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The shock moment Princess Margaret destroyed Queen Mother’s property – ‘A terrible act!’

On his death in 2014, newspaper diarist Kenneth Rose’s most sensational stories were published on his death. Among several tongue-in-cheek stories came about the time the Queen Mother’s daughter, Princess Margaret ravaged her way through her mother’s property in an unprecedented move.

He talked of how the Queen Mother’s steward got a hold of William Tallon alone, a member of the Queen mother’s staff at Clarence House, to ask him what exactly had taken place when Princess Margaret had visited the residence to “tidy up mummy’s sitting room”.

He wrote: “She spent a week going through every drawer, wearing white gloves and stopping only for a picnic lunch, throwing away most of her mother’s personal correspondence.

“She filled no fewer than 30 black bags with the papers, which William thinks were shredded.

“Certain letters were not destroyed, mostly family: the King, Queen Mary, the Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales.

He talked of how the Queen Mother’s steward got a hold of William Tallon alone, a member of the Queen mother’s staff at Clarence House, to ask him what exactly had taken place when Princess Margaret had visited the residence to “tidy up mummy’s sitting room”.

He wrote: “She spent a week going through every drawer, wearing white gloves and stopping only for a picnic lunch, throwing away most of her mother’s personal correspondence.

“She filled no fewer than 30 black bags with the papers, which William thinks were shredded.

“Certain letters were not destroyed, mostly family: the King, Queen Mary, the Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales.

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“Since this happened, the Queen Mother has no longer kept the letters of her friends, but tears them up when read and answered.

“What a terrible act of destruction.”

Princess Margaret was the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

She was the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II.

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Her life took a dramatic turn in 1936 when her paternal uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated to marry a divorcée, Wallis Simpson, an American socialite.

It meant that her father became the king, with her sister immediately becoming the next in line to the throne – herself becoming the second in line.

Her later life was marred by illness and disability, leading to her death in 2002 after suffering several strokes leading to cardiac problems.

In a separate entry dated September 23 1984, Mr Rose wrote: “I talk with Jock Colville [former PPS to Churchill].

“Princess Margaret once said to him: ‘The two men who have ruined my life are Tommy Lascelles and Winston Churchill, who would not let me marry Peter Townsend.’

“Jock replied: ‘I don’t know about Tommy, but Winston did not want to repeat the mistake of 1936.’

“Princess Margaret was not pleased by this.”

Margaret fell in love with the Peter Townsend, while he was working as an equerry first to George VI and then to Elizabeth II.

He subsequently divorced his wife due to her adultery, before proposing to Margaret.

Margaret’s sister, the Queen, initially refused after coming under pressure from then Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the Church of England.

When Anthony Eden replaced Mr Churchill as head of the government in 1955, he was far more sympathetic to Margaret’s plight.

He drew up a plan with the Queen that would allow Princess Margaret to marry her war hero, on condition that she renounced her rights of succession and those of her children.

However, it appears that Margaret was unsure whether she really wanted to marry Mr Townsend.

In a letter to Mr Eden in which she says she will meet with the former pilot in October, the princess wrote:”It is only by seeing him in this way that I feel I can properly decide whether I can marry him or not.”

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