Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Margaret meets with Archbishop

October 27, 1955

Princess Margaret and Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, met earlier today for a "private audience."  The meeting lasted for an hour, reports the New York Times.

The Archbishop's chaplain responded to questions from the press, stating: "I cannot give any information about it."  Buckingham Palace officials issued a statement saying there would be "no comment whatsoever" on the implications of Princess Margaret's meeting with the Archbishop.

It is understood that Margaret, 25, visited Lambeth Palace "at her own request" to seek the Archbishop's guidance on whether to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend, who is divorced.

The princess's "religious leanings have intensified" since the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952.  She has known Dr. Fisher for many years.  She and other members of the Royal Family dined with the Archbishop last week at Lambeth Palace and again "last night at the Portuguese Embassy."

This most recent meeting with the Archbishop does not mean that Princess Margaret has come to a decision.  This was her first "formal request for advice" from the spiritual head of the Church of England.

Group Captain Townsend, 40,  visited Princess Margaret at Clarence House before lunch.  He called on her again after her return from Lambeth Palace at 4:00 p.m., and stayed for two hours.

The Church of England forbids the remarriage of divorced persons if their former spouse is still alive.  Group Captain Townsend divorced his former wife, Rosemary, in 1952 on the grounds of her adultery with John de Laszlo, whom she has since married.

The Church Times, an official publication of the Church of England, has asked "the faithful people of the church to pray for especial urgency at this time, for the Queen and for the whole Royal Family," and that Princess Margaret "may be guided and directed aright."

Tomorrow's Daily Mirror will have have a "front page attack" on the editor of The Times for its recent editorial suggesting that Princess Margaret "pass into private life" if she chooses to marry Townsend.   The Mirror will describe the editorial as the "first sinister move" in a plan that could force the princess to give up Townsend or "be banished from the royal circle."

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