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The Ups and Downs of Princess Margaret’s Love Life

Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend

Queen Elizabeth II’s youthful sister led a charmed life as a member of the British royal household however was unfortunate in love.

Britain’s Princess Margaret was lovely, charming and had the world at her ft, however she by no means had a simple time in her love life. She was stored from marrying her old flame and although initially comfortable when she wed one other man, that relationship quickly turned bitter. A seek for companionship ended up exposing her to condemnation. In her later years, she was typically lonely. However at the least her romantic lows made it simpler for different members of the royal household to seek out love themselves.

Princess Margaret’s first fell in love with a divorcé

At Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, Princess Margaret was noticed intimately interacting with Group Captain Peter Townsend. Quickly information of the romantic relationship between the princess and the royal equerry was public — which solely introduced extra consideration to the obstacles their romance confronted. Townsend, a hero in World Struggle II, was a commoner, 16 years older than the princess, and he’d been divorced.

Due to the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, Margaret wanted the queen’s permission to marry. However Elizabeth and her advisors did not need to sanction a wedding between a divorced man and a member of the royal household. On the time, the Church of England did not acknowledge divorce, and the queen was head of the church. To separate him from Margaret, Townsend was despatched overseas as an air attaché. His departure was scheduled so he can be gone by the point Margaret returned from a tour of Rhodesia.

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Margaret and Townsend, who’d stayed in contact whereas he was overseas, have been reunited in October 1955. By then, she was 25 and not wanted the queen’s permission to marry. However on the finish of the month, Margaret deserted the connection. Her public assertion stated partially: “I would really like it to be recognized that I’ve determined to not marry Group Captain Townsend. I’ve been conscious that, topic to my renouncing my rights of succession, it may need been potential for me to contract a civil marriage. However aware of the Church’s teachings that Christian marriage is indissoluble and acutely aware of my obligation to the Commonwealth, I’ve resolved to place these issues earlier than others. I’ve reached this choice solely alone…”

Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend leaving Windsor Citadel in April 1952

Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Pictures

For years, typical knowledge held that Margaret had been pressured by the church, the federal government, and the palace to make this choice. She’d supposedly been threatened with the lack of her title, her place within the line of succession, and her royal revenue, and would have needed to stay outdoors England ought to she marry Townsend. However in 2004, paperwork within the Nationwide Archives confirmed that the federal government of Prime Minister Anthony Eden (a divorcé himself) had a plan to clean the best way for Margaret’s marriage: She would have had to surrender her place within the line of succession for herself and her youngsters, however would in any other case have stored her standing, and revenue, as a royal. Provided that public opinion was overwhelmingly in favor of letting Margaret marry, the plan was a sensible transfer.

So why did not Margaret wed Townsend? Her sister Elizabeth was wholesome and already had two youngsters who’d joined the road of succession forward of Margaret, so giving up a declare to the throne appeared minimal (although Margaret did embrace all elements of her preeminent royal standing). Maybe the 2 years she’d spent aside from Townsend had raised sufficient doubts that she did not need to marry him in any case. Earlier than her reunion with him, she’d written to Prime Minister Eden to say she wanted to see Townsend earlier than she might determine whether or not or to not marry him. In the long run, regardless of the trigger, she opted to not turn into his spouse.

She obtained married to a photographer who was rumored to be bisexual

When Margaret was 26, she turned engaged to a rich member of her social circle, Billy Wallace. She was nonetheless anticipated to marry — as have been most girls on the time — and thought of him “anyone one a minimum of appreciated.” However the engagement was short-lived — Margaret ended it after Wallace advised her he’d had a fling whereas vacationing within the Bahamas.

Hypothesis about her numerous suitors continued till February 1960, when Margaret once more surprised the world by saying her engagement to photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones. Armstrong-Jones had by no means been married, however in any other case was a shocking selection for the conservative institution to simply accept as a partner for the princess. He was a commoner who needed to work for a dwelling. He was additionally rumored to be bisexual. He by no means publicly confirmed his sexuality, however did as soon as state, “I did not fall in love with boys, however a couple of males have been in love with me.”

Tony Armstrong-Jones and Princess Margaret

Tony Armstrong-Jones and Princess Margaret on their wedding ceremony day, Might 6, 1960

Photograph: Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho by way of Getty Pictures

However Margaret’s household needed her to be completely satisfied, they usually’d all been charmed by Armstrong-Jones. Margaret and her fiancé shared an curiosity within the arts, music and garments. They usually had sexual chemistry — the princess would typically go to him in an out-of-the-way rented room the place they could possibly be alone. Margaret’s old flame can also have performed a task in her engagement. In October 1959, she discovered Townsend was marrying another person. She reportedly later defined, “I acquired a letter from Peter within the morning and that night I made a decision to marry Tony. It was no coincidence.”

After marrying on Might 6, 1960, Margaret and her husband have been initially very completely happy. They went on to have two youngsters, with Armstrong-Jones turning into Lord Snowdon so the youngsters would have titles. Her new husband additionally helped Margaret take pleasure in and be part of 1960s tradition. Margaret would later say, “He was such a pleasant individual in these days. He understood my job and pushed me to do issues. In a approach, he launched me to a brand new world.”

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon cheated on one another their whole marriage

Earlier than Margaret’s wedding ceremony, her husband-to-be’s father stated, “It’s going to by no means work out. Tony’s a far too unbiased type of fellow to be subjected to self-discipline. He will not be ready to play second fiddle to anybody. He should stroll two steps behind his spouse, and I worry for his future.” And Snowdon did tire of royal life, abandoning his position as royal consort to pursue profession alternatives. Feeling possessive, and lonely, Margaret would attempt to monitor him down, just for him to tug farther away.

Whereas Margaret could possibly be imperious, having been raised to anticipate deference, Snowdon turned merciless and mocking in the direction of her. He would go away her malicious notes, comparable to one titled: “Twenty-four the reason why I hate you.” He additionally had affairs. Actually, he hadn’t been trustworthy from the beginning. Whereas he and Margaret have been on their honeymoon, the spouse of a pal, Camilla Fry, gave start to his baby (Margaret apparently by no means knew about this; paternity was solely confirmed by a DNA check taken many years later).

Margaret ended up discovering lovers of her personal. One was Robin Douglas-Residence, who, after dealing with different setbacks, dedicated suicide 18 months after their liaison had ended. Amongst her different rumored romantic companions have been Mick Jagger and Peter Sellers. Then, in September 1973, she was launched to a youthful man who would contribute to the ultimate collapse of her marriage: Roddy Llewellyn. Margaret and Llewellyn fell in love quickly after they met in Scotland. Throughout their time collectively, she sometimes visited him whereas he was dwelling on a commune, and he made quite a few journeys to her house on the Caribbean island of Mustique.

In 1976, Margaret and Llewellyn have been photographed collectively on Mustique. They have been with one other couple, however the photograph was cropped so Margaret and Llewellyn — each in swimsuits —seemed to be alone. Their affair not solely turned the focus, nevertheless it additionally gave Snowdon the chance to maneuver out of Kensington Palace. Whereas Margaret was criticized for having a “Toy Boy” lover (although the age distinction was about the identical because the one between her and Townsend), Snowdon acquired public sympathy, with scant consideration paid to his personal philandering. On March 19, 1976, it was introduced: “HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, and the Earl of Snowdon have mutually agreed to stay aside.”

Princess Margaret and her companion Roddy Llewellyn

Princess Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn

Photograph: © Hulton-Deutsch Assortment/CORBIS/Corbis by way of Getty Pictures

Princess Margaret turned the primary royal to divorce in over 400 years

The queen needed Margaret to finish issues with Llewellyn, however the princess felt he was a supply of affection and help she could not do with out. She stayed within the relationship whilst Llewellyn determined he needed to turn out to be a rock singer, which introduced extra adverse consideration Margaret’s means (his LP, Roddy, can be a flop). Criticism of Margaret included calls in Parliament for her royal allowance to be minimize off.

In Might 1978, Margaret filed for a divorce, which was granted in July. This made her the primary member of the royal household to divorce since Henry VIII in 1533. Snowdon married a pregnant Lucy Lindsay-Hogg in December 1978. He was additionally untrue to his second spouse: In 1997, his longtime affair with one journalist was revealed after her suicide and in 1998, one other paramour gave start to his son.

Margaret’s liaison with Llewellyn led to 1981, as he’d fallen in love with and needed to marry another person. The princess accepted this and even congratulated the couple. Margaret invited Peter Townsend to lunch together with her — and others — at Kensington Palace in the summertime of 1992, when she was 61 and he 77. He died three years later; a press release stated Margaret was “saddened by the information.”

Although Margaret’s later years included many associates and companions, she reportedly typically felt lonely. However because of what she lived via, it was simpler for Princess Anne, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew to divorce. And although Camilla Parker-Bowles and Meghan Markle have been divorcées themselves, they have been every capable of marry their respective royal mates. Hopefully, at this time’s royal household appreciates how Margaret helped pave the best way for his or her romantic happiness.

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