Articles

Margaret Wants to See Us

March 15 1950
Articles

Margaret Wants to See Us

March 15 1950

Margaret Wants to See Us

Continued on page 46

Continued from page 15

private secretary, earned the wrath of a business paper, The Tailor and Cutter, for having his shirt hanging outside his shorts.

Not long afterward Margaret showed off her long shapely legs in black silk hose, garters and frilly pants dancing the cancan with Sharman Douglas at a private party in the United States Embassy.

When the New Look was considered extreme and controversial the King urged Margaret to be more moderate in her choice of clothes. The Queen told her with some asperity that she had never been a leader of fashion and did not wish to be. Margaret replied: “Well I do!”

Once when she was rebuked for overdressing she said: “I’m not going

to remain a suet pudding all my life!” On another occasion she told the American Ambassador that life at Buckingham Palace was “like living in a goldfish bowl.”

Here and there in the United Kingdom people say that Margaret is moving with a “fast set,” is too much like her “Uncle David,” the Duke of Windsor, and should not be showing off exquisite gowns and drinking champagne when the rest of the country is breaking its back to bridge the dollar gap and living in doleful austerity.

She Wants to Marry

But the great majority watch her escapades indulgently and rush to “Who’s Who” in the reference libraries whenever she appears with a new escort. She satisfies a universal longing for escape from frustration, frugality,

. political acrimony and all the other black legacies of war. Her admirers, both young and old, feast their eyes on her frail beauty, charged with such vivacity, wit and informality and see in her romantic, carefree youth with all its promise of a brighter future.

If she makes it, her trip to Canada this year will probably be her last great occasion as a single woman. She is determined to get married soon.

Princess Elizabeth at Windsor once called Margaret “a flirt” because she was so anxious to get the names of young officers of the guard on duty.

On her frequent jaunts to restaurants, night clubs and parties Margaret has been escorted by dozens of officers from all services, many eligible peers and plenty of plain “misters.”

Prince George of Denmark, the Earl of Dalkeith, the Marquess of Blandford, Lord Porchester and Thomas Egerton are considered among the most likely to win her hand. Of these Denmark and Dalkeith are believed to be her favorites.

Whoever she marries will be granted a royal dukedom, a rank that can be conferred only by the King with Cabinet consent. The choice will probably be made between the vacant dukedoms of Sussex and Essex.

Twenty-nine-year-old Prince George of Denmark is the tall, blond, handsome son of Prince Axel of Denmark. He is descended from King Christian IX of Denmark, one of whose daughters was Queen Alexandra of England, Margaret’s great-grandmother.

When Princess Elizabeth was married, Prince George danced several times with Margaret during the celebrations at the palace. At the time he was a lieutenant in the Danish Royal Life Guards. Later he became military attaché to the Danish Embassy in London. He is a frequent guest at all the royal homes. One evening at Balmoral in Scotland he

danced every dance with Margaret and they didn’t separate until the band played the National Anthem.

He is a broad-shouldered, cheerful young man who speaks English perfectly. He lives at a small hotel in Knightsbridge and is not overkeen on high life. Several times a week he sits in a local pub and talks to lawyers, stockbrokers, salesmen, taxi drivers or butchers over pints of beer.

The Earl of Dalkeith, 26, is heir of the Scottish Duke of Buccleuch and a nephew of the Duchess of Gloucester. He is an immaculate dresser but no stuffed shirt. He has laughing eyes, a high intelligent forehead and & fond of theatrical people.

It was Dalkeith who took Margaret to see Danny Kaye’s movie “TH¿ Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” After the show he took the Princess round backstage and introduced her to Danny Kaye, who was making a personal appearance. Margaret thinks Danny Kaye is the best variety artist she has ever seen.

Dalkeith is president of a new organization called Orpheus which he promoted to take grand opera round small suburban theatres. During the war he enlisted in the Royal Navy as an ordinary seaman.

The tall, fair-haired, 23-year-old, chubby-faced Marquess of Blandford, who is a lieutenant in the Life Guards, has been one of Margaret’s most frequent escorts. He is heir to the Duke of Marlborough which explains his slight resemblance to Winston Churchill. Margaret has often been a guest at Blenheim Palace,the beautiful historic home of the -Marlboroughs. Blandford was educated at Eton and Sandhurst, and is a stickler for military etiquette and discipline. He’s not brilliant but quite pleasing. His friends call him “Sonny.”

Sometimes he lets his hair down. Margaret delights in telling how he once appeared at a party masquerading as an enormous middle-aged woman. But he’d got his dates mixed. Everybody else was in evening dress.

At a dance at Blenheim Blandford once crooned for Margaret while his father, the Duke, played the drums in the band.

Lord Porchester is a dark handsome escort of 26. He is the son of the Welsh Earl of Carnarvon. Two years ago he quit the Horse Guards for farming after an intensive course in agriculture. He is Margaret’s partner frequently at West End supper dances and was one of the guests at Balmoral for the shooting in 1948.

To Her Suitors She’s “Ma’am”

The best-looking of Margaret’s escorts is Tom Egerton, dark, tall, lithe, intelligent, 31-year-old son of Commander Hugh Egerton, a Sussex landowner. Margaret was a guest at the Egerton home last February.

During the week end Margaret accompanied Tom Egerton to Lingfield Races and sat in the family pew at All Saints Church, Mountfield. On the Sunday evening she sat with the Egertons around a big log fire and entertained them with stories of her South African tour.

The fact that Egerton is a commoner doesn’t lessen his chances, friends say. If Margaret wanted him she would accept him.

Margaret entertains close friends regularly, generally to tea in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace. It is here suitors make most of their dates. They ask her frankly and naturally whether she would care to dine out with them and just like any other girl Margaret consults her diary and accepts if she is free.

If she is particularly anxious to visit a certain play or movie two or more suitable young guards officers are “detailed” to accompany her and other young society girls are invited to join the party. But for all this apparent informality, it is a strict rule that Margaret’s lady in waiting or a chaperon is always present when men are about. And she is in the constant shadow of a detective bodyguard.

All her suitors address her as “Ma’am.”

People seeking Margaret’s company at birthday parties, weddings, christenings and other formal events send her an invitation card in the orthodox way and the Queen’s secretary accepts or “regrets” according to Margaret’s engagement book and the desirability of the occasion.

Margaret, who boasts that it was she who “engineered” the wedding of Elizabeth and Philip, has watched with interest and envy the furnishing of their London home, Clarence House.

Every day she looks over advertisements of country homes for sale in the Times and society magazines. She has made a large number of sketches of the interior styles she will have when she marries. She files these in her study, a high double-windowed room on the second floor of Buckingham Palace overlooking Constitution Hill. The furniture is Victorian but not stodgy. It is upholstered in cream satin and decorated with posies.

Inthe centre of the room is a businesslike desk on which there are two telephones, a number of reference books and a leather-bound embossed engagements book bearing the royal cypher “M.” Margaret is inundated with invitations to official functions but it is the Queen, in consultation with her Secretary, Major Harvey, who decides which she should accept.

Major Harvey, known as “Tom” to the Royal Family, attends to Margaret’s correspondence after he has finished with the Queen’s. Margaret writes personal letters in her own neat feminine hand. In writing to close friends she makes many allusions to wisecracks in new plays, movies and novels. She always signs letters with the capital “M” and in accordance with court custom they are always sealed and sent registered mail.

Margaret’s “shadow” is Detective Sergeant Richard Green, a sturdy, soberly dressed man in his middle thirties who contrives always to be a few feet away from the Princess without being obtrusive. When she is driving, Green rides with Margaret’s chauffeur. When she flies, he precedes her in a second Viking of the King’s Flight.

Green would precede Margaret to Canada by a couple of weeks and make security arrangements for her protection with the RCMP.

Her Wardrobe Stretches

At a ball in Rome, during Margaret’s Mediterranean holiday last year, the pressure of moon-struck young Italians who wanted to dance with her grew so great that Green was forced to emerge from his quiet comer and organize a human hand-linking barrier of British Embassy personnel round her table.

He’s had this job for the last nine months and sometimes his heart misses a beat because Margaret’s favorite game is trying to give him the slip. On such occasions he usually gives her a reproachful look; once she winked at him saucily.

Two years ago Margaret discarded the Queen’s ideas on how she should dress and began to go her own way.

Her admiration for her aunt, that

beautiful fashionable war widow the Duchess of Kent, is well known. Looking at the Duchess once, Margaret observed ruefully: “I’m still too young to be really smart. But you wait until I’m 30!”

Although she has no official income, Margaret is not without money. She receives pocket money from the King and is allowed a limited measure of control over $600,000 left to her by the late Mrs. Ronald Greville, an old friend of the family.

Occasionally Margaret gets into hot

water for overspending on her wardrobe. She patronizes the Queen’s dressmaker, Norman Hartnell, and also Captain Molyneux, a dignified English couturier with a famous Paris salon. But most of her more fanciful clothes are now being made by a Miss Avis Ford, who has a little gown shop in ritzy Albemarle Street. Miss Ford, a tall grey-haired woman, in private life Mrs. Avis Loget.te, made some of Margaret’s clothes for the South African tour. She says her client has perfect taste. Miss Ford used to make

rompers for both Princesses when they were children. Margaret, remembering and liking her, returned to her. Often Miss Ford makes clothes to Margaret’s own designs.

In view of the number of public engagements she has to fulfill, Margaret’s wardrobe is not elaborate. Frequently she has suits, dresses and coats altered and rings the changes with hats, accessories and muffs, in order to disguise old outfits.

Despite her original and unconventional tastes Margaret has to stick to the rules which govern dress of all royal ladies with public duties to perform. Hats must always be off the face. Hair styles must be simple enough to remain tidy for hours. Shoes must be suitable to lengthy walks and much standing.

She shares the Queen’s love for fresh pastel colors, particularly pink, and therefore contrasts charmingly with Princess Elizabeth who goes in for blues, browns, greys, and greens.

In Buckingham Palace during her leisure Margaret often wears a worn beige sweater and an old tweed skirt. If she takes a walk in the Palace grounds she ties a yellow scarf over her head and when it is chilly puts on a serviceable macintosh.

Frequently she forgets she is grown up and runs along the scarlet-carpeted, white-painted corridors of the Palace with Johnnie, her Sealyham, at her

She is a most wicked mockingbird and one of her best party pieces is an impersonation of Clement Attlee, feet up on the table, head sunk in gloom, silencing an Opposition member with one of his acid remarks. Among others she impersonates are Winston Churchill, Danny Kaye and a famous British music-hall comic called Bud Flanagan.

Margaret was a great fan of the late Tommy Handley’s top - rating radio show, ITMA (It’s That Man Again), which was utterly incomprehensible to North American audiences. One of the recurring gags in this war-born piece of nonsense was a sepulchral voice through a telephone in a thick German accent: “This is Fünf spikking!”

Fünf “spikked” many tiroes through the Buckingham Palace Exchange via the lips of Princess Margaret. The King loved it.

She is an excellent dancer, a delightful singer in clear flutelike tones and a deft if slightly brittle pianist. One of her friends says: “If Margaret ever lost her job she could always make a living on the stage.”

Like nine tenths of Londoners she is crazy at the moment about “The Harry Lime Theme,” an extraordinary tune played on a zither as background to the new British movie “The Third Man.” Anton Karas, a mousy, shy little Austrian, who composed the tune and played it on his zither, was unknown until the film appeared. Today he is the most highly paid artist in London cabaret. A few weeks ago Princess Elizabeth went with a party to hear his 20-minute show. She was so enthralled that Karas played to her for four hours.

Margaret has a tiny income from the theatie. When she was three the Queen invited J. M. Barrie, author of “Peter Pan,” to tea at Glamis Castle in Scotland. Margaret took a shine to him. Some days later Barrie’s name cropped up in royal conversation. Margaret said: “I know that man. He is my greatest friend. And I am his greatest friend.”

Barrie was so touched and flattered, that he promised to make Margaret’s remark a line in his play “The Boy David.” He also said he would pay Margaret a penny every time the sentence was uttered on the stage. Margaret received a legally phrased royalties agreement. Today Barrie’s trustees send Margaret her earnings every year. She receives a bag of newly minted pennies.

Despite her appetite for light entertainment Margaret is the only member of the Royal Family with highbrow tastes. She loves classical music, particularly the piano works of Chopin and Debussy. She is a regular visitor to the Sadler’s Wells Ballet.

In restaurants she likes fancy cook-

ing. She’ll take a glass of sherry before dinner and two glasses of champagne with her meal. Once when her father refused her a second glass of sherry at a cocktail party she said : “Allright, I won’t launch any more of your old ships!” Margaret smokes lightly when alone, never in public.

She is a dunce at mathematics.

Her line of talk is animated and full of popular new generation English colloquialisms. She has been known to use “wizard” “super” and “marvelous” in exclamations of pleasure. She has always regarded the more formal mannerisms of Elizabeth with affectionate amusement. Recently after hearing Elizabeth speaking she said, “Jolly good show old girl!” A few minutes later Elizabeth dropped a packet of 10 cigarettes—the cheap popular Gold Flakes—out of her handbag and Margaret made a delighted moo of mock horror.

When she is dancing Margaret keeps up a running commentary of amusing chatter and always thaws the fright out of young men whirling her round for the first time. Last year she commanded a certain young man with whom she was dancing to look into her eyes. He flushed with confusion and said, “I’m doing so, ma’am.” Margaret smiled and said: “Well do

you know that you are looking into the

most beautiful eyes in Britain?”

Her partner swallowed hard but before he could make a gallant rejoinder Margaret went on, “The Duchess of Kent has the most beautiful nose, the Duchess of Windsor has the best chin, and I have the most beautiful

There was a short embarrassed silence and Margaret chuckled, “It says so in the newspapers! Don’t you believe what you read in the press?”

Seldom if ever has a girl of 19 exercised such an influence on the young people of so many countries. No glamorous film star with all her regiments of high-powered publicity men can match Margaret’s acreage in print. Margaret might so easily have been overshadowed by the much greater official importance of Princess Elizabeth—and now the young Prince Charles. But she has fired the imagination of half the world by being wholeheartedly herself, by blowing out of Buckingham Palace the last cobwebs of Victorianism and by giving to royalty a touch that is in tune with the

She is the blood daughter of the King and Queen but the spiritual daughter of the Commonwealth. If she comes to Canada this year, Margaret will show that a princess is not necessarily an anachronism. Ac