Reported in the News Letter on March 28, 1958: ‘Situation unchanged’ between Princess Margaret and Captain Townsend

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Group Captain Peter Townsend yesterday issued the following statement: “There are no grounds whatever for supposing that my seeing Princess Margaret in any way alters the situation declared specifically in the Princess’s statement in the autumn of 1955.”

The statement was issued by Mr Phillpotts, of Messrs Hunters, 9 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London, acting for Group Captain Townsend.

On October 31, 1955, Princess Margaret issued the following personal message from Clarence House: “I would like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend. I have been aware that, subject to my renouncing my rights of succession, it might have been possible for me to contract a civil marriage, but, mindful of the Church’s teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before any others.

“I have reached this decision entirely alone and in doing so I have been strengthened by the unfailing support and devotion of Group Captain Townsend.”

Group Captain Townsend [a divorcee] arrived in London from Brussels on Wednesday [March 26] after a 60,000-mile lone trip around the world. A few hours later he had tea with Princess Margaret at Clarence House for the first time since the Princess issued her personal message. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was also at Clarence House.

[Princess Margaret, 1930-2002, the Queen’s only sibling, would go on to marry the photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. They divorced in 1978.]