October 25, 1955
The Times of London published an editorial tonight suggesting that Princess Margaret should "pass into private life," if she chooses to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend, reports the New York Times.
The Times is considered the "unofficial voice of the British government.
In a "leading editorial," the newspaper states that Princess Margaret, the 25-year-old younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II, "has an indubitable right to lay down a burden that is too heavy for her," if she decides that "she is unable to make the sacrifice involved in her continued dedication to her inherited part."
This was the first time that the Times had weighed, editorially, on the issue of Princess Margaret's romance, which began in 1953.
Since he returned home on "temporary leave" on October 12, Townsend has visited Margaret at Clarence house or dined with her and mutual friends for "almost each day." Today, the couple spent about two hours together at Clarence House.
Queen Elizabeth II is "bound by her coronation oath to uphold church laws." The Church of England does not allow for the remarriage of divorced persons if the spouse is still alive. Townsend divorced his wife in 1952, on the grounds of her adultery, and she has since remarried.
This editorial may prove to be "an added impediment" to the Princess' plans to marry. According to her "intimate friends," she wants to marry the Group Captain, if there is "not too strong an opposition" to her desire.
The Times noted that the Princess could marry outside the Church of England. She and Townsend could wed in a Church of Scotland, which does not bar divorce.