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Royal History: Princess Margaret breaks engagement with Captain Townsend

Princess Margaret. Image: Telegraph online
Oct. 31, 1955 London--After weeks of speculations, Princess Margaret announced today that she would not be marrying Group Captain Peter Townsend. The couple have been under virtual seige recently, with press reports monitoring their every move and recording the precise amount of time they spend together. Disappointing though the news is for romantics, the decision may at least bring some relief to Townsend and the princess. The former has admitted: "We both feel mute and numbed at the centre of this maelstrom."

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.


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