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Why Princess Margaret & Peter Townsend’s Relationship Is Still The Most Heartbreaking Story On ‘The Crown’

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Why Princess Margaret & Peter Townsend’s Relationship Is Still The Most Heartbreaking Story On ‘The Crown’

True love is supposed to conquer all, right? Well, not if you’re a royal on The Crown and divorce is involved. It is seasons later already, and I’m still reeling from the breakup of Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend. The marriage the Establishment could never let be.

As Season 4 looks to be the tale of another royal relationship that captured the imagination of the British populace, I reflected on the star-crossed lovers of Season 1 that plucked at my heartstrings and snapped them in two when they were torn asunder.

So, why do we still care? Why did their love story find sympathy with millions? Well, let's dive into the forces at work that kept the couple apart, and why we still rooted for them anyway.

These Kids Were Mad for Each Other

Despite the rules of engagement amongst royals where divorces were a taboo threatening to topple the monarchy — look at Edward VIII's abdication from the throne to wed divorcee Wallis Simpson — Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend were willing to throw caution to the wind and plunge deep into their love for each other. It was the 1950s. The coronation was televised. It was a new, modern world.

From the get-go of The Crown, we see the "particular friendship" between the air force officer and the young royal, whose romance is only further cemented once Peter's first wife formally files for divorce after she has an affair with another man. As equerry to her father, King George VI, Townsend was thrust right into the throes of the Windsors, and Margaret sought solace in her steadfast companion when her father passed. After all, her sister may have been her father's pride, but she was his joy, a win she cherishes.

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