Anne, Princess Royal – A colourful and hardworking royal

anne princess royal
By Carfax2 - CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

At 11.50 o’clock this morning Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of
Edinburgh, was safely delivered of a Princess at Clarence House.
Her Majesty The QUEEN and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh were present.
Her Royal Highness and her daughter are both doing well.
The happy event has been commemorated by the firing of the Park and Tower guns1

Princess Anne is often lauded as the hardest-working member of the British royal family, quite deservedly so. Anne was born on 15 August 1950 at 11.50 A.M. as the second child and only daughter of the then Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh and the Duke of Edinburgh. Thus, for the first two years of her life, she was known as Princess Anne of Edinburgh. She was born at Clarence House with newspapers announcing her birth weight at six pounds. At the time of her birth, she was third in the line of succession; behind her mother and her elder brother.

She was baptised Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 21 October 1950. Her godparents were Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (then known as The Queen), Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark, Princess Alice of Battenberg, Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and Andrew Elphinstone. Her mother became Queen on 6 February 1952 and Anne became known as The Princess Anne. She did not attend her mother’s coronation because of her age but was allowed to join the family on the balcony afterwards.

The subsequent births of her younger brothers Andrew and Edward pushed her further down the line of succession as male-preference primogeniture was still in use then. She was under the care of a governess until she enrolled at the Benenden School in 1963. She left Benenden five years later with six GCE O-Levels and two A-Levels.

In 1970, one of her first relationships was with Andrew Parker Bowles, who would later marry Camilla Shand, who as you may know, became the Prince of Wales’ second wife. On 29 May 1973, the engagement of Anne and Mark Phillips was announced. An estimated 500 million people worldwide watched them get married on 14 November 1973 at Westminster Abbey. Her wedding dress was designed by Maureen Baker of the Susan Small label. It was an embroidered Tudor style dress with a high collar and medieval sleeves. The day was declared a special bank holiday, and many people lined the streets. Anne arrived at the abbey in the Glass State Coach, accompanied by her father. The Archbishop of Canterbury conducted the service. Afterwards, they returned to Buckingham Palace for a balcony appearance and a wedding lunch. Their honeymoon was spent on the Royal Yacht Britannia. They went to live at Gatcombe Park.

Anne is known for being an equestrian, and in 1971 she won the individual title at the European Eventing Championship and she went on to become the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. She continued to compete for several more years and won a silver medal in both the individual and the team event at 1975 European Eventing Championship. In 1976, she participated in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games.

On 20 March 1974, a rather scary event took place as Anne and Mark were returning to Buckingham Palace. Their car was forced to stop on the Mall and the driver of the other car, Ian Ball, jumped out and fired a weapon. Anne’s personal protection officer jumped out of the car to disarm Ball, but he was shot as his own gun jammed as was Anne’s driver. A nearby journalist who tried to intervene was also shot in the chest. Ball then approached Anne and told her he intended to kidnap her and demand a ransom. Anne replied, “Not bloody likely!” She managed to exit the other side of the car and Ball was hit on the back of the head by a passing pedestrian. Ball wasn’t about to give up, and he shot a Police Constable who happened upon the scene. He was finally arrested by police backup. All those who were shot recovered from their wounds. Ball pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping, and he is still (as of 2020) detained under the Mental Health Act.

On 15 November 1977, Anne gave birth to her first child – a son named Peter. As Peter is a grandson of The Queen through the female line, he does not have a royal title. A daughter named Zara was born on 15 May 1981. Their marriage soon deteriorated and in 1985 Mark fathered an illegitimate daughter. On 31 August 1989, they announced the intention to separate and initially said they had no plans for a divorce. However, they were eventually divorced on 23 April 1992.

Anne met her future second husband, Timothy Laurence, during her marriage to Mark. He was serving on the Royal Yacht Brittania. They were married on 12 December 1992 in Scotland as the Church of England did not allow divorced people whose former spouses were still living to remarry at the time. For her second wedding, Anne wore a white jacket over a knee-length dress. She also wore flowers in her hair. The newlyweds initially lived in a flat in London before moving to an apartment at St James’s Palace.

Anne undertakes numerous royal duties on behalf of her mother. She is involved with over 200 organisations, and her charity work takes her all over the world. You can read more about all the organisations she is involved with here. On 13 June 1987, Anne was created Princess Royal and is the seventh woman to carry the title.2 On 23 April 1994, she became Royal Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and for her 50th birthday in 2000, she became an Extra Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle. She is currently 14th in the line of succession.

  1. London Gazette
  2. Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy by James Panton p.382

About Moniek Bloks 2744 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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