Princess Margaret compared royal life to 'growing up in a zoo', Susannah Constantine says

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Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read
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Watch: Susannah Constantine on Princess Margaret being her second mother

Fashion guru Susannah Constantine has revealed how much she misses the late Princess Margaret, saying she could "pour [her] heart out to" the royal.

Speaking to Kate Thornton on Yahoo UK's White Wine Question Time, Constantine said the Queen's younger sister became a mother figure to her.

She also said the late royal had been "misunderstood" and compared royal life to growing up in a zoo.

Thornton asked the television star about her greatest teachers, to which Constantine said: "Princess Margaret was one. I went out with her son David for many years. 

"I was very close with her while my mum at her peak of her illness, when it reached its height.

"She very much became a mother figure. I was like her Pygmalion, I was very close to her."

David Armstrong Jones, Viscount Linley, with socialite Susannah Constantine attending a party held by Lady Theresa Manners in London, June 27th 1985. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
David Armstrong Jones, Viscount Linley, with Susannah Constantine at a party held by Lady Theresa Manners in London, in 1985. (Getty Images)

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Constantine, who previously hosted What Not To Wear with Trinny Woodall, continued: "I can't think of anything she specifically taught me, but she taught me how to conduct myself and how to not really care about what other people think which is of huge value.

"She was an amazing woman and I miss her, I loved her dearly.

"She taught me to be completely open, and she was someone I could absolutely pour my heart out to and speak my mind.

"She has been so misunderstood.

"She had her reputation of being difficult, which she could be but if she realised that you were someone who didn't want anything from her or wasn't hoping to gain by an association with her she was an incredibly loyal, warm, loving, brilliant, smart, highly intelligent, funny woman.

"She is someone I feel so blessed to have had in my life."

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David Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley (left) with his girlfriend, fashion journalist Susannah Constantine, at a performance of the ballet 'Sleeping Beauty' at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, 30th April 1985. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
David Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley (left) with Susannah Constantine, in April 1985. She became close to Princess Margaret during their relationship. (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Thornton said it was interesting that the late royal had taught Constantine to be open when she had to be guarded during her life.

But Constantine said the princess had been authentic, explaining: "It's like growing up in a zoo, you've got people pressed up to the glass... it's like being a silverback gorilla.

"You learn to ignore it, just get on with your life because you have no other option.

"She was truly herself at all times and I had huge respect for her."

Revealing how she would arrange to see Princess Margaret she said: "I spent a lot of time with them and I would just ring or turn up, same as any other family

"I didn't really think about who she was, she was just my boyfriend's mum."

COTTESMORE, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 15:  Princess Margaret Visiting The Tri-national Tornado Establishment At Royal Air Force Cottesmore, Leicestershire.  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Princess Margaret at Royal Air Force Cottesmore, Leicestershire in 1997. She died in 2002. (Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
David Armstrong Jones, Viscount Linley, and British socialite Susannah Constantine at Heathrow Airport in London, England, 17th February 1985. (Photo by David Parker/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
David Armstrong Jones, Viscount Linley, and Constantine at Heathrow Airport in 1985. (David Parker/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Constantine dated David Armstrong Jones, now the Earl of Snowdon, for six years during the 1980s.

She explained a few years ago that her mother was a "manic depressive" but "never once saw a psychiatrist or a therapist", which was difficult for her and her father.

Having dated the son of a royal, and Imran Khan during the 80s and 90s, Constantine married Danish entrepreneur and businessman Sten Bertelsen, and last year they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary.

She has three children and they live in West Sussex. She writes novels and has a podcast called My Wardrobe Malfunction.

Princess Margaret, who was also the Countess of Snowdon after her marriage, died in 2002.

Earl Snowdon announced his separation from his wife Serena in February 2020. They have two children.

Watch: The Crown's three Princess Margarets plotting martini date