Queen ‘totally in command’ of Royal Family – but ‘understands’ individual difficulties

Prince Philip: Anti-royalists criticised for not 'taking a break' by Tousi

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Andrew Morton, author of ‘Elizabeth & Margaret’, argues the Queen learned to be less “judgemental” as a result of Princess Margaret’s personal life. Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister, had an extended relationship with RAF officer Peter Townsend which ended in 1955.

The monarchy’s position with the Church of England meant Margaret was initially forbidden from marrying Mr Townsend, a divorcee.

However Mr Morton claims the Queen was ready to make radical moves to support Margaret.

Speaking to Mail+ show Palace Confidential he said: “What is fascinating about the whole Townsend affair is the Queen was prepared in the end to accept criticism of the crown, to accept some kind of stain on the monarchy, so that her sister could find happiness.

“Because in the end there were no draconian penalties agreed upon.

“All Margaret had to do was give up her position in the line of succession.

“And all the talk of living in exile, having no money, giving up her title just faded away and the documents I looked at in the National Archives made it perfectly clear the Prime Minister Anthony Eden and the Queen were working in concert with Margaret to facilitate her future happiness.”

Princess Margaret ended up separating from Mr Townsend and instead married Antony Armstrong-Jones, who became the 1st Earl of Snowdon.

The couple had two children together before divorcing in 1978.

Mr Morton argued the Queen has increased her control over the wider Royal Family during her reign.

He commented: “Generally the Queen seems more flexible and amenable than she was at the beginning of her reign.

“In the sunset of her reign she seems totally in command, totally in control, but also more understanding of the vastitudes that members of her family have to go through.

“I think it’s something she learned from Margaret herself, from Margaret’s relationships. Not to be so judgemental.”

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The Queen is currently mourning the loss of her late husband, Prince Philip, who passed away on Friday morning aged 99.

The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest serving royal consort in British history.

On Saturday 41-gun salutes were fired across the UK and Gibraltar to celebrate his life.

Well-wishers have been leaving flowers outside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, though due to the coronavirus pandemic authorities are urging people to make charitable donations instead.

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The funeral will take place next Saturday at Windsor Castle.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions only 30 guests will be able to attend the service.

However it will be televised with a national minute of silence at 3pm.

Prince Harry is due to fly back from California for the event.

However the Duchess of Sussex, who is heavily pregnant, will not make the trip following medical advice.

The couple are currently living in Santa Barbara, north of Los Angeles, having stepped down as senior royals in 2020.

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