Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Margaretha's engagement is postponed

March 9, 1958


The engagement between Princess Margaretha of Sweden, 23, and her British suitor, Robin Douglas-Home, 25, a night club pianist, has been postponed, court officials tell Reuters and other news organizations.
An official court statement says that Douglas-Home, who is described as a "London blue blood," will leave Stockholm tomorrow, but is expected to "return soon."
The official court announcement "made no reference to an engagement," and :there was "no question of Douglas-Home having been turned down by the royal family." A spokesman for the family said that the engagement of a princess is "an extremely serious affair."
King Gustav VI Adolf is concerned about his granddaughter's "future happiness." He would put no "obstacles in their path," if Robin and Margaretha "were absolutely sure about their feelings."
Douglas-Home, a nephew of the Earl of Home, arrived in Sweden five days ago to "ask formally for Margaretha's hand." They met last winter when Margaretha was in London "to brush up on her English. At the time, Robin was playing the piano in a London bar, a job "he quit at the suggestion of the Swedish court for a more dignified position with a publishing firm."
Last spring, the couple parted "at the urging of the Swedish king." They wrote to each other, but did not meet again until this past week when Douglas-Home arrived in Sweden.
Robin was introduced to her family at an informal luncheon, her mother, Princess Sybilla, her three sisters, Princesses Birgitta, 21, Desiree, 19, and Christina, 14, and her brother, Crown Prince Carl Gustav, 12.
King Gustav VI Adolf had a half hour conversation with Douglas-Home on Friday, and yesterday the king "took the couple for a drive in his car." Earlier today, Douglas-Home arrived at the palace and stayed for lunch, where it was reported that he "made an excellent impression" on Margaretha's family.
But there was one discordant note to Margaretha's romance. This came from Robin's father, Maj. Henry Douglas-Home, who noted "Robin and his problems and with the Swedes in general." He said that his son was being made a "door mat," and he added: "If she's worth her salt, she'll marry him now, or never, and on his terms. Otherwise, their life will be a Swedish misery."
The Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet;s court reporter said that "romance between the Princess and the British blue blood" is not on the rocks.
"The royal family has had the courage to leave the decision to the youngsters themselves," the paper reported. Margaretha and Robin were "advised to think it over by they have decided on the postponement voluntarily. Robin may also meet the Princess abroad so they can make up their minds on their marriage plans in peace."
Robin had proposed to the princess last spring, but her mother, Princess Sybilla, wrote to him, "that such a marriage was unthinkable."
The match was considered "unsuitable" because Douglas-Home earned only $126 a week, which was not enough to support a royal princess. Margaretha was ordered home, but the young couple kept in touch. After Robin secured a new more stable position, he was invited to Sweden, where the king's son, Prince Bertil, officially introduced him to the king. He was also "fully accepted" by the court."

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