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British Royals

Princess Margaret still found Peter Townsend ‘charming’ after 30 years

Following her divorce from Lord Snowdon in 1978, Princess Margaret reunited with her former love, Peter Townsend, for lunch 30 years after their doomed romance ended. The late Princess Margaret’s close friend, Lady Glencoccer, has revealed that when the princess told her Peter had joined her for lunch, she said that he was “charming, he hasn’t changed at all”.

Lady Glencoccer added: “I looked out the window and saw him getting out of the car, he was an old man…Yet in her eyes he hadn’t changed. I thought that was very touching”.

The royal reunion will be shared in a new special airing at 9pm tonight on Channel 5 in the UK called ‘Elizabeth: Our Queen’.

Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend first met when Townsend was an equerry to her father, King George VI.

The two began a relationship in 1947 during a royal tour of South Africa but the romance was controversial and the pairing was heavily discouraged by the government as Townsend was divorced and could not re-marry in the Church of England – a major conflict given that Margaret’s sister, The Queen, was (and still is) the Church’s Supreme Governor.

The two were eventually forced to end the relationship when it became clear that the British Cabinet would not approve their marriage, believing it would cause conflict for her duties as part of the Royal Family.

Princess Margaret went on to marry Anthony Armstrong Jones, Lord Snowdon, in 1960 in a union that lasted almost 20 years. Townsend met and married Marie-Luce Jamagne – a Belgian woman with a striking resemblance to Princess Margaret – in 1959 when he was 44.

Given all they had been through it’s probable that the reunion nearly 30 years after external forces had torn them apart was bittersweet. What’s clear is that Princess Margaret’s esteem for the “charming” Peter Townsend had not faded.