A dashing lawyer and a princess — the foundations of a royal romance?
A future prime minister John Turner and Britain's Princess Margaret may have "nearly married," according to a recently unearthed cache of letters written by the princess from 1950 to 1966.
- CBC Archives | John Turner: Destiny and determination to lead
The letters, provided to CBC News by Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail newspaper, were written to Margaret's lifelong friend, American socialite Sharman Douglas.
"John Turner is here & we meet on Thursday," Margaret wrote from Kensington Palace on May 16, 1966.
"It will seem so funny as we haven’t met since I nearly married him & he’s bringing his wife!"
The future Liberal prime minister had met 27-year-old Margaret in British Columbia in 1958 during the princess's summer visit to Canada. As the guest of Turner's stepfather (who was lieutenant governor at the time), Turner, then 29, was asked to entertain her.
The pair made headlines.
"Princess Margaret sat in the moonlight last night in an intimate tête-à-tête with a young bachelor-lawyer," the Toronto Telegram reported. "Hardly anyone noticed the couple as they chatted, laughed, sipped drinks and smoked cigarettes."
After flying to Ottawa to accompany her to a ball, the two called off their blossoming friendship, reportedly because of a royal command from Buckingham Palace.
The two remained good friends. Turner was the only non-governmental Canadian guest invited to her 1960 wedding.