Churchill developed a close friendship with Elizabeth II. It was widely expected that he would retire after her Coronation in June 1953 but, after Eden became seriously ill, Churchill increased his own responsibilities by taking over at the Foreign Office. Eden was incapacitated until the end of the year and was never completely well again.
In June 1953, instead of attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, his niece, in London, the Duke and Duchess watched the ceremony on television in Paris. The Duke said that it was contrary to precedent for a Sovereign or former Sovereign to attend any coronation of another.
Although foreign media speculated on Margaret and Townsend's relationship, the British press did not. After reporters saw her plucking fluff from his coat during the coronation on 2 June 1953—"I never thought a thing about it, and neither did Margaret", Townsend later said; "After that, the storm broke"—The People first mentioned the relationship in Britain on 14 June. With the headline "They Must Deny it NOW", the front-page article warned that "scandalous rumors about Princess Margaret are racing around the world", which the newspaper stated were "of course, utterly untrue". The foreign press believed that the Regency Act 1953—which made Prince Philip, the Queen's husband, regent instead of Margaret on the Queen's death—was enacted to allow the princess to marry Townsend, but as late as 23 July most other British newspapers except the Daily Mirror did not discuss the rumors. Acting Prime Minister Rab Butler asked that "deplorable speculation" end, without mentioning Margaret or Townsend.
On the evening of 23 June 1953, Churchill suffered a serious stroke and became partially paralyzed down one side. Had Eden been well, Churchill's premiership would most likely have been over. The matter was kept secret and Churchill went home to Chartwell to recuperate. He had fully recovered by November.