In 1960, the Royal Family had a serious public relations problem. Their newly married Princess Margaret, then 30 had a husband of the same age, named Antony, who was regrettably, hopelessly, unemployed. He was handsome, but without a proper job, as the British put it plainly. His official profession was photographer, such as it was.
Seven eternally blissful months had passed since the wedding, with a succession of parties, and social engagements, and holidays, but no job. Britain, never a country to mince words, was wondering if they were taking on another royal mouth to feed.
The solution to this social nightmare, for the most prominent family in the world, was to secure a top job for… not him, goodness gracious. The job was for the daughter, of course. Margaret had the name and the title, and in the proper situation, could do extremely well.
To gauge public reaction, it was volleyed about in the media that, Princess Margaret would be appointed Governor of the Bahamas, and her husband would tag along.
It went down like a lead balloon!
The Bahamas never realised how close it came to having another member of the Royal Family as Governor. Unemployed son-in-laws are extremely perplexing situations for those in nation’s limelight.
The Princess would have followed in the footsteps of her uncle, the abdicated King, the Duke of Windsor, who was governor between 1940 to 1945.
If it had happened, Princess Margaret’s tenure as Governor, would have been a disaster. Truth was, she would have been ill-equipped to take on the likes of Stafford Sands, Roland Symonette and the others who made up the Bay Street faction. They steamrolled over her uncle, the Duke, and they would have done the same to her. It is hard to imagine so delicate a flower opening a park on Wulff Road under the scorching Bahamian sun or visiting some wooden thatched-roof clinic in Mayaguana, then leaving by a chicken coop loaded mailboat.
By 1960, women didn’t even have the vote in the Bahamas. There was a full blown tug of war for political power going on that fell along racial lines. There was the insidious encroachment of the American mafia into casino gambling in Freeport and soon Nassau, which was catching the eye of the CIA and the US media. And most problematic of all, she was a woman and in 1960, it was still very much a man’s world.
A woman as Governor of the Bahamas, who ever heard of such a thing! 😉