A small bed for £6,000, a photo of a toad climbing out of a glass… and a bird automaton: Items that belonged to Princess Margaret and her husband Lord Snowdon go up for auction
- Antiques from Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace are being sold in an auction
- It was home to the party-loving Princess Margaret and her husband Lord Snowdon during the 1960s
- Lots include a mahogany sleigh bed that belonged to Margaret for £6,000, chairs designed by Snowdon and a bird automaton
It’s 14 years since David Linley infamously auctioned off precious valuables belonging to his mother, the late Princess Margaret, to settle a £3 million inheritance tax bill.
And now the family’s treasured possessions and mementos are up for grabs again.
Antiques, photographs and collectibles from Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace, which was home to the party-loving Princess and her husband Lord Snowdon during the 1960s, are being sold off in an auction at Christie’s by Linley’s half-sister, Lady Frances von Hofmannsthal.
Antiques, photographs and collectibles belonging to Princess Margret from Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace are being sold off in an auction. Pictured: Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon with their two children at Kensington Palace in London in 1964
The sale, titled Snowdon: A Life In Art And Objects, comprises 150 lots including a mahogany sleigh bed that belonged to Margaret.
At just 119.5cm wide, it is an unusually snug bed for the 5ft 1in Princess and her 5ft 5in husband.
The item, which has an estimate of £4,000 to £6,000, has already attracted a bid for the £4,000 reserve – little wonder, given the listing makes much of the fact that it was part of the furniture in the couple’s home, which at the time hosted wild parties with guests such as Dudley Moore, Mick Jagger and Peter Sellers.
The sale comprises 150 lots including a mahogany sleigh bed that belonged to Margaret (L), which has an estimate of £6,000, and chairs designed by Snowdon for Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales
Today the flat has been fully refurbished as the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The lot includes a photograph of a label which reveals the bed made for HRH Princess Margaret had to be resprung in 1962.
Lady Frances, 41, is Lord Snowdon’s daughter with his second wife, Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, who inherited from her father’s estate along with all his possessions (or ‘chattels’, as his public will listed them) after his death in 2017.
Lord Snowdon’s children with Margaret – David Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto – also benefited from the estate along with a son born out of wedlock, Jasper Cable-Alexander.
Other listings include a print of a 1985 Snowdon photograph of a natterjack toad climbing out of a glass tumbler (L), and a bird automaton
The party-loving Princess and her husband Lord Snowdon lived at the flat during the 1960s and hosted wild parties with guests such as Dudley Moore, Mick Jagger and Peter Sellers
Today the flat has been fully refurbished as the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. A general view of the State Apartments of Kensington Palace and Apartment 1A
Probate records show, however, that Lord Snowdon’s illegitimate daughter Polly Fry, who was born while he was on honeymoon with Princess Margaret, was left out of his £3.2 million will.
The lots come from Lord Snowdon’s final home on London’s Launceston Place, a grand white stucco villa built in the 1840s.
A stone’s-throw from Kensington Palace, where he lived with Princess Margaret until their divorce in 1978, the £75,000 for the Grade II listed house actually came from the Queen on the proviso that while Lord Snowdon could have it for his lifetime, it was in trust for Linley, 58, and his sister Lady Sarah Chatto, 56.
Prince William, 39, and Kate, 38, live with their children in the private home – number 1A – when staying in London. Pictured in 2016, when the couple hosted US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle at their home)
The house was sold for £7.3 million in 2018 to Stuart Rose, the former executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, just 18 months after Lord Snowdon’s death in January 2017 at the age of 86.
The latest sale at Christie’s – of which Linley is honorary chairman – is set to net Lady Frances between £190,200 and £309,800, according to the auction house.
Margaret’s own children, Linley and Lady Sarah, are not thought to be benefiting.
The listings include chairs designed by Snowdon for Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales, a print of a 1985 Snowdon photograph of a natterjack toad climbing out of a glass tumbler, and a bird automaton.
In 2006, David and Lady Sarah courted controversy when they netted £14 million after selling 800 family heirlooms including Princess Margaret’s wedding tiara, which fetched £926,000. The auction – also at Christie’s – had been expected to raise £3 million.