If you're a fan of the Netflix series The Crown, you may know a thing or two about Princess Margaret and Captain Peter Townsend. While the show is fictional, it is based on true stories. The show's creator Peter Morgan has ample material. Morgan even called Margaret's life "a terrific story" when interviewed by Radio Times.
According to The Telegraph, Margaret met Townsend when she was a teenager. He was nearly twice her age, married, and working for her father, King George VI, at the time. Townsend continued working for the family after Margaret's father passed and he and his wife eventually divorced. Margaret, much like her Uncle Edward, fell in love with a divorcee, which was obviously quite scandalous! Soon, the press caught onto their secret relationship and, in an attempt to kibosh the rumors, Townsend was sent to work in Brussels.
In a letter to the Prime Minister in 1955, Margaret wrote, "[I]t is only by seeing [Townsend] in this way that I feel I can properly decide whether I can marry him or not. At the end of October or early November I very much hope to be in a position to tell you and the other Commonwealth Prime Ministers what I intend to do."
Ultimately, Margaret made the difficult decision not to marry Townsend. Margaret's close friend Lady Mary Russell expounded on the decision in the article, "We still felt it wouldn't be possible… for her in her position to marry Peter Townsend."