|Princess Margaret. Image: Telegraph online|
The affair had focused international attention to the royal famil and awakened uncomfortable memories of the 1936 abdication crisis of the then King Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson.
Townsend was a distinguished fighter pilot, but hr id also a divorcee with two children. Margaret, aged 25, could him at the cost of forfeiting her official income and her rights to succession but, like her unclde, she has suffered bitter recriminations from both the Church and Parliament.
It had been hoped by the royal family that the affair would fizzle out during Townsend's recent two-year posting to Brussels but, in the end, the princess was forced to choose between duty and personal happiness.