On February 26th in 1960, the engagement of Princess Margaret (†71) and Anthony Armstrong-Jones (†86) was announced. Not too many people know that five years earlier, in October 1955, Margaret had passed up marrying her one true love Peter Townsend (†80) after being pressured by her sister Queen Elizabeth II (94).
Townsend worked for the royal family back then and the father-of-two had already been divorced once. If Margaret had married Townsend, she would have foregone any right at the throne, which is why she decided against it. It is said that both Margaret and Peter vowed never to marry anyone else.
Margaret's great love: Peter Townsend
Peter later wrote a letter to Princess Margaret telling her that he would actually get married again, to the then 19-year-old Belgian Marie-Luce Jamagne - his secretary. Margaret, 29 years old at the time, was apparently terribly disappointed and sad after receiving the letter.
Later on, Margaret explained to the British politician Jonathan Aitken (77), with whom she'd actually spent a bunch of days in Barbados in the 70's, why she actually married Armstrong-Jones: "Well, to tell you the real story, I hadn't got any plans to marry him. We were having a high old time together, but I wasn't thinking of marrying him."
Margaret's wedding in 1960: An emotional act?
The Daily Mail reports that when Margaret was asked by Aitken about the letter from Peter Townsend, she replied: "I wrote back to him to wish him well and say, please, I can't tell you why but would you mind not announcing it for another two weeks? And during that two weeks I got in first and announced my engagement to Tony."
Margaret and Tony had two children, Sarah Chatto and David Armstrong-Jones, but the marriage between the princess and the newly ennobled Earl of Snowdon was not to last very long. There was constant talk about rows and affairs between the couple, and they eventually divorced in 1978.
That was actually the first royal divorce since Henry VIII split from Anne of Cleves in 1540. Get the latest updates and more news on the royal family right HERE...