- The Washington Times - Friday, December 23, 2016

A royal biographer says that Netflix’s popular original series “The Crown” took significant creative license with the story of Princess Margaret’s doomed love affair with divorced Royal Air Force Group Capt. Peter Townsend, People magazine reported Friday.

The first season of the historical drama largely centered on the romance between Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister and the war hero who became a royal household aide. In the series, a conflicted Queen Elizabeth ultimately came down on the side of duty by forbidding her sister from marrying the war hero, who was a divorcee.

At the time, Princess Margaret was third in line for the throne and marrying a divorced man would have resulted in political and ecclesial repercussions given Elizabeth’s constitutional role as supreme governor of the Church of England.

But as Margaret’s biographer Christopher Warwick told People magazine, it’s much more likely that a once-passionate love affair between the royal and the RAF officer simply flamed out because of their lengthy separation.

“Margaret told me that when she went to the Queen and she and Townsend were in love and wanted to marry, the Queen said, ‘It’s not unreasonable for me to ask you to wait a year.’ After a year, Margaret returned and the Queen — undoubtedly on ministerial advice — asked her to wait another year,” Mr. Warwick told the magazine. “She had to step back and let Margaret make the decision.”

For his part, Townsend hinted in his autobiography that Margaret was unwilling to give up all the trappings of royalty, including her spot in the line of succession, in order to marry her lover.

“She could have married me only if she had been prepared to give up everything — her position, her prestige, her privy purse,” he wrote, The New York Times reported in Townsend’s 1995 obituary. “I simply hadn’t the weight, I knew it, to counterbalance all she would have lost.”


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