Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, The Countess of Snowdon
Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 Inches, 1981
One of two portraits painted during the summer of 1981 at Kensington Palace. Full-size versions were commissioned by the Royal Anglian Regiment.
With all my commissions, royal and non-royal, my subjects view my sketchbook and painted studies before giving their approval for the work to be enlarged on to full-size canvases.
In the Garden Room at Kensington Palace, Princess Margaret’s home, I had therefore arranged a collection of studies and sketches for her approval. The Princess looked closely at each picture. I had displayed them in a semicircle around us, for her to compare them with one another. After carefully inspecting each piece, she stood back to view the collection as a whole. A moment or two passed, and then she turned to me, saying, ‘Mr Stone, as you know, I have been suffering from the flu for the past two weeks, and I think you’ve caught it.’
Many years later, in 1999, there were some photographs of my studio in the Sunday Telegraph. Hanging on the wall was a small study for her portrait. By then Princess Margaret must have decided that her portrait was more flattering than she had previously thought, as a lady-in-waiting telephoned soon afterwards, reminding me that I had promised Her Royal Highness a study, and could she have it now, please.