Inside Windsor Castle (2017) s01e02 Episode Script

Love and War (1936-1952)

Narrator: Windsor--
the oldest and largest
continually inhabited castle
in the world.
For 1,000 years,
it's been the symbol of
britain's royal dynasties.
For the queen, this is
a palace like no other.
Man: The windsor
castle is her home.
It is a family home as well,
and she feels very
comfortable there.
Narrator: 1,000 rooms,
hundreds of staff,
billions of dollars' worth of
paintings and fine furnishings,
5,000 acres of parkland.
Man: It's a great stage
on which the whole royal
business can be acted out.
Narrator: It's also
where the royal family
hide their secrets.
Woman: There are
documents and letters there
that I think probably
every historian
would give their eyeteeth for.
Narrator: It's been the
queen's home for 80 years.
We'll reveal what
really happened
behind the castle's
imposing walls.
We go back to the queen's
childhood years at windsor
to see how the castle
protected the royal family
during the darkest hours
of the second world war.
Man: Windsor became a
sort of center for resistance.
I mean, they used
windsor very, very well.
Narrator: We reveal
a covert mission
to bring sensitive
documents back to the castle.
Woman: Undoubtedly
there's all kinds
of sensational and
controversial papers and jottings.
Narrator: And look at
how it became the setting
for Elizabeth's
whirlwind romance
with a handsome foreign prince.
Woman: The king realizes
that if he denies Elizabeth
her chance to marry him,
she will never forgive him.
Narrator: Windsor castle
is one of the most recognizable
buildings in the world.
Millions of tourists
flock there each year.
But windsor is loved and
cherished most by one person,
her majesty the queen.
Anna Whitelock: Buckingham
Palace is very much the office,
windsor castle is
the kind of home.
It's the place that
she kind of goes to
in a very uncelebrated way
and a bit kind of on
the quiet, to escape.
Narrator: Elizabeth's
love affair with the castle
began over 80 years ago.
She never expected
to live there,
but when she was
just 10 years old,
her uncle Edward made an
extraordinary announcement
that stunned the world.
In 1936, Edward
VIII became king.
He fell in love with
Wallis Simpson,
but she was divorced.
He wanted to marry her,
but according to the
church of england,
it was impossible
for him to be king
and have a divorcee as his wife.
So he was forced to
choose between the crown
and the woman he loved.
Andrew Morton: The dark
days in December 1936,
where Edward VIII had opposition
to him marrying Wallace Simpson,
basically played
out at windsor castle.
It's where he had his tortuous
conversations with his brothers.
It's where one of his brothers,
the Duke of gloucester,
slapped him in the face.
It's also where he
made the very famous,
probably the most famous
royal broadcast of all time.
Radio announcer:
This is windsor castle.
His royal highness
prince Edward.
Edward VIII: But you must
believe me when I tell you
that I have found it impossible
to carry the heavy
burden of responsibility
and to discharge
my duties as king
as I would wish to do
without the help and
support of the woman I love.
Narrator: Edward
VIII gave up the throne
and left windsor
castle that night
for a life in exile.
He had been king
for just 10 months.
Piers Brendon: His
leaving the castle
was deeply symbolic,
because he was abandoning ship,
he was abandoning the country,
he was abandoning his duty,
he was sacrificing, in fact--
what many people felt--
he was sacrificing
duty to pleasure.
Narrator: At the time,
Princess Elizabeth
lived with her family
a few miles down the
road at the royal lodge.
Her father, bertie, was now
the next in the line to throne.
Together, with her
mother and sister,
the lives of this young family
were about to change forever.
Renamed George VI,
bertie had to move
into Buckingham Palace
and take on the small task
of ruling the largest
empire in world history.
Whitelock: George was
naturally a shy, awkward man
who wanted to live
a relatively normal
family, domesticated life.
And so it was very
much a shock to him
and really meant that
he had to summon up
all his kind of courage
and very much go
against his natural instinct
to take the position of king.
Narrator: But the
stress of the abdication
was nothing compared
to what was coming.
In 1939, just three years
after George VI became king,
britain declared war
on Nazi Germany.
Where the royal family lived,
especially the royal children,
became a national concern.
Kate Williams: When
the war broke out,
the public had no idea
what was going to happen.
They were completely terrified.
They feared an
all-out bombing raid
which perhaps would
flatten the country,
and the idea that
these two princesses
and the future
heir to the throne
could be injured or
touched by this bomb
was really terrifying.
Narrator: It was decided
that the heirs to the throne
should be kept away from London.
On the 12th of may 1940,
windsor castle was chosen
as the perfect safe house
for 14-year-old Elizabeth
and 9-year-old Margaret.
With its magnificent views
on the south side of the castle,
the royal sisters
moved into rooms in
the Lancaster tower.
Williams: These two
princesses had this gigantic castle
to explore just for themselves.
For someone like Elizabeth,
who was particularly
interested in heritage and history
and in her family's belongings,
it was somewhere that
she really loved to tour
and look at and explore
when she was a little girl.
For Margaret, it
was a place of fun.
You could run
around the corridors,
you could giggle,
you could dash
all over the place,
you could play hide and seek.
For her, it was one
big theme park of fun.
Narrator: Entrusted
with protecting
the two princesses
inside their castle
was a Scottish governess
called Marion Crawford.
Nicknamed "crawfie,"
she was an inseparable
and devoted part
of the young princesses' lives.
Nigel astell: She
was indomitable.
She had very high standards.
She demanded loyalty,
the same way that
she gave loyalty.
She sort of put her whole life
into looking after these girls.
And all she thought about
was the life they had there.
She used to talk about the
fun they used to have playing
and the huge space
there was at windsor.
Narrator: The
first year of the war
had little impact on the lives
of the princesses at windsor
or their parents in London.
But in September 1940,
waves of German bombers
began to destroy
London street by street.
The official line was
that the king and queen
remained at Buckingham Palace
throughout the blitz
in solidarity with their people.
The king is still in London
in London, in London
like Mr. Jones and Mr. Brown
the king is still
in London town ♪

Narrator: In fact,
they spent their weekdays
at Buckingham Palace
and nights at windsor castle.
Brendon: The theory is
that the king and queen
did wonders for the
morale of the people.
In fact, the king
wasn't still in London.
The king, every evening
during the worst of the blitz,
they traveled down to
windsor to spend the night.
Narrator: It wasn't
just the royals
who were sheltered
at windsor castle.
So, too, were some of the
nation's greatest treasures.
Morton: Because there'd
been some bombing there
around the tower of London,
they secretly took out
all the crown jewels,
these fabled gems,
these sapphires, these emeralds,
took them to windsor castle
and very secretly they used
pliers, they used hammers,
to prize these gems
out of the crowns
and put them into velvet bags,
then put them into hat boxes,
and hid them in the basement.
Narrator: The house of windsor
thought the family and
their jewels would be safe
inside their ancient fortress.
But the Nazis had other ideas.
Bombs would be
dropped all over britain,
and windsor would not be
spared from Hitler's evil plans.
In late 1940, towns
and cities across britain,
including windsor,
were now in the
German bombers' sights.
The castle became
the royal family's
air raid shelter.
Christopher Warwick:
Princess Margaret said
that it always seemed as
though they'd just got to sleep
when the enemy
aircraft started going over.
They had to be roused,
dressed in their
little boiler suits.
They'd got their little cases
with their bits and
pieces in that they wanted.
And then they would make
the trek way, way down
into the cellars, the
basements of the tower
in which they lived.
Williams: The best place
to shelter for windsor castle
was right in the
depths in the dungeons,
and historically
that's where their ancestors
had imprisoned all the baddies,
all the traitors,
everyone they
wanted out of the way.
So they'd been a
very unhappy place.
[Aircraft roaring]
Narrator: Deep in the dungeons,
the young girls were
surrounded by the ghosts
of windsor castle's grim past.
Some of these were
the innocent victims
of the vicious king John,
the great, great grandson
of William the conqueror.
He inherited the castle
in 1199, and from there,
he set about imprisoning
and killing his enemies.
Marc Morris: King John
was a very, very
nasty piece of work.
He really was a genuine rotter.
He falls out
with one of his great men,
William de Braose, in 1208,
and he catches up
with the Braose family.
John gets hold of his
wife and his eldest son.
And those two prisoners
he locks up and
starves to death.
The mother was
in her son's arms,
and she, in desperation,
had gnawed at his cheeks
because she was
starving to death.
Narrator: If starving people
to death wasn't bad enough,
king John nearly managed
to destroy his own castle.
Morris: John was
such a disastrous king,
very soon into his reign,
people are
rebelling against him.
It comes to a head in 1215,
when a group of barons
get John to promise to
behave better in future.
And that promise,
famously, is magna carta.
Narrator: On the
15th of June 1215,
John rode out from
windsor to nearby runnymede
to place his royal seal
on the magna carta.
It's seen as the most
important legal document
in English history.
But just a few weeks
later, war broke out,
and in 1216, windsor
castle was under siege.
Morris: John's reign ends
with not just a civil war,
but a foreign invasion
and half the country
occupied by French forces.
The French batter away at
windsor for two whole months,
throwing everything
they've got at it--
catapults, trying to tunnel
underneath the walls,
trying to throw
incendiary bombs at it.
All of these attempts
at taking the castle fail.
[Airplane roaring]
Narrator: Over 700 years later,
windsor was again under attack.
But the blitz was just one part
of Hitler's evil
master plan for britain.
After the bombing,
he planned to invade the
country and take it by force.
Windsor castle had a
top-secret escape route
for Elizabeth and Margaret.
Brian hoey: If the
Germans, for example,
if the enemy had
managed to get in
or there was a danger
that they were approaching
the castle in that way
and the normal avenues of
escape had been sealed off,
there is a secret exit
from the dungeons,
which is still there,
which takes you out
near the river thames,
and they could have been
spirited away that way.
Narrator: At the
height of the blitz,
in October 1940,
britain was teetering
on the brink of defeat.
Prime minister Winston Churchill
asked the king
to let his daughter
make a crucial
contribution to the war effort.
He wanted the 14-year-old
Princess Elizabeth
to make her very
first radio broadcast
to millions of people
around the world.
It would be recorded
from windsor castle.
Ingrid seward: There
were weeks and weeks
of preparations
with her governess.
I mean, she practiced breathing.
It wasn't just done
like she read a script.
It was very, very
carefully rehearsed.
And she was very nervous.
She read it several
times to her parents
before she actually
completed the broadcast.
Narrator: The speech was written
to offer comfort to homesick
young evacuees sent overseas.
But there was another
more important motive.
Britain was
desperate for an ally,
and Churchill believed
that the young Elizabeth
could charm america into
declaring war on the Nazis.
Seward: The speech was recorded
in one of the rooms
in windsor castle,
because I think
they wanted it to be
as sort of homely as possible.
Narrator: This
was the first time
the public had heard the
young Princess's voice.
Elizabeth needed to summon
all her weeks of practice
to remain calm and composed.
Princess Elizabeth: All of us
children who are still at home
think continually of
our friends and relations
who have gone overseas,
who have traveled
thousands of miles
to find a wartime home
and a kindly welcome
in Canada, Australia,
New Zealand, South Africa,
and the United
States of america.
Brendon: It was designed to do
what Churchill was
desperate to do,
which was to gain the
sympathy and, with any luck,
the alliance of
the United States.
But it was also designed to show
that they were good for morale.
Princess Elizabeth:
My sister is by my side,
and we are both going
to say good night to you.
Come on, Margaret.
Princess Margaret:
Good night, children.
Princess Elizabeth: Good
night, and good luck to you all.
Seward: You can
tell in that speech,
some of the ways she
pronounces her words,
that that's actually
how she always spoke.
And I love the fact
that the Americans picked up
the phrase, "come on, Margaret,"
and used it as a
sort of slang phrase.
"Hey, come on, Margaret."
Narrator: The windsor
speech was a massive success.
It was front-page news.
And a skeptical American public
was won over by
the young Princess.
Windsor castle itself became
both a symbol of defiance
and a beacon of hope
against a superior enemy.
Brendon: Windsor became
a sort of center for resistance.
I mean, they used
windsor very, very well.
They plowed up windsor park
and turned it
over to vegetables.
The queen distributed
a lot of the furniture
from windsor castle
to people who'd been bombed out.
There was a huge effort to
show that royalty was doing its bit.
Narrator: In the
chaos of world war II,
the princesses tried to
lead a normal life at windsor.
Mixing with local children
helped keep their
feet on the ground.
They were both active
members of the sea cadets
and the girl guides.
Williams: Every Thursday
afternoon from 2 till 4
they worked for their
guides cooking badge,
making cakes, making stews,
learning how to cook in the
kitchens of windsor castle
where their ancestors
would never have gone.
No royal would ever go
anywhere near the kitchens.
That was the servants.
You wouldn't touch them.
And yet here's Elizabeth,
the future queen,
in the royal kitchens.
Narrator: Surprisingly,
Elizabeth's wartime
experiences at windsor castle
are some of the
happiest in her long life
Thanks in part to the arrival of
a tall and handsome young man
as a guest at Christmas, 1943.
Prince Philip was a
22-year-old war hero
who changed the
destinies of both the country
and the 17-year-old
Princess forever.
A royal with German ancestry,
Philip had been prince
of Denmark and Greece.
Williams: The
castle is fantastic.
It's huge, it's historic.
He never really
had a family home.
And Philip is a person who
doesn't have much money,
and there's some rather
unkind mockery made of him
when he comes
to visit the castle,
because when his bag
is unpacked by the valets,
they realize he's only
got one pair of pajamas.
He just really hasn't
got very much money.
Philip eade: His own family life
had been completely
sort of blown apart.
His mother had a very
bad nervous breakdown
and was forcibly taken
off to a sanatorium.
His father also more or less
abandoned the family as well.
Narrator: Despite this,
Elizabeth had her
eye on the young man.
And she had the perfect
opportunity to impress him.
The highlight of windsor's
wartime christmases
was the annual pantomime,
performed in one of the
castle's grandest spaces.
Paul burrell: Waterloo chamber
at windsor castle is huge.
It has a massive ceiling
which is over-lit by a
dome with windows in it
to let the light in.
The room is just surrounded
by portraits of the
Duke of Wellington
and the generals who fought
at the battle of Waterloo.
So that's a very famous room.
Narrator: The Waterloo chamber
was converted into a theater
fit for royalty every Christmas.
And in the 1943 pantomime,
Elizabeth demanded the
starring role in Aladdin,
with Margaret
supporting her big sister.
Philip was going to
be in the audience.
Elizabeth was hoping
to sweep him off his feet.
Williams: Here's
Elizabeth on stage,
she's the lead role,
she's giving all the lines,
she's giving them marvelously.
It's a completely different view
of Elizabeth and of her figure.
She's 17,
and she looks absolutely
fantastic in these tights
and in these sort
of short shorts.
Narrator: According
to the story,
Aladdin is given three wishes.
Princess Elizabeth
was granted one.
Sitting in the front row,
the prince was charmed
by her performance.
Eade: He was seen
to laugh very loudly
at all the bad jokes,
and Princess
Elizabeth, meanwhile,
was more animated than
anyone had ever seen her.
The evident frisson between them
seemed to continue
at windsor castle.

Williams: For prince Philip,
seeing the royal family
and Elizabeth at Christmas
really transformed
his view of them.
That was everything
he'd ever wanted--
a close family who
talked to each other,
played cards, played charades.
These simple pleasures
that he hadn't had
because his family life
had been so very unhappy.
So going to windsor
was his chance to
experience that family life.
Narrator: Over Christmas,
Philip and
Elizabeth's relationship
went into overdrive.
When the king and queen realized
just how close the young
couple had become,
they were both
shocked and appalled.
Whitelock: When Elizabeth
fell in love with Philip--
and she really did.
I mean, she fell head
over heels in love
with this very handsome man.
But it was sort of ironic
that Philip would have
been sort of perfect
by the standards of the 1930s,
but now things have changed.
The fact that he came
from a German background
meant that he was
far less desirable.
Narrator: Any connection
with Hitler's Germany
was a public relations disaster.
Three of Philip's four sisters
had married prominent Nazis.
One of his nephews was
even named Karl Adolf
in honor of the fuhrer.
But Princess Elizabeth
was madly and blindly in love.
Williams: The king realizes
that no matter how
much he distrusts Philip,
no matter how much
he doesn't like him,
if he denies Elizabeth
her chance to marry him,
she will never forgive him.
And so he has to do it,
he has to let her marry him.
Narrator: King George VI
didn't have the heart
to end the relationship.
Instead he told the young
couple they had to keep it secret
until after the war.
But when the war in
Europe ended in may 1945,
windsor castle had a much
more difficult problem to deal with.
George had been
tipped off that his brother,
the exiled king Edward VIII,
may have committed treason
by making shady
deals with the Nazis.
If so, it was a dark secret
that must be hidden at all costs.
Morton: What George
VI was terrified about
was the public finding out
about his older brother
being basically a Neo-Nazi.
Here's a man who contacted
the Nazis during the war,
has little interest
in britain's survival.
So in a way it would be very
embarrassing for the Duke,
but also crippling
for the royal family
and for the monarchy.
Narrator: The royal
family was led to believe
that incriminating documents
existed in post-war Germany
and that the documents stated
that if Hitler
conquered britain,
Edward would retake the throne
with his wife, Wallis Simpson.
A daring plan was hatched
to recover the evidence
before the press discovered it
and stash it inside
windsor castle.
Brendon: The royal family
were anxious to make sure
that any correspondence
that had taken place
between the Duke
and the Nazi regime
should be under wraps.
And so, it appears
courtiers from windsor castle
were sent across to Germany
to bring back
various manuscripts
which have disappeared.
Narrator: In the
months after the war,
the royal courtiers made
several trips to Germany
and brought a trove of
materials back to windsor castle.
It's unknown if the courtiers
found what they wanted,
because everything they
brought back was locked away.
Brendon: We do not
know what happened,
and we probably won't
know what happened
for hundreds of years,
or a hundred years at any rate.
Narrator: The documents
are part of a vast cache
that the royal family
keep under lock and key
in the round tower.
It's called the royal archives.
It's where the house of windsor
keeps all its most
intimate secrets.
Anne de courcy:
Windsor, of course,
is a repository for secrets.
There are documents
and letters there
that I think probably
every historian
would give their eyeteeth for.
Narrator: The royal
family ruthlessly control
who can access the archives
and what exactly
they're allowed to see,
including Edward VIII's letters.
The secret hoard of
personal correspondence
stretches back 250 years.
For royal biographers,
it's a gold mine.
De courcy: The first time I
went to the royal archives,
I found it frightfully
difficult to get into
because, first of all, you
have to go to the round tower,
and you go up a lot of steps,
and the security is intense.
You aren't even allowed
to go to the loo by yourself.
Somebody accompanies you
and stands outside the door.
It is, after all,
their private letters.
One mustn't forget that.
Any family has reservations
about who sees all the most
intimate diaries and letters.
Brendon: The royal
archives contain
lots of private royal things,
but they also contain
lots of material
that ought to be in
the public domain.
Royalty is controlling the past.
And as we know, those
who control the past
have a great interest
in controlling the future.
Narrator: But they're not the
only secrets hidden at windsor.
The castle is one of the
royal family's giant safes,
home to a vast and
private collection of artwork.
It's called the
royal collection--
one of the finest, largest,
and most valuable troves
of art and jewelry in the world.
Brendon: Windsor castle
is a huge treasure chest,
it's a vast cornucopia
of art objects.
Much of it is imperial loot.
Every time a victorious general
conquered some
outpost of empire,
he would send
back the prize jewels.
Narrator: Almost every one
of the castle's 1,000 rooms
is crammed with
priceless objects,
while its shelves are stuffed
full of ancient manuscripts
and first editions.
Brian hoey: You've got
renoirs and manets and monets.
It's extraordinary, it's
quite extraordinary.
I saw a couple of
canalettos there.
And I thought, I
wonder if they're real?
And I thought, silly me,
of course they're real.
There's nothing fake here.
Brendon: Every artist
you've ever heard of
is represented
in windsor castle.
There must be something
like two million separate objects,
of which the public have
seen a tiny, tiny fraction.
This vast collection
of goodies
It's worth
Estimates vary,
but, I mean, it's worth perhaps
10 billion, perhaps 50 billion.
Narrator: The collection
is truly priceless.
And in 1947, it
grew a bit bigger.
That year, despite
resistance from her parents,
Elizabeth married Philip
on the 20th of November.
The public was overjoyed.
Williams: Wedding
gifts were sent
to Philip and Elizabeth
from all over the world,
and they were displayed on show,
and there were queues of
people trying to see them.
They weren't resentful
of this big wedding.
They were actually
excited about it
and very hopeful that this
meant the end of the dark days
and the beginning of a
marvelous future for britain.
Narrator: That future soon
began to take shape in 1948,
when Princess Elizabeth
gave birth to Charles.
Anne followed two years later.
Apart from rare appearances
in front of the cameras,
raising children at windsor
has always been a private affair.
But in 1950, the
world got a unique look
at behind-the-scenes
life inside the castle.
Devoted to the royal family,
the Scottish governess
Marion Crawford
had looked after Elizabeth
and Margaret for 17 years.
Now she would find
out what happens
if you reveal windsor secrets.
Williams: Normally a governess
would expect to be the governess
to the next set of children,
but that doesn't really happen,
and instead she's given
a grace and favor cottage.
She's given her
own cottage to live in,
and instead what she
does is she's rather naive.
She thinks, I know,
I'll write a book.
Narrator: Crawfie
wrote an account
about her life with the royals
and seemed to have no
idea she was crossing a line.
Called "the little princesses,"
its pages are full of memories,
like tea parties with the
girls inside the castle,
hiding in the dungeons,
and the royal pantomimes.
However, she wrote the
book without royal permission.
Astell: It's something
that people can pick up,
they can read,
and they can get an
understanding of what happens
in the ordinary parts of the
days with the royal family.
You know, when they're
not out on state visits,
what they do at home,
how they are as a family.
Narrator: The
extremely private lives
of Elizabeth and Margaret,
as well as the king
and queen themselves,
were now on full public
display in crawfie's book.
In royalty-obsessed america,
it became a best-seller,
and Crawford became
a very rich woman.
Williams: There is this
amazing advert at the time
for "the little princesses"
in an American newspaper,
and it says, "come
into our castle!"
Come into our castle?
And they've got this
really brilliant picture
of windsor castle.
So they're saying,
if you read this book,
you will get privileged
access into windsor castle.
Narrator: But "the
little princesses"
also revealed that the king
and queen were old-fashioned
and often absent parents.
It was an embarrassing
and deeply personal
leak of royal secrets
that could not go unpunished.
Marion Crawford was
shut out of royal circles
and expelled from windsor.
Astell: It became a tragedy
Just because there was a
lady who had done everything
with the finest intentions.
There is no salacious gossip.
It is all just
straight reporting
and reporting with love.
But she then had to live
her life as the outcast.
Narrator: Crawfie never
saw the princesses again.
Banished from castle life,
her treatment was intended
to prevent anyone else
from selling out
the royal family.
Astell: She held them
in very high esteem.
I found it absolutely amazing
that she never said a
bad word about them.
And I was never allowed
to say a bad word.
I've always wanted
to meet the queen
and explain to her
how crawfie felt.
Narrator: Crawfie's
tell-all book
wasn't the end of
the family's trouble
with servants at windsor castle.
In the 1950s, it was
the king's equerry,
group captain Peter townsend,
who became an even
bigger problem for the royals.
His presence at windsor
set off a scandal that
ruptured the family
and pitted sister
against sister.
Christopher Warwick:
Peter townsend,
he was a very distinguished
battle of britain fighter pilot.
He was highly decorated.
He was very much a firm favorite
and a firm fixture
within the royal family
and within the royal household.
Narrator: Townsend
and his young family
had been fixtures at
windsor since 1945,
when he was given an
exclusive royal residence,
Adelaide cottage,
on the grounds of the castle.
Hoey: Adelaide cottage
is a beautiful grace
and favor home.
It's very pretty.
Parts of it look a little bit like
a Swiss cottage, I suppose.
A very large Swiss
cottage because it's about--
it has five or six bedrooms,
some very, very
nice reception rooms.
But inside it feels cozy.
Narrator: This handsome
new arrival at windsor
made an instant impact
on one impressionable
member of the family.
Princess Margaret
began to make excuses
to visit townsend
at Adelaide cottage,
just a stone's throw
from the castle.
Warwick: He was
extremely good-looking,
very, very charming,
great company,
and Princess
Margaret, it was felt,
like a lot of girls,
that she'd got a crush on him.
Narrator: He was 16 years
older than the young Princess.
But Margaret didn't care.
Windsor was her
private playground,
and townsend was a willing
participant in their flirtation.
Williams: Windsor was where
he and Margaret could be free.
No one was looking at them,
no one was watching
them or photographing them.
They went out walking together,
they enjoyed the
outside together,
they did really
spend time together.
So to him, windsor's
this idyllic place
that developed their
relationship in privacy.
Narrator: In the secure
sanctuary of windsor,
Peter and Margaret's friendship
developed into
a full-blown affair.
But a dark cloud would threaten
this charmed and secret world.
King George VI's health
was rapidly deteriorating.
In June 1951, he
escaped to windsor,
hoping the country air
might help his recovery.
Whitelock: Windsor once again
was this kind of place of
refuge where he recuperated,
and it was hoped would
actually fully get better.
It did seem like he'd
turned the corner
and was on a road to recovery.
Narrator: But it
was only temporary.
A lifelong smoker,
George was terminally
ill with cancer.
An emergency operation
to remove a lung
couldn't save him.
He died suddenly on
the 6th of February 1952,
aged just 56.
News announcer:
To royal windsor,
home of kings for 900
years, he comes home.
Through the old town
and on towards the castle
the procession heads.
Journey's end is near.

Narrator: On the
15th of February 1952,
the coffin of king George VI was
brought to St. George's chapel
in the heart of windsor castle.
His death triggered
turmoil within his family.
Now, aged just 25,
his daughter was on the throne.
Elizabeth was the
youngest monarch
since queen Victoria.
She now had to lead
not only a shocked nation,
but her grief-stricken family.
Warwick: The
family was fractured.
Elizabeth became queen.
She was a wife,
she was a mother.
She's got all the responsibility
of sovereignty on her shoulders.
Her mother, widowed,
was totally in a
dark world of grief.
So you've got Margaret,
on her own, feeling lost
And pretty vulnerable
in many ways.
Narrator: Utterly distraught,
Princess Margaret turned to the
man who was secretly her lover,
group captain Peter townsend.
Williams: The relationship
between Margaret and Peter
really accelerates, it
really hits a second level.
And Peter townsend
has divorced his wife,
and he decides he wants
to marry Princess Margaret.
Narrator: In early 1953,
townsend and Margaret met up
in one of the most private
and opulent rooms in the castle,
the crimson drawing room.
Burrell: It's named after
the crimson silk damask
wallpaper and curtains
which hang in that room,
and, famously, two
very important portraits
of king George VI
and queen Elizabeth
the queen mother
in their coronation robes
are either side the fireplace.
Narrator: Free to marry again
and away from prying eyes,
Peter proposed to the
22-year-old Princess.
They decided to keep their
engagement under wraps.
But this was one secret
that couldn't be hidden away
inside windsor castle.

The queen's coronation
at Westminster Abbey
on the 2nd of June 1953
was the most spectacular
display of royal power
ever caught on camera.
The eyes of the world and
the press were watching,
hungry for any royal gossip.
Williams: It's all
gone brilliantly.
Elizabeth's got the crown
on her head, it's all great,
but then Margaret is in the
porch of Westminster Abbey,
and there's Peter townsend.
She's talking to him,
he's in front of her.
No problem with that.
But then she sort of flicks
some dust off his collar,
and that seems an
incredibly intimate move.
And unfortunately, because
the world's press is there,
they realize it's a
romantic relationship.
Narrator: One
sharp-eyed reporter
blew the affair wide open.
The handsome divorce
and the beautiful Princess
was a huge story.
Williams: It is an incredible
shock to Margaret and Peter
that when their relationship
is no longer this
private thing at windsor,
but this huge public affair
Everything that
they had in windsor
is pretty much shattered,
the innocence that
they had is shattered.
They suddenly realize
that their marriage
cannot be a private thing.
Margaret's a public figure,
and so it has to be a
public cause for concern.
Narrator: Margaret's engagement
suddenly became her
sister's most difficult challenge.
If Margaret married a divorce,
she would have to live
abroad, lose her court status,
and come off the royal payroll.
With echoes of the
abdication crisis in 1936,
queen Elizabeth had to
make her see the light.
Warwick: On a personal level,
the queen was delighted
that her sister had found love.
But the queen also is a
very uncomplicated woman.
She really couldn't
understand her sister.
She couldn't understand
why Margaret had
to complicate her life
by becoming involved
with a married man.
Narrator: Elizabeth
made the first
big decision of her reign.
She put duty first and
separated the couple.
Six weeks after the coronation,
Peter townsend had to
leave Adelaide cottage
and was sent to work
abroad for two years.
When he returned, the separation
from windsor had done its job.
Margaret ended the engagement,
and their famous
romance was over.
Warwick: She did say
to me on one occasion,
"how do you know after
two years of being apart
if you still want to
marry somebody?"
My own feeling is
that whilst they still had
enormous affection
for one another,
they'd actually
fallen out of love.
Narrator: Through the
betrayals and the scandals
of those closest to her,
queen Elizabeth learned
harsh lessons the hard way.
Duty always came
before pleasure.
For the rest of her life,
she would keep her
own secrets to herself
and safe inside her
favorite home and fortress,
windsor castle.
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