Thanks once again to the merits of cyberspace I find myself in the autumn of 1912 speaking to Margaret Franklin who recently wed the Lynchcliffe family chauffeur Lewis Franklin.
Me: It’s very kind of you to spare me some of your precious time Mrs Franklin.
Margaret: Please call me Margaret for my husband and I don’t stand on ceremony and you are very welcome.
Me: So was it love at first sight for you and your husband Lewis?
Margaret: (Smiles) Yes. I knew that I wanted him from the moment we met. It was actually more complicated getting together because I was raised a lady so he was considered beneath me socially.
Me: How did you feel when you were finally told the truth about your origins?
Margaret: I was confused initially but once I realised that it meant there was no social barrier between myself and Lewis I got quite excited about it.
Me: You were raised by Lady Lynchcliffe’s estranged sister Lady Trevelyan and her husband. How did they treat you?
Margaret: Celia was not the warmest or most loving mother but she did her best. I’m thankful that she gave me a chance at life and she really did love her husband (Lord George Trevelyan) although I don’t think she always found it easy to show it.
Me: I understand that you did not know that Celia had a sister until after she perished on RMS Titanic?
Margaret: It was a huge shock for I could not, still can’t if I’m honest, understand how someone can deny they have a sister.
To this day I still don’t know exactly why they fell out but I do know that Lady Helena tried to make amends when her own children were younger and they have always known that they had an aunt although they never met her.
Me: You were studying in Paris when the Titanic went down?
Margaret: Yes I was studying French literature and having a great time. Paris is a wonderful city and I really hope that I get to go there with Lewis one day to imbibe the romantic atmosphere.
Me: Do you have any regrets in life?”
Margaret: (Smiles) I’m only twenty-one. I regret never being able to know my real mother but if she had lived then I would never have met Lewis so I think it’s more an unfulfillable wish than a regret.
Me: I understand that you’re pregnant. Congratulations!
Margaret: Thank you. Lewis and I are really excited about it and I know he will be a wonderful father. I have got over my fear of childbed fever and I want to give Lewis lots of children. If we have a boy he’ll be called Lewis after his father and a girl will be Catherine after my mother.
Me: Lord Lynchcliffe’s murder must have been difficult for all of you.
Margaret: Yes it was especially as Lewis and I had just moved into a new phase of a relationship and suddenly we were having to provide moral support to everyone. Well until the evening before I had believed Lady Helena to be my aunt and Michael and Sarah my cousins. I feel deeply for Helena because I can’t imagine the pain of losing the man you love. My father Thomas understands far better having lost my mother.
Me: I understand the pain too. What do you consider to be essential to a successful relationship?
Margaret: Honesty. Secrecy can cause mistrust and pain. A healthy mutual attraction is also important as is being sensitive to and respectful of one another’s opinions, feelings and needs.
Me: Who is your closest confidante?
Margaret: Irene has been my friend since I was about twelve and I think I would have gone mad not having her to talk to about my developing feelings for Lewis. Lewis is my best friend though and I can talk to him about anything.
Me: Have you had many suitors?
Margaret: (laughs) No not really although I used to flirt with young men I met in Paris I never lost my head over them or they over me. There was that dreadful Viscount Saxhill of course but he had no chance even had Lewis not been in the picture.
Me: Has the transition from a friendship to a father-daughter relationship with Thomas Frazer been difficult?
Margaret: Not really once we passed the initial shyness. Thomas is a wonderful man and I understand why he felt he had to do what he did after my mother died. I don’t resent him for that and knowing that he doesn’t blame me for her death gives me peace of mind. I look forward to giving him a grandchild to spoil. He and Lewis also get on well although not just because they’re both from North Yorkshire. I really want him to find someone else as my mother would not have wanted him to be alone forever. It took some time to get used to the idea that a man I had known for years was actually my father but I had some time to absorb the fact before he came back into my life. I love him dearly and having him there to give me away on my wedding day was a magical moment.
Me: I understand you got married on the anniversary of your mother’s death.
Margaret: Not to mention the fact I came of age that day too. Seriously it was the most wonderful day of my life.
Me: Will you ever write your memoirs?
Margaret: (Laughs). I doubt anyone would read them although I have heard a whisper that there is an unauthorised written account floating around.
The unauthorised version of Margaret & Franklin’s love story is available on Kindle