Saturday, November 20, 2010

Royally Beloved in the Time of Scorpio

These last few Scorpio days of mid-November have often had significance for Britain's royals - not always positive siginificance either. Let us hope that the outcome of the most recent November date of royal significance will be a happy one: the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton was announced this week.

On this very day, 20 November, in 1947 the then Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey. They first met when the Princess was just 13, and the story goes that it was "love at first sight". According to news gossip, through following decades, the marriage has not always been trouble-free, but it has lasted - probably more due to royal protocol and the Queen's determination than anything else, I'd guess.

On the same day, 20 November, in 1992 a fire broke out in Windsor Castle, one of the three principal official residences of the British monarch. The fire badly damaged the castle causing over £50 million worth of damage.

On 22 November, in 1914,
the man who was to become what many people considered to be the love of Princess Margaret's life was born: Group Captain Peter Townsend. (Not to be confused with Pete Townsend of The Who!)

Townsend was equerry (personal attendant) to King George VI, father of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

For astrology buffs there's Australian astrologer Douglas Parker's interpretation of the natal charts of Princess Margaret and Group Captain Townsend, with the charts available at a linked pdf file.

Princess Margaret's love affair with Townsend was superseded by other stories and scandals in later years, so may have been forgotten or perhaps never known by any stray younger readers. Here are the bare bones of it taken from a website HERE
Townsend was a war hero, sixteen years the Princess's senior and married, although he was soon to be divorced. In her grief over her father’s death, Margaret turned more and more to Townsend for consolation. He too had suffered a loss when the King died.

The relationship had apparently started long before the King’s death and would probably have stayed under the radar, if Princess Margaret hadn’t been caught out brushing a piece of fluff off Townsend’s lapel during the coronation.

Princess Margaret desperately wanted to marry Townsend, but there were several obstacles, the most pressing being that he was divorced. Despite the fact that he was the injured part, divorce in aristocratic and royal circles was still a big taboo in the fifties. As the Queen was the Defender of the Faith and the Head of the Church of England, having her sister marry a divorced man was unthinkable.

Margaret was told, erroneously it turns out, that not only would she have to renounce her place in the succession, but that she would be stripped of her royal title, her civil list allowance and forced to live abroad in exile for the rest of her life like her Uncle. In 2004, it was revealed that Margaret and the Queen were deliberately given misinformation by the government. While Margaret would undoubtedly have had to renounce her place in the succession, she could have kept her royal title and the money. The reason for the subterfuge was that even though the abdication was almost twenty years prior, the wounds were still open. As the Queen had just ascended the throne, it wouldn’t do for her younger sister to be seen marrying a divorcé, no matter how well-connected.

After a two year separation, Townsend had been posted abroad to Belgium as an air attaché and only sporadic meetings, Princess Margaret agreed to give up any thought of marrying him. Despite their love for each other, Margaret had no concept of what it would be like to be anything but a member of the Royal family. The idea of living in exile, on his salary, was too much to be borne. Margaret simply wasn’t the type to have to do her own washing up, and cooking. It was one thing to play at it, knowing that you could also call the servants if something went wrong, another to have that be your way of life.

On 6 May 1960 Margaret married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, later given the title Lord Snowdon. She reportedly accepted his proposal a day after learning from Peter Townsend that he intended to marry a young Belgian woman, Marie-Luce Jamagne, who was half his age and bore a striking resemblance to Margaret.

Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon were divorced in 1978. Ironic? Prevented from marrying her first, and possibly best love because of his divorce. I wonder how the Princess's life would have unrolled had she been allowed to marry Group Captain Townsend?

Townsend died in 1995, Princess Margaret in 2002.


Gian Paul said...

T.this is another test of cyber/google etc.

Gian Paul said...

Hi Twilight, you are half forgiven because you are British. But who still cares about royals, British or Swedish?

On my early morning ride today I asked Cognac (my horse, and I talk to him) whether on our return, when putting on the PC and your blog, I would find some comment about Prince William's engagement - and see?

Lady Di outdid them all, the Queen still suffers and now its to be hoped that Lady Kate will not be the next victim.

It's all about the press, money (Lady Gaga etc.). But in the interest of astrology, even royals apparentely obey the same type of rules. What's intriguing is that William was born on the summer solstice, June 21. And there is Stonehenge. What date could be more British/Celtic?

Wisewebwoman said...

Princess M was tragic, eh T? her latter years soaked in booze, questionable 'friends' and endless cigarettes and her mother, who attended her funeral, despaired of her.
Who knews how the Townsend thing would have panned out, the fantasy remains of the thwarted love of her life.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~ I'm no royalist - far from it GP, the opposite in fact. But they are public figures whose lives can sometimes offer astrological insights. I noticed some November dates linked to some royals, and decided I might as well us them for a post.

I'd already decided NOT to write much about William and his intended (boring) so went back in time for something which I found more interesting.

A pat on the neck to to Cognac - and best wishes to your goodself, GP :-)

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ the story of Margaret and Townsend has all the signs of lost love and tragedy, doesn't it? Even in such a privileged life style as Princess M. lived, there's no getting away from emotional pain.
We might be romanticising her too much, I guess. She might have turned out much the same if she had been able to marry Townsend. But somehow I think not.

Rossa said...

If Charles had married Camilla the first time round then the tragedy that was his marriage to Diana would not have happened.

Fortunately Wiiliam appears to have learned the lessons of his family history and has taken his time. He has said himself it was to give Kate time to back out if she wanted to.

Now of course the big question is will Charles become King or step aside for William. If the Queen does go on until her death then Charles could be in his 80s and William only in his 40s. The world may be a different place by then so who knows.

Charles didn't help matters this week by saying that Camilla "could be Queen" when he becomes King. A poll this weekend shows only 15% of the population would accept that.

So the Windsor soap opera still has a few plot lines to be played out.

I am a royalist only in the sense that I prefer the existing arrangement to having a President. Sorry T , but the idea of Cherie Blair as our first lady is not something I could stomach. And it would have cost us a lot more than the monarchy does. And not just in financial terms.

My first reaction though on hearing the engagement announced is what are we being distracted from. The so called recession or is there something else in the small print or back pages in teh news we're overlooking somehow.

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ It really is like one big soap opera isn't it? From Edward VIII abdicating for love through to Chas & Di, Margaret & Townsend, etc.

You couldn't make it up.

I've wondered about the timing of the engagement announcement too.
We'll soon see if there's been any skulduggery afoot.

R J Adams said...

Interesting post, particularly concerning Margaret and the lies spun by the then government (nothing changes!).
Surprisingly, I am a Royalist. I've become more so since living in America and sampling the alternative. I'm with Rossa there.
Charles is doing an enormous amount of good behind the scenes, particularly in respect of climate change, and the Queen has worked her crown off for Britain over the years.
I don't consider them privileged. Stuck with the same job seven days a week, 365 days a year, for life? No thanks. The pay may be good, but no amount of money can make up for the lack of freedom and privacy.
Mind, I'd prune most of the hangars-on.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~ Well, the royals have had their wings well and truly clipped in past centuries as far as doing much to the detriment the Great Unwashed, so they're harmless enough I guess. Just expensively decorative really. And if they manage to do a bit of good, it's only what they're entitled to be doing in return for what I have to argue is indeed privilege. (Grump, grump!) ;-)

The alternative isn't any better, I agree, unless during times of a really good Prez (FDR was the nearest thing I suppose - not perfect but getting there). Then when a good 'un comes along, off they have to go after 8 years.

Nobody has invented a perfect system yet. Probably never will, 'cos we're only human.