Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A quiet birthday for Margaret

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August 21, 1953

Princess Margaret celebrated her twenty-third birthday today "with a quiet dinner" with her older sister, Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family at Balmoral Castle, according to an Associated Press report.

Although the court would not release an official guest list, it is understood that Group Captain Peter Townsend was not present.  But after British newspapers began reporting that Margaret wanted to marry "the divorced British war hero," Townsend was shipped off to a "diplomatic post in Brussels."

He previously served as an equerry to Margaret's father, the late King George VI.

Court officials "invoked the tradition that the annual Balmoral get-together" is a time of "easy informality for the royal family."

Local residents consider Lord Carnegie, 23, a likely candidate for an invitation, as he is a "near neighbor" and a childhood playmate of Prince Margaret.

Lord Carnegie, known as Jamie to his friends, has escorted the princess "frequently to nightclubs."

He has all the right qualifications for a royal suitor: "wealth, looks and an ancestral castle in the Scottish wilds."

He is the only son of the Earl of Southesk and the late Princess Maud, younger daughter of Princess Louise, eldest daughter of King Edward VII, and the Duke of Fife.  He is also the heir to the Fife dukedom, currently held by his maternal aunt, Princess Arthur of Connaught.

But Margaret "still favors" 38-year-old Townsend, whose friendship with the princess "set tongues wagging in every British household."

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