Princess Margaret: Expert reveals reason she left Peter Townsend
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The Queen was “far from blocking” Princess Margaret’s first engagement, new documents have claimed. The monarch has long believed to have been instrumental in “thwarting” her sister’s relationship with Group Captain Peter Townsend. However, as detailed in Channel 4 documentary, ‘Queen Elizabeth: Love, Honour and Crown’, it appears the royal “put her sister’s happiness as a top priority”.
Due to her position in the Royal Family, Margaret was required to ask for her sister’s permission to marry the divorced Group Captain.
However, as head of the Church, which at the time did not allow divorced people to remarry, the Queen could not give her consent.
Instead, she asked the couple to wait until Margaret turned 25 as she would no longer need the monarch’s assent, although permission would still be necessary from the Government.
Channel 4 obtained declassified Government documents that revealed a secret deal, struck by then Prime Minister Anthony Eden.
The compromise reached was that Margaret could marry Group Captain Townsend and keep her titles and civil list allowance.
However, she wouldn’t be able to keep her place in the line of succession.
Narrator Jane Whittenshaw told viewers: “The Queen has often been perceived as having thwarted Margaret’s marriage.
“But these documents reveal she was far from blocking the marriage.”
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They read: “Her Majesty would not wish to stand in the way of her sister’s happiness.”
Historian Professor Kate Williams told Channel 4: “I think we really see in these documents how hard the Queen tries for Margaret.
“It gives us a different view of the Queen, of someone who did try and put her sister’s happiness as a top priority.”
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She added: “What this does is it puts a decision on Margaret.”
After reuniting with Townsend, the princess announced that she would not marry him.
Royal biographer Penny Junor gave insight: “I think this throws a whole new light on the affair.
“We’ve always believed that she didn’t marry Townsend because she was prevented by the Government, by the Church of England and by her sister.
“But this very much suggests that she didn’t actually love him enough.”
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