Rosemary Camden
British noble
Rosemary Camden
Rosemary Pratt, Marchioness Camden was a British socialite and artist, best known as the first wife of Peter Townsend, the man who later hoped to marry the late Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom. Rosemary was the daughter of Brigadier-General Hanbury Pawle CBE DL (1886-1972), a Deputy Lieutenant for Hertfordshire, by his marriage to Mary Cecil Hughes-Hallett (d. 1971), both of whom were from families of the landed gentry. On 17 July 1941 at Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, she married Peter Townsend (1914-1995). Townsend was a decorated Royal Air Force pilot, who early in the Second World War had brought down the first German bomber to crash in England since 1918. In 1941, he was recovering from injuries incurred in a dogfight. The young Rosemary met the glamorous young ace, and married him after a whirlwind two-week courtship. Townsend later joined the Royal Household in 1944 under an "equerries of honour scheme". With Townsend, she had two sons, Giles (born 1942) and Hugo (born 1945). King George VI acted as godfather to Hugo, who was briefly a monk and later married a Belgian noblewoman, Yolande Princesse de Ligne.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2004
    Age 82
    Died in 2004.
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  • 1983
    Age 61
    He died in 1983, and she died in London on 27 February 2004, aged 82, having outlived all three of her husbands: Townsend died in 1995 and de László in 1990.
    More Details Hide Details She was survived by three sons and one daughter: Giles Townsend (b. 1942), Hugo Townsend (b. 1945), Charlotte Watkins, née de László, and Piers de László. and several grandchildren.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1977
    Age 55
    She was divorced from her second husband in 1977; and on 12 January 1978, at Kensington registry office, she became the third wife of the 5th Marquess Camden.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1952
    Age 30
    The accounts of this period are somewhat in conflict, and some obituaries for Rosemary and her former husband have suggested a different story behind the official one. Princess Margaret and Townsend became close at some point before Townsend sued for divorce in November 1952; most obituaries state that the Princess turned to Townsend for comfort after the sudden death of her father in February 1952.
    More Details Hide Details Rosemary married de László a year later and they had two children, Piers and Charlotte. John de László worked first in export and later as a stockbroker. Meanwhile, his wife became a painter, from which she made an income. According to The Times obituary, she had previously refused large sums from newspapers which wanted exclusives. She never spoke publicly about her first marriage or her divorce.
    Their marriage began to collapse due to Townsend's prolonged absences from home. According to news reports, he later discovered Rosemary's affair with John de László, the youngest son of the painter Philip de László, and was granted a decree nisi in 1952 for his wife's adultery.
    More Details Hide Details Since Townsend was a divorced man, and divorce was then anathema to the British Establishment and the Royal Household, Princess Margaret was later effectively forbidden to marry Townsend, told that she would lose her Royal status and privileges if she did so.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1944
    Age 22
    Townsend later joined the Royal Household in 1944 under an "equerries of honour scheme".
    More Details Hide Details With Townsend, she had two sons, Giles (1942–2015) and Hugo (born 1945). King George VI acted as godfather to Hugo, who was briefly a monk and later married a Belgian noblewoman, Yolande Princesse de Ligne.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1941
    Age 19
    On 17 July 1941 at Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, she married Peter Townsend (1914–1995).
    More Details Hide Details Townsend was a decorated Royal Air Force pilot, who early in the Second World War had brought down the first German bomber to crash in England since 1918. In 1941, he was recovering from injuries incurred in a dogfight. The young Rosemary met the glamorous young ace, and married him after a whirlwind two-week courtship.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1921
    Born
    Born in 1921.
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