During her long reign, Queen Elizabeth has faced many tough decisions. But, this one decision was an important one and quite a personal one too.
It was a decision about her younger sister, Princess Margaret.
Princess Margaret had fallen in love with Peter Townsend. He was a war hero and a divorced father of two who was also almost twice her age. She was desperate to marry him.
However, nothing was so simple for a royal, at the time.
The match was frowned upon by both the government and the church. And Elizabeth begged her younger sister, Margaret to wait until she could give her consent as Queen for them to marry.
A royal expert, Juliet Rieden said:-
“She could have married him if she had chosen to. But she would have lost her royal title and all the money too.
This very situation put strain on the sisters’ relationship.
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Especially because when Margaret initially asked for the Queen’s permission to marry Townsend, Elizabeth refused. Rieden says:-
“We know that cut very deep. That possibly was the only decision that her sister made that the two never really got over. It was quite a difficult situation”.
However, when the new Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden was elected, Her Majesty saw the chance to ensure her younger sister’s happiness.
A plan was devised to change the Marriage Act that was preventing Margaret from marrying.
Also read: Queen Elizabeth’s ‘Rebel Sister’ Princess Margaret Never Forgave Princess Diana.
Prime Minister Eden would alter that act so that Princess Margaret could marry Townsend without losing her royal title or allowance. However, she and her children were to be removed from the line of succession.
Everything was drawn up and ready to go. But, a problem occurred. Just three days after the final proposal of the amended act was produced, Princess Margaret made a shocking announcement.
The announcement made was that Princess Margaret will not be marrying Peter Townsend and will be moving on in their lives separately.