady Frances Armstrong-Jones||17 July 1979||2 December 2006||Rodolphe von Hofmannsthal||Rex von Hofmannsthal|
Maud von Hofmannsthal
Sybil von Hofmannsthal
|by Melanie Cable-Alexander|
|Jasper Cable-Alexander||30 April 1998|
In popular culture
- List of Cambridge University Boat Race crews
- List of Old Etonians born in the 20th century
- List of photographers
- List of University of Cambridge members
- "Earl of Snowdon". UK Parliament. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
- "Lord Snowdon". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 2 June 2023.
Artist of 285 portraits
- de Courcy, Anne (2008). Snowdon: The Biography. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 112–397.
- Rayner, Gordon (5 June 2008). "Lord Snowdon: Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
- "Meet Lady Margarita's family: a who's who of the Tatler cover star's clan – from Princess Margaret to Lady Sarah Chatto". Tatler. 23 March 2023. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
- Hutchinson, Roger & Gary Kahn. A Family Affair: The Margaret and Tony Story (Two Continents, 1977)
- Brown, Craig. Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings (Simon and Schuster, 2013) p. 285
- Geld, Ellen Bromfield. View from the Fazenda: A Tale of the Brazilian Heartlands (Ohio University Press, 2003) p. 158
- Marco, Neil. "An Historic Home". [email protected]. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
In 1899 Sir Robert Jones, who subsequently altered his name to Armstrong-Jones, had a son named Ronald. The family was, at that time, living in the London area and retained Plas Dinas as their country home in Wales. Sir Ronald Jones married Anne, and the marriage produced a son, Antony, who in 1961 [sic] married HRH Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister.
- "Nobility in Tony's Background". Chicago Tribune. 28 April 1960. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
...Margaret was the daughter of Sir Owen Roberts
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- "The Sambourne family". Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
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- British Rowing Almanack 1950.
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- "Obituary: Lord Snowdon". BBC News. 13 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- Haden-Guest, Anthony (12 February 2006). "The queen is dead". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
- "Sir Jocelyn Stevens - obituary". The Telegraph. 13 October 2014. Archived from the original on 13 October 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
- Gilmore, Eddy (8 December 1960). "Princess Mate Makes Public Talk". The State. Columbia, South Carolina, USA. p. 10.
- "Pictures of the Week". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, Australia. 9 December 1960. p. 16.
- "No. 42481". The London Gazette. 6 October 1961. p. 7199.
- "Anthony Blunt". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "The Photography of Antony Armstrong-Jones". Royal Author Tatiana Coco. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
- "J. R. R. Tolkien". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "Don't Count the Candles (1968)". BFI.
- "Lord Snowdon". gettyimages.co.uk. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "1969 Press Photo Emmy Award Winners Lord Snowdon William McClure" (News photo). United Press International. 9 June 1969. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- "Love of a Kind". BFI. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- Barnham, Glen (17 September 2009). "Sadie Corré obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- Robertson, Nan (10 November 1979). "A Life in Pictures: Lord Snowdon's 30 Years as a Photojournalist". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- "Photographs by Snowdon: A Retrospective". Past exhibition archive. National Portrait Gallery. 2000. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "Photographs by Snowdon: A Retrospective". Yale University. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "Hood Medal – RPS". rps.org. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "Progress Medal – RPS". rps.org. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "BOTTEGA VENETA's Fall campaign, a marketing lesson for luxury brands – CPP-LUXURY". CPP-LUXURY. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- Royal, by Robert Lacey, 2002.
- GB patent 1230619, A.C.R. Armstrong-Jones. Earl of Snowdon, "Means for Providing Mobility for Physically Handicapped Persons", issued 5 May 1971
- Cathcart, Helen (1968). Lord Snowdon. London: W. H. Allen & Co. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-491-00381-0.
- "Snowdon Trust – Helping students achieve their full potential". www.snowdontrust.org.
- "Lord Snowdon obituary". The Guardian. 13 January 2017.
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- "1960: Margaret weds Armstrong-Jones". BBC News. 6 May 1960. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
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- Cooke, Rachel (21 June 2008). "Talk about a cad and a bounder". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
- Reginato, James (1 December 2009). "Nicky Haslam". W Magazine.
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- Bradford, Sarah (1996). Elizabeth. London: William Heinemann.
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- Conti, Samantha (21 November 2008). "The Tony Earl". Women's Wear Daily. p. 10.
- "Our board". The Snowdon Trust.
- Markus, Georg (25 September 2022). "Hofmannsthal und die Queen". Im Spiegel der Geschichte: Was berühmte Menschen erlebten (in German). Amalthea Signum Verlag. Retrieved 9 June 2023.
- Bearn, Emily (16 April 2003). "Still playing Peter Pan". The Daily Telegraph.
- Owens, Mitchell (27 July 1999). "Noticed: Blood Tells. So Does Burke's". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
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- "The Earl of Snowdon (1962)". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 28 February 1962. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
- "The Peerage". Whitaker's Concise Almanack. 2003. pp. 134–169. ISBN 0-7136-6498-3.
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- "Mobility of the Physically Disabled (1974)". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 10 April 1974. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
- "Address in Reply to Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Lords. 12 May 1992. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
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- "Parliamentary career for Earl of Snowdon – MPs and Lords – UK Parliament". members.parliament.uk.
- "Voting Record – The Earl of Snowdon (13657) – The Public Whip". publicwhip.org.uk.
- "House of Lords – Members' Expenses 1 April 2001 – 31 March 2002" (PDF). UK Parliament.
- "House of Lords Publication of Financial Support for Members 1 – 31 March 2016" (PDF). UK Parliament.
- "No. 44888". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 July 1969. p. 6967.
- "Progress Medal". The Royal Photographic Society. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". University of Bath. Archived from the original on 19 December 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
- Maclagan, Michael; Louda, Jiří (1999). Line of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. London: Little, Brown & Co. p. 31. ISBN 1-85605-469-1.
- Kidd, Charles; Williamson, David, eds. (2003). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. London: Debrett's Peerage Limited. p. 1490.
- Wayne C. Thompson (20 July 2016). Western Europe 2016–2017. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-1-4758-2905-1.
- Hardie Lupica, Lilith (28 February 2018). "Princess Margaret's grandsons are the new Prince William and Harry". Vogue Australia. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
- "Snowdon's daughter marries". The Times. 3 December 2006. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
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- Kenber, Billy. "Snowdon cut secret child out of will".
- Billen, Andrew (3 June 2023). "Matthew Goode lords it up as Snowdon in The Crown" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
- "The Crown season 3 and 4, cast and characters: including Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II". The Telegraph. 7 November 2017 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.