Princess Anne Through the Years
Princess Anne has been known for years as the royal family’s secret weapon. In 1969, when she was just 18, she began her first public engagement, opening an occupational training center in Shropshire, England. She even drove a double-decker bus. Even as she turned 72 on August 15, 2022, she hasn’t slowed down.
One of the hardest working royals, Princess Anne has been President of Save the Children UK since 1970 and has been involved in over 300 charities. As an advocate for poor children, she earned a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. In fact, in 2019, the princess carried out 506 royal engagements. The only royal to exceed her was her brother then-Prince Charles who topped the charts at 550. “I am always amazed how much she can fit in a week. She always remembers who she has met,” her daughter, Zara Tindall, told the BBC in the documentary Inside Sport: The Princess Royal at 60. (Zara Tindall is married to the rugby player, Mike Tindall. They welcomed their third child in March 2021.)
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Anointed The Princess Royal in 1987, Princess Anne has also been a bit of a ground-breaker. She was the first female in the royal family to attend school outside her home and even left the castle nest for boarding school. As a member of the British Equestrian Team, she participated in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games and was the first member of the British Royal Family to compete in the Olympics. (Her daughter, Zara, won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.) Princess Anne has visited every continent and even became the first member of the royal family to make an official visit to the then-USSR in 1990 as a guest of the Soviet government.
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Curiously, when given the option, Princess Anne broke with royal tradition and opted not to give her children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, royal titles. That gave them a certain freedom to do what they wanted. “I think it was probably easier for them...most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles,” the Princess told Vanity Fair. “So I think that was probably the right thing to do.”
Her children agree. “It’s a more normal way of growing up,” Tindall shared with TVNZ, part of the New Zealand Public Broadcast Service. Her son, Peter, values his mother’s down-to-earth style too. “Whenever we may have got slightly above our station she'd be the first one to bring us back down to earth fairly hard," he shared with the BBC in The Princess Royal At 60.
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Princess Anne has said that she will not be a fairy tale princess, and these photos show she means it. She is known as a straightshooter who tells it like it is. She picks out her own outfits, recycles her dresses by wearing them again and applies her own makeup. And it seems her sense of humor spares no one. When she discovered that Erin Doherty, who played her in The Crown said that it could take two hours to get her hair into Princess Anne’s famous chignon, The Princess Royal responded with pure amusement. “I’m thinking, ‘How could you possibly take that long?'” she joked in the ITV documentary Anne: The Princess Royal at 70. “I mean it takes me 10 or 15 minutes.”
Here, we take a look back at photos of Princess Anne, her family and her five decades of service to her country.
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View the 34 images of this gallery on the original article