Here is everything you have to know about Princess Anne, who dedicated her life to hard work, charity organizations, and keeping out of the spotlight. Anne was supposed to be the best fit for the throne and has been named the queen Britain will never have.
A Princess Is Born
Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise was born on August 15th, 1950, while her mother was not yet queen. She is a young sister to Charles, heir to the throne, and even though she was born second, Anne has never been considered a threat to other successors.
Until 2013, women were superseded by their male brothers even if they were born first, meaning as long as more males kept coming, Anne, has constantly been pushed down the line.
Kept Away From the Public
Anne had a very 19th-century style childhood. She was kept from the limelight and was exposed to people only in public venues alongside her parents and brother, the now-King Charles. Her first public engagement, representing the Royal Family, was in 1969 when she was eighteen.
Anne grew up with three brothers and always seemed to be in competition with them. She spent most of her childhood days with her nanny as her mother, the queen, was constantly away on royal duty, sometimes for as long as six months at a time.
She Never Went to the Coronation
In June 1953, Princess Anne's mother, Queen Elizabeth, was crowned at the young age of 25. She became the monarch after the sudden death of her father, King George VI. Although the coronation is the most significant ceremony in a monarch's life, little Princess Anne didn't attend.
Anne was just two years old at the time and way too young to attend such an event. As it turns out, Prince Charles, who did attend, looked rather bored, so Anne, obviously, didn't miss out on anything.
A Horse Lover
Anne was born with a passion for horses. Since her early days, she would ride one of the royal horses and eventually turn her craft into a career. Some say that she learned how to ride a horse before she could walk.
As she grew up, she invested her time in professional riding and became a respected equestrian. In 1976, she competed in the Olympic Games riding one of her mother's horses, and now she serves as the president of the British Olympic Association and a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Anne was the first-ever member of the royal family to turn sports into a profession. Her daughter, Zara Phillips, has followed in her mother's footsteps and won a silver medal at the London games in 2012.
Horse riding represents many things for the royal princess. It represents freedom and independence and is probably one of the few places where she is free to rule without being told what to do.
Her Earliest Memory
Princess Anne’s first trip out of England was in 1954 when the princess was just four years old. She traveled to Malta with Charles, her elder brother. As can be expected, they sailed on Britania, the Royal Yacht.
Anne and her brother were joined by their parents, The Queen and Prince Philip, on the Commonwealth Tour. This is the princess's earliest memory.
Off to School
Princess Anne was the first female member of the royal family to go to a regular school. She insisted on receiving her education on the other side of the palace's walls. Being a girl, she had to attend a different school than her brothers.
At the age of thirteen, she enrolled as a border at Benenden School in Kent, England. She was very popular, not only because she was a princess but because she was very friendly and easygoing.
An Educated Princess
Princess Anne was the first of many things, and she was also the first royal to take (and pass) her A levels, majoring in geography and history. Her final results were never published, however, being the hard worker she is, she obviously nailed it.
The fact that Princess Anne could take her exams was another sign of the changes the world was going through at the time. Everything was dramatically adjusting regarding women's rights and their position in the household. This did not go unnoticed by the royal family as the roles and definitions of female members were significantly changing too.
Strike a Pose
In September 1971, the royal princess was on the lavishing cover of British Vogue. This was followed by two other appearances, one in May 1973 and one in November 1973, following her engagement.
Anne was the first royal ever to be seen on a fashion magazine cover, however, she was not the last. The late Lady Diana was on three British covers and one US Vogue cover, and the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, was on the June 2016 edition.
Wedding Number One
When Anne was 25 years old, she married her first true love, Captain Mark Phillips. Mark had a successful military career which was expected for royals to go after. The wedding took place on her brother's, King Charles, birthday.
Princess Anne signed the wedding certificate under the name Anne Mountbatten-Windsor, making this the first royal document to be signed under that name. Her wedding day was glamorous, however, it wasn't exactly what she wanted.
The Princess's Way
Anne was the first of the royal children to get married, and if she could have her own way, she would have settled for a small and intimate ceremony embraced by the ones she loved. However, her role obliged her to do otherwise.
It was a massive event watched by millions from all over the world. Anne did give her own personal touch by having her dress designed by a regular dressmaker and the cake made by the British army's caterer.
A Piece of History
The tiara Princess Anne wore on her wedding day was symbolic and was chosen with great thought. It was the same tiara her late mother, Queen Elizabeth, wore at her wedding. The Queen Mary Fringe Tiara is timeless.
Princess Beatrice, the niece of Princess Anne, wore the tiara too. It is estimated to be worth almost nine million dollars, making it one of the most expensive tiaras in the royal collection.
Life Before Mark
Just before Captain Mark Phillips came into the picture, Anne dated Andrew Parker Bowles for a while. This was in 1970, and by 1973 Parker Bowles was already married to Camilla, who would eventually become King Charles's queen.
It is thought that the relationship between Anne and Andrew never escalated due to the fact that Andrew was a Catholic and could not marry a member of the royal family and of the church of England.
In 'The Crown,' Princess Anne's relationships are reviewed, and the show doesn't do them any justice. There were rumors about Anne having a short affair with three-time medalist Richard Meade, especially when the two were seen so close riding side by side like in his photo.
It is suggested that the romance with Andrew Parker Bowles began when Bowles was on a break from Camilla Shand, who was his girlfriend at the time. Camilla then started to date Anne's brother, Charles, and the rest is history.
More Minutes of Fame
Not everything about Princess Anne is conservative and by the book. In 1987 she broke the boundaries and competed on a TV show. It was the BBC's "A Question of Sport," and Anne was the first royal ever to do so. She took part in the program's 200th-episode celebration.
Her appearance on the show attracted more than 19 million viewers, a record-breaker in those days. She revealed another side of herself with humor and wittiness, which showed the princess in a different and positive light.
In 1969 Princess Anne went on a visit to Paderborn, in West Germany. Although her visit was royal in every way, Anne herself was everything but a traditional princess, and the press found her in many unexpected situations.
She was filmed driving a tank among the German troops, and if that wasn't enough, she fired a gun and wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty. Very noble, however, not very royal.
The Next Generation
Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips had two children together, Peter Mark Andrew Phillips, who was born in November of 1977, and Zara Phillips, born in 1981. Together they have turned Anne into a grandmother of four.
Unlike most royals, Anne has gone out of her way to keep Peter and Zara out of the public eye as much as possible and never took on royal titles for the two. So unlike their cousins, Peter and Zara are not a prince or a princess.
The Most Boring Time of Her Life
How cool is Princess Anne? Even when being pregnant, Anne showed her coolness and easygoing type of character. When a filmmaker who was making a documentary about her asked her how she was feeling during her first pregnancy, she gave him an answer only fit for Anne.
Being a workaholic and unable to sit and do nothing, not even for one minute, she simply replied, 'very boring six months.'
She Was Almost Kidnapped
In 1974, Princess Anne was a victim of a kidnapping attempt. Anne and her then-husband, Mark Phillips, were returning to Buckingham Palace from a charity event. Their car was forced to stop by another car driven by a guy named Ian Ball.
As soon as Anne's car stopped, Ball began firing his pistol. The princess's protector tried to detain the shooter but was injured by him. Ball approached Anne and said he was about to hold her for ransom, and she calmly replied, 'Not bloody likely!'
She Had Her Own Path
Only two years stand between Anne and her brother, King Charles III, however, it seems that there are miles and miles between the two. Growing up, Anne had to break free from her brother's shadow and find her own royal path.
It is thought that Anne was the son Prince Philip (their father) never had. Anne is outspoken, good at sports, and has a great sense of humor, just like her father and unlike Charles, who is shy and introverted. Philip never hid the fact that Anne was his favorite child, never considering the emotional damage he gave Charles.
Walking The Crowds
In 1968 Anne went on her first public trip to Australia, and the Australian people showered her with admiration and appreciation. This was the beginning of a new royal tradition.
Anne's show-off promenade walk was the first 'walkabout' tradition done by a royal, which was usually only seen done by the queen. Whenever a royal family member visits a town or city, they walk along a parade of people, greeting them and embracing all the flowers and ornaments thrown at them.
The Princess Knight
In 1994, The late Queen appointed Anne, the Princess Royal, to the Order of the Garter. The Order of the Garter is the most senior order of chivalry in the UK, and whoever is granted this usually brings an impressive record of public service, which Anne has.
The Princess requested to be recognized as Royal Knight of the Order and not a Lady as expected from her being a female. Anne was so deterrent to having the same status as her brothers that she managed to change ancient traditional customs.
Back in the USSR
In 1990, Princess Anne made history. Anne was the first member of the British royal family to make an official visit to the former Soviet Union. She was a guest of honor of the president at the time, Mikhail Gorbachev.
The previous royal to visit the Soviet Union was back in 1917. This was when the revolutionaries killed the last members of the Romanov dynasty, including Czar Nicholas II, who was the King of England's cousin.
Her Farm in the Country
Unlike many other members of the family, Anne doesn't live in London and prefers to keep away from all the hustle and bustle of the city. Princess Anne lives in Gatcombe Park, which was built in the 18th century and is located in Gloucestershire.
Gatcombe Park is considered a working farm. It has 230 Wiltshire horn sheep, cows, and pigs. She obviously has staff who maintain her farm, however, she has been seen with her sleeves up on more than one occasion.
She's a Track Racer
When Anne was 18, she made one of her wishes come true without anyone knowing about it at the time. She sneaked out of Buckingham Palace and drove off to the F1 tracks at Silverstone, where she could have a go at one of the sports cars.
The former F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart, a close friend, met her at the tracks. They both got in a sports car and raced with one another. Anne is the first and last royal princess to escape the palace and drive a wild car.
The First American Visit
In 1970 former President Nixon hosted Princess Anne and her brother, then Prince Charles, for a short visit. What started as an honorable royal event wasn't as successful as they had planned, and the royals were not received very well.
Princess Anne was very much like her father, Prince Philip. She always said what was on her mind, however, on this visit, she said nothing. She refused to give interviews, and a smile had to be forced out of her. She created a reputation for herself of being distant and cold, a wall that would take years to tear down.
Anne is one of the busiest members of the royal family. She supports more than 300 charities, one of them being 'Save the Children UK.' From 1970 until 2017, she was the organization's president. Today, she serves as Parton, and she was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her work.
She is known for her empathy and compassion for the children of the world and is known for saying, "if you want to improve the lives of children, then you must improve the lives of their mothers." She is deeply involved in the organization's projects in Ethiopia, South Africa, Mozambique, and others.
Charity Is All Around
Princess Anne is not the only royal with a rich history in charity work. The late Lady Diana was known for her volunteer aid and was considered the People's Princess. At the time, Anne was annoyed that she wasn't getting the same share of light on these positive matters.
Anne got the hump because Diana got positive coverage on her organizations and charities, but no word about Anne's work was ever published or mentioned.
Anne and Diana
The relationship between Anne and Diana was rocky since day one. Anne used to call her 'A silly girl.' She was 11 years older than Diana and didn't appreciate how Diana took advantage of the cameras to promote herself.
Anne has a well-established approach to her duties and roles, while Diana was always seen in her eye as someone who just didn't have a clue.
The Real Anne Came Out
In 1982 the press joined Anne on her trip to Africa. The press was preparing to publish a story covering the princess's domestic affairs, however, they were in for a surprise.
They discovered a princess who wasn't afraid of hard work, was willing to chip in, and, for the first time, projected something meaningful to the media. This was the first time her influential and significant work was documented, turning her into the princess we know and adore today.
Gone Their Sepetare Ways
The first signs of the boat rocking between Anne and her then-husband, Mark Phillips, came in 1985. Phillips was being unfaithful, and he fathered a child with a teacher from New Zealand. A DNA test was taken in 1991 to confirm the speculations.
The couple separated in 1989, and by 1992 the two were already divorced. Anne was the first royal child to get divorced.
Stolen Love Letters
In 1986, Anne met Timothy Laurence, who was a commander in the royal navy. They became very close friends until the friendship turned into a romance. This all happened after Phillips' scandal was out in the open, however, Anne was still legally married.
In 1989, love letters that were exchanged between the two were stolen from her bag in Buckingham Palace, and the affair was revealed. Up until today, no one knows exactly what was written in those letters, and the thieves were never found.
Husband Number Two
In December 1992, not long after Anne and Mark Phillips divorced, She married Laurence. This wedding came as a bit of bright light and hope after the devastating year the family had gone through. The late queen described that year as an “annus horribilis,” Latin for 'A horrible year.'
Windsor Castel went up in flames, Charles and Diana announced their separation, and Anne and Mark divorced. They managed to sweeten things up a little with Laurence and the wedding.
She Has a Criminal Record
Princess Anne is the only royal with a criminal record. The previous monarch who found himself in court was Charles I, who ruled over England in the 17th century. In 2002, Anne was out on a walk with Dotty, her bull terrier. The dog got lost and attacked two little children.
Anne admitted to violating the Dangerous Dogs Act and was fined £898 (a little over $1000). The judge ordered the princess to keep the dog on a leash at all times.
In 2001 the princess was called to court again, this time for speeding. She was caught driving her Bentley 93 mph at a 70 mph area. This was not far from her home in Gloucestershire, and it cost her $570. Apparently, Anne is not alone.
Anne's daughter, Zara, was caught speeding, and her license was taken away for six months. This, too, happened in Gloucestershire near their home. The apple doesn't fall far.
She's a Workaholic
Out of all the members of the family, Anne works the hardest. In three years, she was present in almost 1200 events. She sometimes engages in five affairs a day. “If I’m going to be in London, I don’t want to be hanging about,” she said.
Now, as the new generation are not all fulfilling their royal duties, many of the obligations are fallen on the older royals; fortunately, this doesn't seem to bother the princess. In 2021 she took on more engagements than any other, including her brother King Charles III.
She Did Not Watch 'The Crown'
Anne has never watched an episode of 'The Crown,' the successful Netflix show that covers the sorry of queen Elizabeth over five decades. She didn't watch Prince Philip, played by Tobias Menzies, say to his children that Anne was his favorite, and she didn't watch Erin Doherty step into Anne's character.
She did, however, hear about an interview Doherty gave, explaining that it took hours to get her hair right and ready for the role. All that Anne said was, “How could you possibly take that long? I mean, it takes me 10 or 15 minutes.”
Queen of Sustainability
Princess Anne was ahead of her time; back in the 1970s, she was considered a fashion icon. Way before the green movements kicked in, she began recycling, and she still wears outfits she bought in the 1980s. She is the queen of sustainability.
She prefers to have her suits and dresses made locally in the UK than having them made abroad, and the editor of British Vogue has described her as the princess who wears tailored suits better than anyone else he knows.
More Than Horses
Horse riding is not the only sport Anne is involved in. She is the royal Parton for the Scottish Rugby team since 1986. She never missed a home game and always takes part in singing the team's anthem.
Anne isn't the first royal to be involved in rugby, as the late queen Elizabeth was the patron of the Rugby Football Union for 64 years, and since 2007, William, Prince of Wales, has been the Welsh Rugby Union patron. Adding on to this, Anne's daughter, Zara, married the former English rugby player Mike Tindall.
No Politics Please
In 2019, a video was leaked featuring Anne, the late Queen Elizabeth, Charles, and Camilla welcoming former President Trump and his wife, Melania. The Queen is then seen pointing at her daughter to come to greet the Trumps, and Anne stands there shrugging her shoulders like a five-year-old.
Although Anne has passed her 70th birthday, when she was by her late mother, she behaved like a little girl. It was her principle not to be seen too close to politicians (of any side), and she made a great effort to avoid behind-their-back talks.
Weird Eating Habits
When Princess Anne celebrated her 70th birthday, she was interviewed for one of Britain's biggest magazines. It was then revealed that the princess has a bizarre favorite way of eating game. John Williams, London’s famous Ritz hotel executive chef, explained it, and no matter how hard he tried, it just didn't sound good.
It's basically game with added shredded meat covered in whipped cream, mango chutney, and Worcestershire sauce.
It's All About the Style
Another title the princess has is the president of the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT). Who would have thought? She has been fulfilling this role for more than 35 years and has no intention of quitting soon.
She encourages local production and preserves the local industry. She visits British clothing, footwear, and accessory businesses all over the country and makes an effort to wear mainly items that are made in the UK.
One Pair of Shades
Princess Anne has enough money to buy whatever she wants, but unlike other royals, she is known to recycle and re-wear many items she owns. She is not embarrassed to be seen in the same clothes and accessories over and over again.
One of her favorite pieces is her Adidas sunglasses. She has been seen wearing them on many occasions, and the white arms have become one of her hallmarks.
It's in Her Blood
The Royal Princess is everything that is good about the British royal family, and she would have probably made a great queen, just like her mother. She doesn't play the game; she doesn't care about being popular or about what people think of her.
She is devoted to her role more than any other family member and takes everything she does seriously and passionately. As far as she is concerned, that is the only way to do it.
It Was Hard to Say Goodbye
in 2022, when the late Queen Elizabeth died, Anne lost the closest person to her. She spend the last hours beside her mother and said in an emotional statement, "I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest Mother’s life. It has been an honor and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys."
In her parents' eyes, Anne has always been a daughter to be proud of. Like her mother, putting the crown in front of her personal wishes comes unpretentiously, and the ability to prioritize her nation before herself comes so naturally to her.