PRINCESS MARGARET by Christopher Warwick


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The first to besmirch Princess Margaret, it appears, was her old governess Crawfie--who portrayed her (in The Little Princesses, 1950) as much less lovable than sister Elizabeth. More recently, there was the matter of young Roddy Llewellyn: they really weren't alone in that celebrated Caribbean photo (another couple was cropped out); she and Roddy, moreover, ""shared nothing more torrid or passionate than what may be called a loving friendship"" (whatever that is supposed to mean). Margaret has not exactly told her own story to author Warwick, however; rather she has let Warwick know (in ""many frank conversations"") what she takes exception to--from childhood apocrypha to legends of the postwar ""Margaret set"" (they were really the friends of buddy Sharman Douglas) to the latter-day insinuations of James Brough and Nigel Dempster. We also hear, along the way, that she never thought herself talented enough to be a professional actress or singer. ""With the benefit of hindsight,"" she doubts that she and lost-love Peter Townsend would have been happy. She ""strongly denies"" that she married Anthony Armstrong-Jones ""on the rebound."" And in the book's closest approach to tale-telling, she does make him look bad: intimates opposed the marriage; he quickly became restless, broke an agreement over the choice of a country retreat, threw her together with a male friend (perhaps ""to justify his own interest in other women""), ultimately turned caustic, belittling, uncommunicative. (He didn't, however, confront the Queen with that damning photo--he just moved out, as they'd already discussed.) The book's other emphasis is on Margaret's busy schedule (samples are provided) in justification of her cost to the Realm. Except for inveterate Margaret-watchers, it's tame and mostly stale stuff--though certainly less offensive, even in its fawning way, than Dempster's 1982 sneer.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's