A PRINCESS UNDONE

28 Feb

A PRINCESS UNDONE
At the Park Theatre

‘Opera? Fat bloated people shouting at each other’, A typical remark by Princess Margaret played by Felicity Dean as a bitchy, intelligent, resentful woman who hates her station in life and takes out her discontent on other people
She is squired in this piece by a young fair haired Billy, William Tallon, butler to Her Majesty the Queen Mother, but for some reason spends his spare time looking after the most difficult member of the Royal Family. She bullies him abominably – the way she treated most other people! Only excepting the Queen her sister to whom she is fiercely loyal.
This play takes us back to 1986 when a photograph inspired the Richard Stirling to pen this play. In the picture she is holding a cushion with the words. “Its not easy being a Princess” a phrase she uses many times during the performance.
Margaret was a very popular in her youth with people around her age. When she broke off her engagement to Captain Peter Townsend, her true love (they said) because it was against Royal protocol for a member of the Royal Family to marry a divorced man, this was a sad love story that they found very moving.
Finally she married Antony Armstrong-Jones, well known as a show business photographer taking many photos of attractive young actresses. When they married his life took a new turn, he became the Earl of Snowden and the prime member of what was known as The Margaret Set.
Stirling’s play is concerned with her life after the divorce. The eighties had brought in a new phase in the lives of the Royals. With the assistance of the wives of the Queen’s children they became targets for the press instead of the darlings of them. All the infidelities including Margaret’s rude treatment of others became public news.
When she is busy trying to get rid of incriminating documents about the family, she is visited first by a charming young thief (Alexander Knox)and then by an unpleasant, ex lover (Patrick Toomey)who treats her without respect.
It is a tragic story.
The play ends with her saying “It’s not Easy, being a Princess”.

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