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Margaret Leighton as the Queen in 'Henry IV, Part I'

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Margaret Leighton as the Queen in 'Henry IV, Part I'

by Vivienne
bromide print, 1946
9 1/2 in. x 7 1/4 in. (240 mm x 184 mm)
Purchased, 1999
Photographs Collection
NPG x87958

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Shown during her Broadway debut, where Margaret Leighton appeared alongside Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richardson during a visit of The Old Vic company to America.

Events of 1946back to top

Current affairs

The new Labour government begins to act upon the recommendations of the Beveridge Report (1942) by nationalising The Bank of England and Imperial Communications, bringing in a National Insurance Bill, and setting plans for the National Health Service. Nationalisation of industry and the provision of free healthcare and welfare were the main aims of post-war domestic politics.

Art and science

Mervyn Peake publishes Titus Groan; the first of his Gormenghast Trilogy. The three novels are regarded as classics of the fantasy genre, although they contain no magic or intelligent non-human characters, so might more appropriately be described as belonging to the 'gothic' or 'fantastic' genre.


Nazi officials are tried for their part in the War and the Holocaust at Nuremberg. The trials were to prosecute war criminals and the location was chosen because it was the site of the annual Nazi rallies, and therefore seen as a fitting place for the demise of the party. The Nuremberg Trials paved the way for post-war developments in international criminal law.

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Jonathan Tafler

18 November 2020, 16:03

My father, the actor Sydney Tafler, was in the same company. He played Poins in Henry IV. He and "Maggie" Leighton became friends when the Old Vic Co toured newly liberated Europe the year before under the auspices of ENSA. This is from a letter sent back from that tour, June 10th 1945:
"Went to the country club last night, but of course I couldn't dance, as it wouldn't have been fair on all the officers. The only thing to do was drink. One very funny thing happened. Maggie and I went up to a sort of private room with half a dozen very high ranking officers. They gave Maggie one cocktail, and on that alone they got her marching up and down the room, learning to salute the flag. A colonel pretended to be the flag, waving his hand in the air, and Maggie, marching to and fro with her beret slightly over one eye, was very funny indeed. It will take her a long time to live that down. The club is a most magnificent place and was owned by a very prominent Nazi. Goering used to stay there. Everything in it is electric. You press a button and the windows open or close. It has an interior swimming pool and an enormous garden. I am going out there this afternoon to sit in the sun."
And this is from the residency on Broadway, when this portrait was taken, May 31st 1946:
"The party at Larry's last night was the most exciting yet because it was so small and intimate. There were just us boys, Joyce and Maggie, Viv and Larry, and Garson Kanin and his wife, Ruth Gordon1. The moment I arrived, Garson Kanin made a beeline for me and we talked and talked. I don't know if you know how much I admire his work but you can imagine how thrilled I was. We drank only champagne and about 2:30 the girls went and we were going too but Larry made us stay – then at about 3:30 the Kanins went and I'm afraid we remained till 4:30. I can't tell you how pleasant it was. Larry and Vivien were so natural and ordinary and we talked broadcasting and I don't know what.

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