We look at what happened to Peter Townsend after his Princess Margaret

The Crown: Myers says season five ‘black mark’ on Charles

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  • How did Peter Townsend die?
  • What happened between Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend?
  • Season five of The Crown will be covering lots of historical events from 1991 to 1997. While most of the focus will be devoted to the dissolution of Prince Charles (played by Dominic West) and Princess Diana’s (Elizabeth Debicki) ailing marriage, the show will be shining the spotlight on some other events including the romance between Princess Margaret (Lesley Manville) and Group Captain Peter Townsend (Timothy Dalton). This is a romance which has been followed since the first series with the lovers torn apart over fears of how it would reflect on the Royal Family.

    The subsequent seasons saw Princess Margaret trying to find happiness again with a failed marriage to Lord Snowdon (Matthew Goode) and then plumping for a younger lover.

    Throughout it all, Princess Margaret seemed to be heartbroken at having lost her love Townsend, who went on to marry another woman.

    In the Netflix show, Princess Margaret seemed to be trying to find a role for herself and even wanted to share responsibilities with her sister Queen Elizabeth II (Imelda Staunton).

    Season five makes a return to her first love Townsend but here’s a look at the fate of the real-life figure, particularly after a title card at the end of episode four, which read: “Group Captain Peter Townsend 1914 – 1995.”

    How did Peter Townsend die?

    Townsend died on June 21, 1995 at the age of 80 at his home in Saint-Leger-en-Yvelines, west of Paris.

    He died from stomach cancer with his wife Marie-Luce of 37 years announcing the news outside their home.

    Princess Margaret and Townsend called time on their romance in 1955 after the royal released a statement confirming she would not be marrying him.

    Initially, they weren’t able to marry because of the 1772 Royal Marriages Act, which prevented any descendants of George III aged under 25 from marrying without the consent of the sovereign.

    In the interim, Townsend was sent to Brussels to serve as an air attaché at the British Embassy and didn’t see the royal for two years.

    Upon turning 25, Princess Margaret made the decision not to marry Townsend as it would mean relinquishing her royal privileges and rights of succession.

    Townsend later married Belgian woman Marie-Luce Jamagne in 1959 after meeting her the year before, she was 20 at the time and he was 45. The couple went on to have three children together, two daughters and a son.

    While Princes Margaret married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon in 1960 with the pair later divorcing in 1978.

    What happened between Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend?

    In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, acclaimed historian and author Marlene Koenig shed further light on the relationship between Princess Margaret and Townsend after they decided to go their separate ways, including their last meeting at Kensington Palace in 1992.

    Koenig, who specialises in British and European history, said: “They had very limited contact.

    “He had his own life with his wife in Belgium but they did meet and it was cordial and they just went their separate ways. By that time, she was divorced.”

    She went on to say about Margaret’s decision to end her plans to marry Townsend: “She had moved on. That was one of the reasons.

    “When he came back in ’55, I think she realised and that’s been a consensus among people now that she really she didn’t love him as much as she thought it did.

    “But hindsight being 20-20, it was a very difficult time. Society was very, very different and in the end he married a much younger woman in Belgium.”

    The historian said this was based on her most recent reading on the relationship between the two.

    She also addressed the idea Townsend was the great love of Princess Margaret’s life, saying it was the case “in the beginning” but as “time went on” the royal realised the relationship was “not going to work” and “the original love had evolved into something else”.

    The Crown season 5 is streaming on Netflix now

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