The Crown: Gloriana
November 25, 2016 10:28 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Margaret and Peter are reunited, but another obstacle stands in their way. Elizabeth is torn between her duty as Queen and her love for her sister. (Season finale)
posted by oh yeah! (11 comments total)
Seems like in reality the 'wait 2 years and see if you still really want to get married' plan actually worked based on this BBC article.
posted by oh yeah! at 12:29 PM on November 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, this was the episode where the screenwriters apparently decided to ditch historical veracity for the sake of drama. Everything about it really bugged me a lot.

But, if I wrestle aside my burning need for historical accuracy, I have to say that the full-throttle Requiem for a Dream -like, crescendo ending, with the Empire falling apart while the royal family writhes in emotional pain and the prime minister OD's - that was quite a magnificent way to finish off a season.
posted by sively at 3:23 PM on November 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I feel like those recaps somehow missed what seemed pretty clear - the issue of permission is a real one. And being excluded from the succession isn't nothing! I could easily see it having influence on a Princess Margaret who already feels like it would be kind of neat to be Queen.
posted by corb at 4:52 AM on November 28, 2016

And being excluded from the succession isn't nothing! I could easily see it having influence on a Princess Margaret who already feels like it would be kind of neat to be Queen.

But under Eden & Elizabeth's plan according to the article, "Princess Margaret could marry Townsend while keeping her royal title and her civil list allowance of £6,000 a year plus another £9,000 on marriage. She could live in this country and even continue with public duties if the public approved." So, having Elizabeth tell Margaret that she and Peter would have to go into exile like Edward, but be cut off financially unlike Edward is a pretty big dramatic license.

The series also never mentioned the age difference - while a 16-year difference is one thing when both people are adults, she was only a teenager when Peter started working for her father, and 17 when she fell in love with 33-year-old Peter, which is kinda skeevy. (Imagine the pile-on in Ask-Me if a 33-year-old dude posted "I'm in love with my boss's 17-year-old daughter, what should I do?)
posted by oh yeah! at 5:42 AM on November 28, 2016 [6 favorites]

Oh yeah no I find the whole thing SUPER creepy and predatory as fucking hell, and I can't help but imagine it less as "Falling in love" and more as "I am a creepy married dude who just figured out my boss's lonely 17 year old daughter has the hots for me...she's in line for some power, this sounds like an awesome idea!"
posted by corb at 7:42 AM on November 28, 2016

Elizabeth says she fell in love with Philip when she was 13, he was five years older. By the time she was 15, Mountbatten was encouraging them as a couple, I read that somewhere. What gets me is, in the show, she might as well have had an arranged marriage. I understand things got rocky when she became queen but I never got the sense watching it that they were madly in love enough for her to stand up to her family. Maybe I just need to rewatch the first episode, but since then, Philip has just been a one-dimensional complaining jerk. Does he not have any redeeming qualities?

Completely fabricating the end of Princess Margaret's engagement though, wtf? The show just had an episode explaining Elizabeth's dismal education EXCEPT for the learning the constitution part and now she looks like an idiot for not knowing the second part of the marriage act, something that was likely published in the newspapers. Then the episode shows her breaking her promise to her sister and her father. She backed down over the secretary appt. She was talked out of using the Mountbatten name. Has she prevailed at anything yet?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:26 AM on December 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm very irritated by the script's casting Elizabeth as rigidly autocratic, which flies in the face of the facts. According to the Wikipedia page on Princess Margaret, it would have been possible for her to marry Peter Townsend by renouncing her right of succession and having a civil ceremony. This latter consideration was not to be undertaken lightly if her faith meant anything to her -- she'd been told by a cleric that she could no longer take communion if she married a divorced man. Here's what her statement said:

I would like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend. I have been aware that, subject to my renouncing my rights of succession, it might have been possible for me to contract a civil marriage. But mindful of the Church's teachings that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before others. I have reached this decision entirely alone, and in doing so I have been strengthened by the unfailing support and devotion of Group Captain Townsend.

Who knows what her motivations were? I find it hard to believe that she would really care about the right of succession when she was already third in line to the throne, although perhaps the thought of also renouncing her prospective children's rights to the throne gave her some qualms -- as we now know, she would never take the throne, but at the time it might have looked possible if unlikely. Apparently she was genuinely religious, so it seems more likely to me that the thought of not being able to marry in her own church, and especially being excommunicated afterwards, was a deal breaker for her.

Wikipedia also has it that Margaret, who married Antony Armstrong-Jones five years later, "accepted her husband's proposal a day after learning from Peter Townsend that he intended to marry a young Belgian woman, Marie-Luce Jamagne, who was half his age and bore a striking resemblance to Princess Margaret", which might be telling or might only be a coincidence (but which certainly does not make Townsend seem any less skeevy. I mean, ewww).

One thing is certain, though, and that is that Elizabeth did not prevent the marriage and that Margaret herself decided not to marry Peter Townsend, whatever her reasons were. But I suppose that made for better drama than "Er, maybe after all I don't love the guy enough to give up my right of a succession and a church wedding."
posted by orange swan at 7:06 PM on December 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

That's very interesting about the actual history. In the show, Margaret should have gotten her sister to agree to a stipend like David gets, marry Townsend, and then go hang out with her uncle in Paris. He would have welcomed them.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:57 AM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also the previous advisor is a miserable little worm with a mustache. He lied to Elizabeth and he got away with it, and is still pulling strings from his retirement. Awful.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:58 AM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes, the one thing I think Elizabeth should do is put her foot down about these awful advisors. Screw the seniority. Can their bluff and demand someone who's really on her side.
posted by peacheater at 4:46 PM on December 29, 2016

I think this story about their relationship being squashed has such legs because Princess Margaret went on to be such a hot mess. Her marriage was a disaster. She just doesn’t seem to have been very happy. And while there are numbers of excellent reasons for someone in her position to be unhappy, a doomed romance is the most dramatic.
posted by bq at 11:58 AM on February 22, 2018

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