Princess Margaret’s fears of being ‘ordinary housewife’ that protected her from 'absolute heartbreak'

Princess Margaret’s fears reportedly could've inspired her not to take a life-changing step and saved her from being completely 'heartbroken'

Princess Margaret’s fears explained. Seen here visiting the new Docklands development
(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Princess Margaret’s fears of being an “ordinary housewife” could’ve protected her from “absolute heartbreak”.  

Princess Margaret’s secret romance with Group Captain Peter Townsend captured the world’s imagination and even inspired a central storyline on Netflix’s hit historical drama, The Crown. The late Queen Elizabeth’s sister has long been known as a bit of a royal rebel and Princess Margaret’s romances definitely showcased her desire to follow her heart and ignore royal tradition. So it likely came as a shock to many in October 1955 when a special radio broadcast announced that Princess Margaret had decided against marrying Peter after all. 

Princess Margaret was at Clarence House at the time of the broadcast and just weeks before had been pictured looking devastated after returning from a weekend in the country where Peter had also been a guest. Despite this, it seems that one of her close confidantes believes that Princess Margaret wasn’t really “heartbroken”.

Princess Margaret returns to Clarence House

(Image credit: Photo by Derek Berwin/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Opening up on the 2018 BBC documentary, Princess Margaret: The Royal Rebel Part 1, Lady Jane Rayne suggested that Princess Margaret’s fears of being an “ordinary housewife” might’ve protected her from being quite as upset as she appeared.

“Although she looked very sad on that day she drove away from the Palace having made the broadcast - she looked as if she was absolutely heartbroken - but I don’t think she was,” explained Lady Jane Rayne intriguingly. “I think she thought, ‘Right, I can go back to my bachelor days’. She’d weighed everything up and realized quite what her life would’ve been like.”

After growing up spending time in luxurious royal residences like Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace as the King’s daughter and later the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret was used to a glamorous life. 

Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend photographed at Harrismith

(Image credit: Photo by Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

However, Lady Jane presented the idea that had the senior royal married Peter she’d have become more “ordinary”.

She declared, “She would’ve been, not a nobody, she’d never be a nobody, but she would’ve lost part of the glamor. And I think if she’d married him she would have been a rather ordinary housewife. And she just didn’t want that at all!”

Lady Jane also expressed her belief in this enlightening documentary that Princess Margaret “loved being royal” and “wanted people to be reminded of that”. Ultimately, the Queen’s sister did go back to her “bachelor days” after releasing her Peter Townsend statement before meeting her future husband, the charismatic photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones.

Princess Margaret and her new husband Antony Armstrong-Jones leave Westminister Abbey

(Image credit: Bettmann via Getty)

In the same documentary Princess Margaret’s “absolutely livid” reaction to her Lady-in-Waiting Lady Anne Glenconner marrying was revealed. Antony took the wedding photos and he and Princess Margaret later became a couple and tied the knot in 1960 before divorcing in 1978. 

According to reports after she was told by her private secretary Lord Nigel Napier that Antony wanted to officially divorce, Princess Margaret had a totally *her* response.

“Thank you, Nigel. I think that’s the best news you’ve ever given me,” she reportedly declared.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with seven years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.