Anne is known for her high-profile charity work, which involves her patronage of more than 300 organisations – many of which aim to improve transport and health in developing countries, and the well-being and education of children. In her youth, Anne was known for her equestrianism: she won two silver medals (1975) and one gold medal (1971) at the European Eventing Championships. She is the first member of the British royal family to have competed in the Olympic Games.
In 1973, Anne married Captain Mark Phillips, but they separated in 1989 and divorced in 1992. The couple have two children, Zara and Peter Phillips, and four grandchildren. Within months of her divorce, Anne married Commander (now Vice Admiral) Sir Timothy Laurence, whom she had met while he served as her mother's equerry between 1986 and 1989.
A governess, Catherine Peebles, was appointed to look after Anne and was responsible for her early education at Buckingham Palace; Peebles also served as early governess for Anne's older brother, Charles. After the death of George VI in February 1952, Anne's mother ascended the throne as Queen Elizabeth II. Given her young age at the time, Anne did not attend the coronation in June 1953.
A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company to include the Holy Trinity Brompton Brownie pack, was re-formed in May 1959, specifically so that, as her mother and aunt had done as children, Anne could socialise with girls her own age. The company was active until 1963, when Anne went to boarding school. Anne enrolled at Benenden School in 1963. In 1968, she left school with six GCEO-Levels and two A-Levels. She began to undertake royal engagements in 1969, at the age of 18.
Anne first met her future husband Mark Phillips in 1968 at a party for equestrians and horse enthusiasts. Their engagement was announced on 29 May 1973. On 14 November 1973, Anne married Phillips, a lieutenant in the 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards, at Westminster Abbey in a ceremony that was televised around the world, with an estimated audience of 100 million. Following the wedding, Anne and her husband lived at Gatcombe Park. He was made acting captain by the start of 1974 when he was appointed a personal aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II.
As was customary for untitled men marrying into the royal family, Phillips was offered an earldom. He declined this offer, and consequently their children were born without courtesy titles. The couple would go on to have two children, Peter (born 1977) and Zara Phillips (born 1981).
On 31 August 1989, Anne and Phillips announced their intention to separate, as the marriage had been under strain for a number of years. The couple had been rarely seen in public together, and both were romantically linked with other people. They continued to share the custody of their children, and initially announced that "there were no plans for divorce." They eventually divorced on 23 April 1992. Anne and Phillips have four grandchildren.
As Princess Anne and Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace on 20 March 1974, from a charity event on Pall Mall, their Princess IV car was forced to stop on the Mall by a Ford Escort. The driver of the Escort, Ian Ball, jumped out and began firing a pistol. InspectorJames Beaton, Anne's personal police officer, responded by exiting the car in order to shield her and to attempt to disarm Ball. However, Beaton's firearm, a Walther PPK, jammed, and he was shot by the assailant, as was Anne's chauffeur, Alex Callender, when he tried to disarm Ball. Brian McConnell, a nearby tabloid journalist, also intervened, and was shot in the chest. Ball approached Anne's car and told her that he intended to kidnap her and hold her for ransom, the sum given by varying sources as £2 million or £3 million, which he claimed he intended to give to the National Health Service. Ball told Anne to get out of the car, to which she replied: "Not bloody likely!", and reportedly briefly considered hitting Ball.
Eventually, she exited the other side of the limousine as had her lady-in-waiting, Rowena Brassey. A passing pedestrian, a former boxer named Ron Russell, punched Ball in the back of the head and led Anne away from the scene. At that point, Police Constable Michael Hills happened upon the situation; he too was shot by Ball, but he had already called for police backup. Detective Constable Peter Edmonds, who had been nearby, answered, gave chase, and finally arrested Ball.
Beaton, Hills, Callender, and McConnell were hospitalised, and all recovered from their wounds. For his defence of Princess Anne, Beaton was awarded the George Cross by the Queen, who was visiting Indonesia when the incident occurred; Hills and Russell were awarded the George Medal, and Callender, McConnell, and Edmonds were awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal. Russell also had his mortgage paid off by the Queen.
Anne visited Beaton in hospital and thanked him for his assistance. In 1984, the princess spoke about the event on Parkinson saying she was 'scrupulously polite' to her would-be kidnapper as she thought it would be 'silly to be too rude at that stage'.
Ball pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping. As of 2019[update], he was still detained under the Mental Health Act, at Broadmoor Hospital.
The Princess Royal with her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence
Anne met Timothy Laurence while he was serving on the Royal Yacht Britannia. Their relationship developed in early 1989, three years after he was appointed as an equerry to the Queen. In 1989, the existence of private letters from Laurence to the Princess was revealed by The Sun newspaper.
Anne married Laurence, then a Commander in the Royal Navy, at Crathie Kirk, where the royal family worship when staying at Balmoral Castle, on 12 December 1992. Approximately 30 guests were invited for the private marriage service. The Church of England did not at that time allow divorced persons whose former spouses were still living to remarry in its churches.
Anne undertakes a number of duties and engagements on behalf of her mother, in support of her role as sovereign of the Commonwealth realms. Kevin S. MacLeod, the Canadian Secretary to the Queen, said of Anne in 2014: "Her credo is, 'Keep me busy. I'm here to work. I'm here to do good things. I'm here to meet as many people as possible'." It was revealed in December 2017 that the Princess Royal had undertaken the most official engagements that year out of all the royal family, her mother included.
Her first public engagement was at the opening of an educational and training centre in Shropshire in 1969. Anne travels abroad on behalf of the United Kingdom up to three times a year. She began to undertake overseas visits upon leaving secondary school, and accompanied her parents on a state visit to Austria in the same year.
Her first tour of Australia was with her parents in 1970, since which she has returned on numerous occasions to undertake official engagements as a colonel-in-chief of an Australian regiment, or to attend memorials and services, such as the National Memorial Service for victims of the Black Saturday bushfires in Melbourne, Australia, on 22 February 2009. In 1990 she was the first member of the royal family to make an official visit to the Soviet Union when she went there as a guest of President Mikhail Gorbachev and his government.
She is also a Royal Fellow of the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences. Royal Fellows are members of the Monarchy who are recommended and elected by the Society's Council. The Royal Society has only five Royal Fellows, including the Princess Royal herself, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Kent, and the Duke of Cambridge. She is the Academy of Medical Sciences' first Royal Fellow.
The Princess Royal speaking at the 100th Maritime Safety Committee session in 2018
The Princess Royal is one of the few women in the royal family to wear a military uniform
The Princess Royal has been referred to as the royal family's "trustiest anchor" and "beacon of good, old-fashioned public service", having carried out over 20,000 engagements since her eighteenth birthday. In her early adulthood, she was cited as a "royal renegade" with her choices to forego titles for her children despite her status as "spare to the heir" at the time. A young Anne was often described as "aloof" and "haughty" by the media, earning the nickname "her royal rudeness" from members of the press. The Princess spurred controversy for famously telling photographers to "naff off" at the Badminton Horse Trials in 1982.Vanity Fair states that Anne "has a reputation for having inherited her father’s famously sharp tongue and waspish wit". Of early public role, she has stated: "It’s not just about, Can I get a tick in the box for doing this? No, it’s about serving….It took me probably 10 years before I really felt confident enough to contribute to Save the Children’s public debates, because you needed to understand how it works on the ground and that needed a very wide coverage. So my early trips were really important.
The Princess remains one of Britain's most popular royals.Telegraph Editor Camilla Tominey describes her as a "national treasure", and states that she is "hailed as one of the great English eccentrics", whose work ethic contributes to her regard. Tominey states that Anne's public role is a "contradiction of both protocol taskmaster and occasional rule-breaker". Reportedly, Anne "insists on doing her own make-up and hair" and drives herself to engagements, having pleaded guilty for two separate speeding fines on account of being late. Princess Anne does not shake hands with the public during walkabouts, stating that "the theory was that you couldn't shake hands with everybody, so don't start." Members of the public have reported observing her "mending fences at Gatcombe" and "queuing up for the Portaloos" at her daughter's horse competitions. Her reputation is also coupled with her advocacy for causes out of the mainstream, such as Wetwheels Foundation's commitment to accessible sailing and her association with the National Lighthouse Museum. On her 60th and 70th birthdays, she was asked by the BBC and Vanity Fair respectively if she would retire, with her denying speculation both times, citing her parents' example as well as her commitment to her royal duties. Anne's public personality has been described as "not suffering fools lightly", while maintaining a "still-impressive level of grace and courtesy".
British Vogue editor Edward Enninful has stated that "Princess Anne is a true style icon and was all about sustainable fashion before the rest of us really knew what that meant". Her style has been noted for its timelessness; she almost solely relies on British fashion brands, with tweed and tailored suits as her hallmarks. She is known for recycling outfits, such as her floral-print dress worn both to the wedding of the Prince of Wales in 1981 and the wedding of Lady Rose Windsor in 2008. Anne is the patron of U.K. Fashion and Textile Association. She has been noted for wearing "bold patterns and vibrant pops of color". Her style choices often reflect her equestrian interests as well as the practicality of her fast-paced schedule. In the 1970s and 1980s, she was often photographed wearing trends such as puff sleeves, cardigans, bright floral patterns, and multicolored stripes. Princess Anne is also one of the few women in the royal family to wear a military uniform.The Guardian states that she is "rarely seen without a brooch" during royal events. Her millinery styles have included jockey caps and hats of multiple colors and bold patterns. She presented the Queen Elizabeth II award for British design at London Fashion Week in 2020.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Monogram of Princess Anne
Titles and styles
15 August 1950 – 6 February 1952: Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of Edinburgh
6 February 1952 – 14 November 1973: Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne
14 November 1973 – 13 June 1987: Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne, Mrs Mark Phillips
13 June 1987 – present: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal
The coronet of a daughter of the Sovereign Proper.
Quarterly 1st and 4th, Gules three lions passant guardant Or; 2nd, Or a lion rampant Gules within a double tressure flory counterflory Gules; 3rd, Azure a harp Or stringed Argent.
Dexter a lion rampant guardant Or imperially crowned proper, sinister a unicorn Argent, armed, crined and unguled Or, gorged with a coronet Or composed of crosses patée and fleurs de lis a chain affixed thereto passing between the forelegs and reflexed over the back also Or.
Since 2013, the Princess Royal has a personal heraldic flag for use in Canada. It is the Royal Arms of Canada in banner form defaced with a blue roundel surrounded by a wreath of gold maple leaves, within which is a depiction of an "A" surmounted by a coronet. Above the roundel is a white label of three points, the centre one charged with a red heart and the other two with red crosses.
^ ab"Knights of the Orders of Chivalry". Debretts. Archived from the original on 17 December 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2012. Although HRH The Princess Royal and HRH Princess Alexandra are both female they are actually included with the Royal Knights Companions, and they bear the post-nominal letters KG (not LG).
^As female-line descendants of royalty, the children have no title despite being the grandchildren of a monarch. (They are not the only children of a British princess without titles; the children of Princess Alexandra, the Queen's cousin, are also untitled.)
^"President and Vice Presidents". BAFTA. Archived from the original on 16 March 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018. HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, was named president from 1973, and remained in the post until 2000.
As the child of a daughter of the monarch, Anne would not usually have been accorded the title of princess or the style Royal Highness. However, on 22 October 1948, letters patent were issued granting these to any children of Princess Elizabeth and Philip.
^Davies, Nicholas (2013). Elizabeth II: Behind Palace Doors. Random House. ISBN9781780578279. Until Elizabeth gave her the title, Anne's correct form of address had been a mouthful, 'Her Royal Highness the Princess Anne, Mrs Mark Phillips'.
^"RAF Senior Appointments 15 August 2020". raf.mod.uk. Royal Air Force. 15 August 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2020. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal KG KT GCVO to be promoted Air Chief Marshal with effect from 15 August 2020.
^"The Princess Anne, Princess Royal". Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges. Office of the Governor General of Canada: Canadian Heraldic Authority. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
The generations indicate descent from George I, who formalised the use of the titles prince and princess for members of the British royal family. Where a princess may have been or is descended from George I more than once, her most senior descent, by which she bore or bears her title, is used.