Updated: Aug 9
Princess Anne was born at Clarence House at 11.50 on 15 August 1950, the residence of her mother, who was then still Princess Elizabeth. Anne is the second child & only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II & The Duke of Edinburgh
She was known as Princess Anne until she was given the title of Princess Royal in 1987. At the time of her birth, she was third in line to the throne, she currently 17th in line as of August 2021.
The Princess Royal is one of the busiest royals & has a busy schedule of engagements which see her travel across the United Kingdom & overseas.
Anne is known for her love of horses & an equestrian career which saw her compete in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, as a member of the British team, riding the Queen's horse, Goodwill, in Eventing.
Her Royal Highness works with riding for the disabled organisations across the Commonwealth. She spends a lot of her time supporting the work of Save the Children, of which she has been President since 1970.
Aged 18, The Princess Royal started undertaking public work, when her first engagement was the opening of an educational & training centre in Shropshire in 1969. A key part of her work is with a variety of different charities & organisations across the UK & Commonwealth. Anne is one of the busiest working royals.
Her Royal Highness has been President of Save the Children UK since 1970, & it was the first major charity with which she became closely associated. She has visited Save the Children projects in many countries, including, Cambodia, Botswana, & The Philippines.
The Princess Royal is involved with over 300 charities, organisations & military regiments in the UK & overseas, & a significant part of her life is devoted to her official engagements & visits.
The Princess has been closely involved with the creation of charities, notably The Princess Royal's Trust for Carers (now Carers Trust), Transaid & Riders for Health. The Carers’ Trust provides support for the millions of individuals in the UK who are responsible for caring for someone. Transaid & Riders for Health both try to overcome some of the difficulties caused by poor transportation links in developing countries. Her Royal Highness also carries out a very wide range of official duties & visits in the United Kingdom in support of regional authorities & local institutions.
The Princess Royal is a British member of the International Olympic Committee. Her Royal Highness participated in London's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, & was a member of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. In 2016 The Princess travelled to Rio to meet Team GB in her role as President of the British Olympic Association.
The Princess Royal supports Her Majesty the Queen in her role as Head of State by representing Her Majesty at events in the UK & overseas, as well as attending state & ceremonial occasions alongside other members of the Royal Family.
As a working member of the Royal Family, The Princess Royal attends a number of ceremonial events each year which are led by The Queen, such as Trooping the Colour & Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. These events are often national occasions for celebration or reflection, & are moments when the Royal Family come together to show support for Her Majesty, or to provide a central focus for national pride or commemoration.
The Princess Royal’s work includes acting as an ambassador for the UK, representing its culture & interests overseas. Her Royal Highness carries out up to three overseas tours each year for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in addition to her overseas visits in support of her charity work. Her Royal Highness became the first member of the Royal Family to make an official visit to the then USSR, as a guest of the Soviet government.
Did You Know? In 1970, Anne started dating her first boyfriend Andrew Parker Bowles, who later married Camilla Shand. (Camilla Shand later married Anne's brother, Prince Charles)
The Princess Royal supports The Queen’s work in highlighting & rewarding achievement in the UK & Commonwealth. Her Royal Highness holds Investitures on behalf of Her Majesty throughout the year, when she presents medals to those who have been awarded honours in the New Year’s Honours List or The Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
First marriage & children;
Anne first met her future husband Mark Phillips at a party in 1968 for equestrians & horse enthusiasts. Their engagement was announced on 29 May 1973. Anne married Phillips, a lieutenant in the 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards, at Westminster Abbey on 14 November 1973 in a ceremony televised around the world, with an estimated audience of 100 million.
Anne's wedding dress was designed by Maureen Baker, the chief designer for the ready-to-wear label Susan Small; she had previously designed outfits for the princess. The dress was an embroidered "Tudor-style" wedding dress with a high collar & "medieval sleeves". The train was embroidered by Lock's Embroiderers. Anne designed many aspects of the dress herself. Compared to previous royal wedding dresses, it was described as "simplistic" & was noted as being close to contemporary 1970's wedding fashions. It's definitely one of my favourites. What do you think?
Anne & 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. Phillips was offered an earldom, but declined the offer, & consequently their children were born without courtesy titles. The couple would have two children, Peter (born 1977) & Zara Phillips (born 1981).
As Princess Anne & 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 & began firing a pistol. Inspector James Beaton, Anne's personal police officer, responded by getting out of the car in order to shield her & to attempt to disarm Ball. However, Beaton's firearm, a Walther PPK, jammed, & 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 tried to intervene, & was shot in the chest. Ball then approached Anne's car & told her of his intentions to kidnap her & hold her for ransom, the sum given by varying sources as £2 million or £3 million, (he said he intended to give it to the National Health Service).
Ball told Anne to get out of the car, to which she replied: "NOT BLOODY LIKELY!", & reportedly briefly considered hitting Ball.
Anne 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 & led Anne away from the scene. Now a Police Constable Michael Hills, arrived on the scene; 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, & finally arrested Ball.
Beaton, Hills, Callender, & McConnell were hospitalised, & thankfully 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 & Russell were awarded the George Medal, & Callender, McConnell, & Edmonds were awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal. Russell also had his mortgage paid off by the Queen.
Princess Anne visited Beaton in hospital & thanked him for his service. 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 later pleaded guilty to attempted murder & kidnapping. He was detained under the Mental Health Act as of 2019, at Broadmoor Hospital.
Anne & Phillips were divorced on 23 April 1992. Their marriage had been under strain for a number of years & they were rarely seen in public together. Anne & Phillips have four grandchildren.
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. Anne married Laurence, then a Commander in the Royal Navy, at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral Castle, on 12 December 1992. 30 guests were invited for the private marriage service. 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.
The Church of Scotland doesn't consider marriage to be a sacrament, & thus not binding forever, & has no objection to the remarriage of divorced persons. Anne became the first royal divorcée to remarry since Victoria, Grand Duchess of Hesse & by Rhine, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who married Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich of Russia in 1905. Anne wore a white jacket over a "demure, cropped-to-the-knee dress" & a spray of white flowers in her hair. Her engagement ring is made of "a cabochon sapphire flanked by three small diamonds on each side". Following the marriage service, the couple & guests headed to Craigowan Lodge for a private reception.
The couple reside between an apartment at St James's Palace & Gatcombe Park.
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