Anne, Princess Royal

Anne, Princess Royal, KG, KT, GCVO, GCStJ, QSO, CD[2][3][4] (Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise; born 15 August 1950) is the second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. At the time of her birth, she was third in the line of succession to the British throne, behind her mother – then Princess Elizabeth – and elder brother, Charles. She rose to second after her mother's accession but is 14th in line as of August 2019.[lower-alpha 2]

Princess Royal (more)
The Princess Royal, October 2015
Born (1950-08-15) 15 August 1950
Clarence House, London, England
Full name
Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise[lower-alpha 1]
FatherPrince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
MotherElizabeth II

Anne is known for her charitable work and is a patron of over 200 organisations. She is also known for her equestrian talents; she won two silver medals (1975) and one gold medal (1971) at the European Eventing Championships,[5] and she is the first member of the British Royal Family to have competed in the Olympic Games. Princess Anne has held the title of Princess Royal since 1987 and is its seventh holder.

Anne was married to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973; they divorced in 1992. They have two children and four grandchildren. In 1992, 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. Since 2012, she has held the rank of Admiral and Chief Commandant of Women in the Royal Navy.

Early life and education

Anne was born in the reign of her maternal grandfather, George VI, at Clarence House on 15 August 1950 at 11:50 am,[6] as the second child and only daughter of Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. A 21-gun salute in Hyde Park signalled the birth.[7] Anne was baptised in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 21 October 1950, by Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett.[lower-alpha 3]

A governess, Catherine Peebles, was appointed to look after Anne and was responsible for her early education at Buckingham Palace;[10] Peebles also served as early governess for Anne's older brother, Charles. After the death of George VI, Anne's mother ascended the throne as Queen Elizabeth II. Given her young age at the time, Anne did not attend the coronation.

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.[11] Anne enrolled at Benenden School in 1963. In 1968, she left school with six GCE O-Levels and two A-Levels.[10]

In the next couple of years, Anne started dating. In 1970, her first boyfriend was Andrew Parker Bowles, who later became the first husband of Camilla Shand (second wife of her brother, Prince Charles).[12]

First marriage

Anne first met her future husband Mark Phillips at a party for horse enthusiasts in 1968.[13] Their engagement was announced on 29 May 1973.[14][15] 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.[16] 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.[17] The couple would have two children, Peter (born 1977) and Zara Phillips (born 1981).[18]

On 31 August 1989, Anne and Phillips announced their intention to separate, as the marriage had been under strain for a number of years.[13][19] The couple had been rarely seen in public together, and both were romantically linked with other people.[13][20] They continued to share the custody of their children, and initially announced that "there were no plans for divorce."[21][22] They eventually divorced on 23 April 1992.[23] Anne and Phillips have four grandchildren.

Kidnapping attempt

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.[24] The driver of the Escort, Ian Ball, jumped out and began firing a pistol. Inspector James 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.[25] Brian McConnell, a nearby tabloid journalist, also intervened, and was shot in the chest.[26] Ball approached Anne's car and told her of his kidnapping plan, which was to hold her for ransom, the sum given by varying sources as £2 million[27] or £3 million, which he claimed he intended to give to the National Health Service.[24] Ball then directed Anne to get out of the car, to which she replied: "Not bloody likely!", and reportedly briefly considered hitting Ball.[28]

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 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, gave chase, and finally arrested Ball.[25]

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;[29] Hills and Russell were awarded the George Medal, and Callender, McConnell, and Edmonds were awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.[24][30]

Anne visited Beaton in hospital and thanked him for his assistance. Later, in 1984, the princess said about the event on TV to Parkinson that she was 'scrupulously polite' to her would-be kidnapper as she thought it would be 'silly to be too rude at that stage'.[29]

Ball pleaded guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping. He was still detained under the Mental Health Act as of 2019, at Broadmoor Hospital.[31] The incident is 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 family.

Second marriage

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.[32] In 1989, the existence of private letters from Laurence to the Princess was revealed by The Sun newspaper.[20]

Anne married Laurence, then a Commander in the Royal Navy, at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral Castle, on 12 December 1992.[33] Approximately 30 guests were invited for the private marriage service.[34] The couple chose to marry in Scotland as the Church of England did not at that time allow divorced persons whose former spouses were still living to remarry in its churches.[35][36] The Church of Scotland does not consider marriage to be a sacrament, and thus not binding forever, and has no moral objection to the remarriage of divorced persons.[37] In participating in this ceremony, Anne became the first royal divorcée to remarry since Victoria, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, married Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich of Russia in 1905. For the wedding ceremony, Anne wore a white jacket over a "demure, cropped-to-the-knee dress" and a spray of white flowers in her hair.[38] Her engagement ring is made of "a cabochon sapphire flanked by three small diamonds on each side".[39] Following the marriage service, the couple and guests headed to Craigowan Lodge for a private reception.[33]

Like her first husband, Phillips, 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 St James's Palace and Gatcombe Park.[40] Anne has no children by Laurence.


Medal record
Representing  United Kingdom
European Championships
1971 BurghleyIndividual eventing
1975 LuhmuhlenTeam eventing
1975 LuhmuhlenIndividual eventing

At the age of 21, Anne won the individual title at the European Eventing Championship,[41] and was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971.[42] 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.[43] 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, in Eventing.[44] Anne assumed the Presidency of the Fédération Équestre Internationale from 1986 until 1994.[45] On 5 February 1987, she became the first member of the Royal Family to appear as a contestant on a television quiz-show when she competed on the BBC panel game A Question of Sport.[43]


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'."[46] 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.[47][48]

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,[10] and accompanied her parents on a state visit to Austria in the same year.[49] 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.[50] 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.[49][51]

Following the retirement of the Queen Mother in 1981, Anne was elected by graduates of the University of London as that institution's Chancellor.[52] Throughout May 1996, Anne served as Her Majesty's High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and held the post again in 2017.[53] In 2007, she had the honour of being appointed by the Queen as Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order, a position her grandmother had also held.[54]

Anne is involved with over 200 charities and organisations in an official capacity. She works extensively for Save the Children, of which she has been president since 1970,[55] and she initiated The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in 1991;[56] her work for the charity takes her all over the world, including many poverty stricken African nations.[55] Anne is the patron of Transaid, a charity founded by Save the Children and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport which aims to provide safe and sustainable transport in developing countries.[57] She is also the Royal Patron of WISE, an organisation that encourages young women to pursue careers in science, engineering and construction.[58] 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.[59][60] She is Patron of St. Andrew's First Aid.[61][62] She is a British representative in the International Olympic Committee as an administrator,[63] and was a member of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.[64] She was President of BAFTA from 1973 to 2001.[65] She maintains a relationship with student sport and is the Patron of British Universities and Colleges Sport.[66] She has been Patron of the Royal National Children's Foundation since 2002[67][68] and the industrial heritage museum, Aerospace Bristol, since 2016.[69]In 1986 she was appointed Master of the Worshipful Company of Carmen.[70]

She is also a Royal Fellow of the Royal Society[71] and the Academy of Medical Sciences.[72] 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.[73] She is the Academy of Medical Sciences' first Royal Fellow.[72]

She was elected Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh effective 31 March 2011, succeeding her father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who stepped down from the role in 2010.[74]

Likewise, she accepted in 2011 the roles of President of City and Guilds of London Institute,[75] Master of the Corporation of Trinity House[76][77] and President of the Royal Society of Arts, also in succession to her father. She is also Patron of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists,[78] Edinburgh University's Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies,[79] Royal Holloway, University of London,[80][81] International Students House, London,[82][83] Acid Survivors Trust International,[84] Townswomen's Guilds[85] and Citizens Advice.[86]

She represented Great Britain in the International Olympic Committee at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.[87] In August 2016, she returned to the country to visit the Russian city of Arkhangelsk for the 75th anniversary of Operation Dervish, which was one of the first Arctic convoys of World War II.[88] In September 2016, the Princess suffered from chest infection and was required to cancel official engagements.[89] In late October 2016, she visited the Malaysian state of Sarawak for a two-day study tour.[90] In 2017, she became Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers and a Governor of Gresham's School.[91]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 1950–1952: Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of Edinburgh[92]
  • 1952–1973: Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne
  • 1973–1987: Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne, Mrs Mark Phillips[93]
  • 1987–present: Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal

Anne is the seventh Princess Royal,[94] an appellation given only to the eldest daughter of the sovereign, the previous holder being George V's daughter, Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood.





Honorary academic degrees

Honorary military appointments

As with other senior royals, Princess Anne holds a number of honorary appointments in the armed forces of several Commonwealth realms:

New Zealand
United Kingdom


Coat of arms of the Princess Royal
The Princess Royal's personal arms are those of the Sovereign in right of the United Kingdom with a label for difference.
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.
The Order of the Garter circlet:
(Shame be to him who thinks evil)
Other elements
The whole differenced by a label of three points Argent, first and third charged with a St George's cross the second with a heart Gules.
The Royal Standard of the United Kingdom labelled for difference as in her arms. (In Scotland: )
As with the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom. The first and fourth quarters are the arms of England, the second of Scotland, the third of Ireland.

Personal flag for Canada

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.[133][134]

Other honours

In February 2015, the Princess Royal became one of the first female honorary members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.[135]


Peter Phillips15 November 197717 May 2008Autumn KellySavannah Phillips
Isla Phillips
Zara Phillips15 May 198130 July 2011Mike TindallMia Tindall
Lena Tindall


The Princess Royal's ancestry can be traced as far back as Cerdic, King of Wessex (519–534).[136]


  1. As a British princess, Anne does not usually use a maiden surname; but when one is needed, it is Mountbatten-Windsor.[1]
  2. The Perth Agreement and the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 reformed the line of succession to the British throne to absolute primogeniture. However, this was applied only to those born after the Agreement, so neither the Princess Royal nor her descendants at the time were moved ahead in the line.
  3. Her godparents were the Queen (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; her maternal grandmother); the Princess Margarita, Hereditary Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (her paternal aunt); Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark (her paternal grandmother); Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (her paternal great-uncle); and Andrew Elphinstone (her first cousin once removed).[8][9]


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Anne, Princess Royal
Born: 15 August 1950
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Lady Louise Windsor
Line of succession to the British throne
14th position
Followed by
Peter Phillips
British royalty
Title last held by
Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood
Princess Royal
Academic offices
Preceded by
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Chancellor of the University of London
Preceded by
The Duke of Edinburgh
Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh
New creation Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands
Chancellor of Harper Adams University
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order
Preceded by
Henry Cooper
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
Succeeded by
Mary Peters
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Countess of Wessex
HRH The Princess Royal
Followed by
The Duchess of Cambridge
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