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Tom Burke performs the quick however pivotal function of Derek ‘Dazzle’ Jennings in The Crown season 4 (Supplier: Netflix)
The fascinating story of Father Derek ‘Dazzle’ Jennings, Princess Margaret’s pal, is effectively value understanding – and is instructed partly throughout The Crown season 4.
In episode seven, a curious aspect story takes the main focus of the sequence. In it, Princess Margaret leans on and turns into infatuated with a catholic priest-in-training named Derek ‘Dazzle’ Jennings (performed by Tom Burke).
The 2 develop shut earlier than discovering out a horrible secret hidden by the Royal Family – a lot of hidden family members with mental health issues that had been declared lifeless to guard the crown.
However how true is that this story? Was Dazzle an actual man? Did he have a friendship, probably much more with the princess?
It’s an interesting story, and one value understanding about. We’ve pulled collectively the vital components of the data proper right here.
Who was Derek ‘Dazzle’ Jennings?
Jennings was a senior civil servant within the British Authorities’s Division of the Surroundings who, to the shock of his mates, determined to turn out to be a priest at age 38.
Derek Jennings and Princess Margaret did preserve a friendship in actual life (Supplier: Netflix)
That is the second we meet him within the present. In actual life, this was proper earlier than he travelled to Rome to turn out to be a Catholic priest.
As soon as he’d graduated, he served in Camden and Chiswick earlier than lastly changing into the chaplain for Roman Catholic college students at King’s School London.
He’d go on to maintain fairly a well-known group of mates from Sir Alec Guinness to, in fact, Princess Margaret.
Jennings sadly would die early. On the age of 48, only a decade after deciding to turn out to be a priest, he would succumb to lymphatic leukaemia.
So did Margaret actually contemplate changing into Catholic?
It might have been sensational on the time. Her sister is the top of the Church of England, so a conversion would have been fairly the transfer.
It’s doubtlessly true too! Based on biographer Noel Botham in ‘Margaret: The Final Actual Princess’ Dazzle was very a lot a part of Margaret’s consideration.
Princess Margaret is performed by Helena Bonham Carter in season 4 of the Crown (Credit: Des Willie/Netflix)
This got here to a head, Botham writes, when Princess Margaret met Cardinal George Basil Hume at Jenning’s residence. Dazzle would later inform a fellow priest that Margaret had described the assembly as “one of the vital rewarding, fascinating and satisfying nights of her life.”
Nevertheless, Margaret would by no means make the change. Botham wrote that Margaret ultimately determined to remain loyal to her sister, the Queen, and the Church of England.
Did Princess Margaret and Father Dazzle have a relationship?
Based on Botham, Princess Margaret was definitely focused on him.
In his biography, he writes that she was “besotted by him” and “she positively simpered at him.” It seems that Margaret would attempt to transfer mountains to be near him.
Whereas Jennings rebuffed her obvious advances, the 2 maintained a pupil and teach-type dynamic round Catholicism.
Whether or not we are able to take Botham’s account as gospel, is one other debate.
Was Dazzle Jennings Homosexual?
Based on his pal, Reverend Richard Coles, he was. Coles, identified from his stint on Strictly Come Dancing and as a BBC Radio 4 presenter, spoke about his pal in his e-book, Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit.
Within the e-book, Coles writes: ‘He was in fact homosexual, though – extremely – he thought this was a secret identified solely to a couple. He discovered intimate relationships unattainable or very tough, so the celibate standing he was obliged to undertake by the self-discipline of the Roman Catholic Church suited him.’
He added: ‘Dazzle, too, in his tense, celibate state, appeared to me to have paid a excessive value for his priesthood and I had moments of dread once I noticed myself in his sneakers.’
Did Princess Margaret and Dazzle actually by no means see one another once more?
Within the present, the pair’s onscreen story is contained totally in a single episode. In it, Margaret means that the 2 ought to cease assembly in direction of the top after she decides to remain loyal to the Queen.
Nevertheless, that appears to be just like the present taking some inventive licence. Quite the opposite, Coles wrote that when Jennings was dying, Princess Margaret was one of many many eccentric visitors he stated goodbye too on his deathbed.
Sir Alec Guinness was one other.
You possibly can watch the fourth season of the Crown proper now on Netflix.