Monday, October 19, 2015

Margaret dines with Archbishop of Canterbury

October 19, 1955

Princess Margaret and other members of the Royal Family dined tonight with the Archbishop of Canterbury, reports the Associated Press.

The Archbishop is the head of the Church of England, which will "oppose" her marriage to Group Captain Peter Townsend.   The Anglican Church "frowns" on the marriage of divorced persons with living former spouses.  Townsend received a divorce in 1952 on the grounds of his wife's adultery.  She has remarried, and their two sons live with her.

The guests at the dinner at Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop, Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, included Queen Elizabeth II,  the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret. as well as several other Bishops of the Church of England.

The announced reason for the dinner was to "celebrate the re-dedication of the Palace chapel, restored after having been badly damaged by a Nazi incendiary bomb May 10, 1941." But it is "believed" that the romance between the 25-year-old Princess and the 40-year-old Group Captain, a "hero of the Battle of Britain," would also be discussed.

Princess Margaret and her mother "drove in a heavy rain" to Lambeth Palace.  The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh,  who is "reportedly" against the marriage, drove from Buckingham Palace.

The Archbishop is a "devoted friend" of the Royal Family, but is "sternly devoted to his duty as he sees it." A breach between the Archbishop and Princess Margaret "would be painful to both."

The Princess is close to the Archbishop and often dines at Lambeth Palace.

Princess Margaret and Group Captain Townsend did not see each other today. He spent the day riding in the country.

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