Lord Snowdon The only son of Welsh barrister Ronald Owen Lloyd Armstrong-Jones (1899-1966) and his first wife, socialite Anne Messel (1902-1992, later Countess of Rosse), Antony Armstrong-Jones was educated at Eton and Cambridge. Of Welsh and German Jewish ancestry, Snowdon comes from artistic lineage. His maternal great-grandfather was the Punch cartoonist Linley Sambourne (1844-1910), his great-great-uncle Alfred Messel was a well-known Berlin architect, and his maternal uncle was Oliver Messel, a noted British set and costume designer and architect.
After leaving Cambridge, he worked as a photographer, particularly in the fields of fashion, design and the theatre. His career as a portraitist began to flourish and he became known for his royal studies, amongst which were the official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh for their 1957 tour of Canada.