Anne, Princess Royal
Full name
Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise
Born 15 August 1950 (age 70)
Clarence House
London, England
Spouse Mark Phillips (m. 1973; div. 1992)
Timothy Laurence (m. 1992)
Peter Phillips
Zara Tindall
House Windsor
Father Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Mother Queen Elizabeth II
Religion Church of England

The Royal Family of the
United Kingdom
and the
other Commonwealth realms
Badge of the House of Windsor.svg.png

HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

v · d · e

Princess Anne, Princess Royal (Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise; born 15 August 1950), is the only daughter of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. At the time of her birth, she was third (behind her mother and elder brother) and rose to second (after her mother's accession) in the line of succession to the thrones of the Commonwealth realms; however, after the birth of two younger brothers and six nieces and nephews she is currently sixteenth in line.


The seventh holder of the title Princess Royal, Anne is known for her charitable work, being the patron of over 200 organizations, and she carries out about 700 royal engagements and public appearances per year. She is also known for equestrian talents; she won two silver and one gold medal at the European Eventing Championships, and is the only member of the British Royal Family to have competed in the Olympic Games.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Anne was born at Clarence House on 15 August 1950 at 11:50 am,[1] the second child and only daughter of then Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and second grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.


She was christened in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 21 October 1950, by then Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett. The Princess's godparents were: the Queen (her maternal grandmother); the Hereditary Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (her paternal aunt); Princess Alice of Greece and Denmark (her paternal grandmother); Vice-Admiral the Earl Mountbatten of Burma (her paternal granduncle); and the Hon. and Rev. Andrew Elphinstone (her cousin).[2]

Anne as a toddler with her parents and her older brother Charles.

By letters patent of Anne's great-grandfather King George V, the titles of a British prince or princess, and the style Royal Highness, were only to be conferred on children and male-line grandchildren of the sovereign, as well as the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. However, on 22 October 1948, George VI issued new letters patent granting these honours to any children of Princess Elizabeth and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; otherwise, Anne would merely have been titled by courtesy as Lady Anne Mountbatten. In this way, the children of the heiress presumptive had a royal and princely status.

Education[edit | edit source]

As with royal children before her, a governess, Catherine Peebles, was appointed to look after the princess and was responsible for her early education at Buckingham Palace; Peebles had also served as governess for Anne's older brother, Charles.[3] When Anne's mother acceded after the death of George VI to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II, Anne was thereafter titled as Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne, but, given her young age at the time, did not attend her mother's coronation.

A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company including the Holy Trinity Brompton Brownie pack, was reformed in May 1959, specifically so that, like her mother and aunt, Anne could socialise with girls her own age. The Princess Royal was active until 1963, when she went to boarding school. Anne remained under private tutelage until she was enrolled at Benenden School in 1963, leaving five years later with six O-Levels and two A-Levels.[3]

Equestrianism[edit | edit source]

Anne has always shown a keen interest in horses and equine pursuits. At the age of 21, the Princess won the individual title at the European Eventing Championship,[4] and was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971. For more than five years she also competed with the British eventing team, winning a silver medal in both individual and team disciplines in the 1975 European Eventing Championship, riding the home-bred Doublet.[5] The following year Anne participated in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal as a member of the British team, riding the Queen's horse, Goodwill.[6] Princess Anne assumed the Presidency of the Fédération Équestre Internationale from 1986 until 1994. On 5 February 1987, she became the first Royal to appear as a contestant on a television quiz-show when she competed on the BBC panel game A Question of Sport.[5]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

In 1970, her first boyfriend was Andrew Parker Bowles, who later became the first husband of Camilla Shand (subsequently the mistress and second wife of her brother, Prince Charles).

First marriage[edit | edit source]

See also: Wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips and Wedding dress of Princess Anne

Anne first met her future husband Mark Phillips at a party for horse enthusiasts in 1968.[7] Their engagement was announced on 29 May 1973.[8]

On Wednesday, 14 November 1973 (her brother Prince Charles's 25th birthday), Princess Anne married Mark Phillips, then 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.[9] 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 leading to their children being born without courtesy titles.

Anne and her husband Mark had two children:

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.)

Kidnapping attempt[edit | edit source]

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 limousine was forced to stop by a Ford Escort. The driver of the Escort, Ian Ball, jumped out and began firing a gun. Inspector James Beaton, the Princess's personal police officer, responded by exiting the limousine in order to shield the Princess and try to disarm Ball. 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.[10] Brian McConnell, a nearby tabloid journalist, also intervened, and was shot in the chest.[11] Ball approached the Royal's car and told Anne of his kidnapping plan, which was to hold the Princess for ransom, the sum given as £2 or £3 million,[12] which he intended to give to the National Health Service. Ball then directed Anne to get out of the car, to which she replied: "Not bloody likely!", and briefly considered hitting Ball.[13] Eventually, she dived out of the other side of the limousine and another passing pedestrian, Ron Russell, punched Ball in the back of the head and then led Anne away from the scene. At that point, Police Constable Michael Hills happened upon the situation; he too was shot by Ball, but not before he called for police backup. Detective Constable Peter Edmonds, who had been nearby, answered and gave chase, finally arresting Ball.[10]

All of the victims were hospitalized, and recovered from their wounds. For his defense of Princess Anne, Beaton was awarded the George Cross,[14] Hills and Russell were awarded the George Medal, and Callender, McConnell and Edmonds were awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.[15] Anne later visited Beaton in hospital and thanked him for his assistance; she also spoke about the event on TV to Parkinson in 1974 saying she was 'scrupulously polite' to her would-be kidnapper as she thought it would be 'silly to be too rude at that stage'.[14]

Ball pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping, and was detained under the Mental Health Act.[16] The incident was the closest in modern times that any individual has come to kidnapping a member of the Royal Family, and prompted higher security levels for the Royals.

Separation and divorce[edit | edit source]

On 31 August 1989, Princess Anne and Mark Phillips announced their intention to separate, as the marriage had been under strain for a number of years.[7][17] The couple had been rarely seen in the public together, and both were romantically linked with other people.[7][18] They continued to share the custody of their children, and initially announced that "there were no plans for divorce."[19] The couple later divorced on 23 April 1992.

Second marriage[edit | edit source]

Anne married Timothy Laurence, then a commander in the Royal Navy, at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral Castle, on 12 December 1992. The couple chose to marry in Scotland as the Church of England did not allow divorced persons to remarry in its churches, while the Church of Scotland did. In participating in this ceremony, Anne became the first Royal divorcée to remarry since Victoria, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, did so in 1905. Like Phillips before him, Laurence received no peerage, and the couple leased a flat in Dolphin Square, London. They later gave up this city home and now reside between an apartment at Buckingham Palace and Gatcombe Park.

Royal life[edit | edit source]

Patronages[edit | edit source]

Pharology, the study of lighthouses, is a focus of interest for Princess Anne; she made it an ambition to see personally each of Scotland's 215 lighthouses, often touring them with the Northern Lighthouse Board, of which she is patron. Since 1989, Princess Anne also has been patron of Sense, the national charity in the United Kingdom that supports and campaigns for children and adults who are deafblind. It provides specialist information, advice and services to deafblind people, their families, carers and the professionals who work with them. In addition, it supports people who have sensory impairments with additional disabilities. The Princess Royal takes a great interest in the work of this charity and hosts a number of events to raise money for its continued good work in the community and beyond. The Princess Royal is also Royal Patron of young people's charity Catch22, with particular reference to their social enterprise Auto22, a mechanics garage offering apprenticeships to young people in Gravesend, Kent.

The Princess Royal is a Patron of The Blond McIndoe Research Foundation. The Foundation is a registered charity and is the legacy of the famous plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe who operated on over 600 severely burned airmen during WWII; the men later formed the world renowned Guinea Pig Club. The Blond McIndoe Research Foundation has pioneered leading-edge surgical techniques in skin repair and healing wounds, in particular the treatment of burns. The Princess Royal recently attended its 50th anniversary celebrations held in East Grinstead on 22 March 2011.

She is also Patron of Edinburgh University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Royal Holloway, University of London, International Students House, London, Acid Survivors Trust International, Townswomen's Guilds and College of Occupational Therapy.

Official duties[edit | edit source]

As Princess Royal, Princess Anne undertakes a number of official duties on behalf of her mother, in her role as sovereign of the Commonwealth realms. Anne receives an annual allowance of £228,000, most of which is spent on staff who support her public engagements and correspondence.

Anne began to undertake official royal duties overseas upon leaving secondary school, and accompanied her parents on a state visit to Austria in the same year. She will sometimes stand in for the Queen at the funerals of foreign dignitaries (which the Queen customarily does not attend), and resides at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh each summer, hosting engagements there. The Princess also travels abroad on behalf of the United Kingdom up to three times a year; she was the first member of the Royal Family to make an official visit to the USSR when she went there as a guest of the government in 1990. The Princess's 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.

Following the retirement of the Queen Mother in 1981, Anne was elected by graduates of the University of London as that institution's Chancellor. Throughout May 1996, the Princess served as Her Majesty's High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which granted her, for the duration of the appointment, a higher precedence in Scotland, and the alternative style of Her Grace. In 2007, the Princess Royal had the honor of being appointed by the Queen as Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order, a position her late grandmother had also held.

The Princess Royal carries out the most engagements of any member of the Royal Family, and is involved with over 200 charities and organizations in an official capacity. She works extensively for Save the Children, of which she has been president since 1970, and she initiated The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in 1991; her work for the charity takes her all over the world, including many poverty stricken African nations. She is also the Royal Patron of WISE, an organization that encourages young women to pursue careers in science, engineering and construction. Her extensive work for St. John Ambulance as Commandant-in-Chief of St. John Ambulance Cadets has helped to develop many young people, as she annually attends the Grand Prior Award Reception. She is also a British representative in the International Olympic Committee as an administrator, and is a member of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games.

The Princess Royal was elected Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in 2011, effective 31 March, succeeding her father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh who stepped down from the role in 2010.

Titles, styles and honors[edit | edit source]

Titles and styles[edit | edit source]

  • 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 - 23 April 1992: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Mrs Mark Phillips
  • 23 April 1992 - : Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal

The Princess's British style and title in full: Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, The Princess Royal, Lady Laurence, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Dame Grand Cross and Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. In 1996, Anne was entitled to be called Her Grace The Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Anne is the seventh creation of the title Princess Royal, an appellation given only to the eldest daughter of the sovereign, the last holder being George V's daughter, Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood. Since her second husband, Sir Tim Laurence, was awarded his knighthood, The Princess has been entitled to the courtesy style Lady Laurence as the wife of a knight. However, since her own personal styles far outrank that of the wife of a knight, that style is unlikely to be used.

Honors[edit | edit source]

Foreign honours
  • England 1981-: University of London, Chancellor
  • Scotland 2011-: University of Edinburgh, Chancellor
Honorary degrees
  • Saskatchewan 2004: University of Regina, Doctor of Laws (LLD)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador 23 April 2010: Memorial University of Newfoundland, Doctor of Laws (LLD)
  • England 2011: Cranfield University, Doctor of Science (DSc)

Honorary military appointments[edit | edit source]

As with other senior royals, Princess Anne holds a number of honorary appointments in the armed forces of several Commonwealth realms. In 2002, she became the first non-reigning woman to attend a funeral in uniform when she wore that of the Royal Navy at the funeral of her grandmother, the Queen Mother.

Anne is of the following regiments, corps, and branches:

  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Corps of Signals
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Grey and Simcoe Foresters
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's)
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Communications and Electronics Branch
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces Medical Service
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regina Rifles
  • Colonel-in-Chief of Royal Newfoundland Regiment
New Zealand
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Nursing Corps
United Kingdom
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the King's Royal Hussars
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29/45 Foot)
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Corps of Signals
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Logistic Corps
  • Colonel-in-Chief the Royal Army Veterinary Corps
  • Colonel of the Blues and Royals
  • Royal Colonel of the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • Royal Colonel of the 52nd Lowland Regiment, 6th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • Royal Honorary Colonel of the University of London OTC
  • Commandant-in-Chief of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (Princess Royal's Volunteer Corps)
  • Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Lyneham
  • Honorary Air Commodore of the University of London Air Squadron
  • Admiral and Chief Commandant for women of the Royal Navy
  • Commodore-in-Chief of HMNB Portsmouth

Issue[edit | edit source]

Name Birth Marriage Issue
Peter Phillips 15 November 1977 Autumn Kelly 17 May 2008 Savannah Phillips
Isla Phillips
Zara Phillips 15 May 1981 Michael Tindall 30 July 2011 Mia Tindall
Lena Tindall
Lucas Tindall

External links[edit | edit source]

  • The London Gazette. 16 August 1950. p. 4197.
  • Christening of Princess Anne, 1950
  • 3.0 3.1 HRH The Princess Royal: Early Life and Education. Buckingham Palace. Archieved copy
  • Olympic archive: equestrian Princess Anne (1972). Channel 4.
  • 5.0 5.1 This day in sport: Princess Anne. The Times
  • The Princess Royal and the Olympics. The Royal Family
  • 7.0 7.1 7.2 Princess Anne To Separate From Husband. Chicago Tribune
  • Iconic weddings: Princess Anne and Mark Phillips. Hello
  • Princess Anne's Marriage. 1973 in review
  • 10.0 10.1 1974: Kidnap attempt on Princess Anne. BBC Home
  • Obituary: Brian McConnell. The Guardian
  • Princess foiled 1974 kidnap plot. BBC. 1 January 2005
  • 2 January 2005). Kidnap the Princess? Not bloody likely!. The Age
  • 14.0 14.1 Royal Rewind - kidnap attempt on Princess Anne. The Crown Chronicles. 20 March 2017.
  • No. 46354. The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 September 1974. pp. [[1]].
  • The Bloody Attempt to Kidnap a British Princess. Smithsonian
  • But No Divorce Is Planned : Princess Anne, Husband Split. Los Angeles Times
  • Kaufman, Joanne; Cooper, Jonathan (24 April 1989). A Crisis Rocks a Royal Marriage. People.
  • 1989: Royal couple to separate. BBC.
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