The Queen's younger sister eventually falls in love with photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, but not before a brief engagement to her friend Billy Wallace.
In 1956, just one year after she made the announcement that she would not be marrying Townsend, Princess Margaret decided it was better to marry "somebody one at least liked" than to spend the rest of her life alone, and she agreed to marry Billy Wallace.
Princess Margaret with Billy Wallace (right).
The pair had been friends a long while and ran in similar circles. Wallace's father was Euan Wallace, who served in the British government, notably the Minister of Transport in 1939. According to CNN, when his father died in 1941, he left Billy "a large legacy."
However, Margaret and Billy's relationship hit a snag, and the engagement was never formally announced. According to CNN, "Convinced that the queen's approval would be given, Wallace went off to the Bahamas and had a brief romance. So confident was he that nothing could prevent the engagement, he told the princess about it on his return. He was astonished when she promptly showed him the door."
For his part, Wallace wasn't so convinced that Peter Townsend was the love of Margaret's life and he saw himself as one that got away. "The thing with Townsend was a girlish nonsense that got out of hand," Wallace later said. "It was never the big thing on her part that people claim. I had my chance and blew it with my big mouth."
Princess Margaret would go on to meet her future husband, Antony-Armstrong Jones, just a few years later, and in 1965, Wallace married Elizabeth Hoyer Millar. Princess Margaret was a guest at their wedding.
Elizabeth Hoyer Millar
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.