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The Name Game #2: When Margaret Meets the Queen!

By my queenstown on Saturday, October 9, 2010 with 0 comments

The road sign stood proudly against the green and lush backdrop. When Margaret lends her name to the first district in Queenstown estate, the empty fields around that road sign were swamps, farms and kampungs. As the British planners acquired these farmlands at Margaret Drive in the late 1940s and early 50s, these Boh Beh Kang villagers put up resistance by joining the Singapore Attap Dwellers Association. The Association was led by a Labour Front (the David Marshall's party) politician and delayed the clearing. Princess Margaret Esate wasn't completed until 1956.

Margaret Drive, affectionately known as "Xin Lu," was a road constructed in the early 50s that was parallel to Commonwealth Avenue and Alexandra Road. This stretch of winding motorway capture the rise and decline of Queenstown in a heartrending and nostalgic manner. She was home to the first high rise public housing entity, the first public library, the first polyclinic and the infamous remand prison. She was the focus of activities for many of its residents in its heydays.

Forfar House in 1955

There were many buildings that were gone, and many others would follow soon. She was once a home to hundreds of families and thousands of young people with lofty aspirations. When the remaining two buildings are emptied by the end of this year, all that liveliness and enthusiasm will dissipate away.  

Skaters used to visit Margaret Drive

The dignified lady who lent her name to Queenstown's first district is none other than Princess Margaret. Born in 1930, she was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Margaret spent much of her earlier life with her elder sister. Her life changed dramatically in 1936 when her father became the King abruptly, putting Elizabeth first in line to the throne and Margaret was second in line to the throne.

She was considered by many as one of the more controversial figures in the British royal family. In 1953, she informed Elizabeth of her desire to marry Peter Townsend, a divorced Comptroller of her mother's household. Then, Elizabeth was proclaimed the Queen and planned to tour the Commonwealth nations for half a year. Princess Margaret's proposed marriage was refused approval from the Church of England, the British Cabinet and prime ministers of Commonwealth nations. The marriage was soon called off.

Princess Margaret's Visit to Singapore in 1972.

Her wedding to photographer, Antony Armstrong Jones in 1960 was the first royal wedding broadcasted on television. She had two children.  Reportedly, she had numerous extramatrial affairs ranging from Rolling Stones frontman, Mick Jagger to cricketer Keith Miller and was termed as a "royal parasite." Her health took a dramatic turn in the late 1980s as she was admitted to hospital frequently. A heavy smoker and drinker, she passed away at the age of 71 in 2002.

Visit to a Primary School in Chip Bee Gardens

After her sister's coronation, she began her royal duties to many parts of the world, including Queenstown. In October 1972, she visited the Housing Development Board, Chip Bee Gardens and several other locations in Singapore on a 2-day official visit. This is also the first and only time she visited Queenstown.

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Category: Name Game , Places , recent



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