A Timeline of Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence's Romance

·5 min read
Photo credit: Mark Cuthbert - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mark Cuthbert - Getty Images

Over the course of their nearly three decades of marriage, Anne, Princess Royal, and her second husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, have become known as one of most low-key royal couples. Here are all of the details about their decades-long romance.

1986

We may not know the exact moment when Princess Anne and Tim first met, but in 1986, the naval officer came into the royal orbit when he was made equerry—a sort of official assistant to the royal family—to Anne's mother, the Queen. Prior to that, Tim had served aboard a number of naval vessels, including briefly on the royal family's yacht, the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia.

1988

Tim was made a trustee on The Princess Anne's Charities trust—at that time, one of just three trustees, according to People. "The appointment just shows Anne's affection for him," a source told the publication in 1989. He remains on the board of trustees to this day, and is its longest serving member.

Photo credit: Ken Goff - Getty Images
Photo credit: Ken Goff - Getty Images

1989

A number of personal letters from Tim to Princess Anne—who was, at that time, still married to her first husband, Mark Phillips—were anonymously delivered to the UK publication The Sun. The letters were, in turn, given over to Scotland Yard to investigate, and while their contents were never published, they quickly became a source of public speculation.

The Sunday Mirror claimed to have knowledge of the letters's contents, saying they were of "an extremely personal and intimate nature" and "too hot to handle." However, a source supposedly close to the situation at the time argued to People that the letters were much tamer. "It's quite clear that he is potty about her, but they are very boring and ramble on," they said. "They are the sort of letters 18- or 19-year-olds write to one another, thoughts about life and rather philosophical."

Photo credit: Mark Cuthbert - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mark Cuthbert - Getty Images

Buckingham Palace ultimately issued a statement on the incident, explaining, "The stolen letters were addressed to the Princess Royal by Commander Timothy Laurence, the Queen’s Equerry. We have nothing to say about the contents of personal letters sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend which were stolen and which are the subject of a police investigation."

Later that year, Anne and her husband, Mark, officially announced their separation. At the time, a statement from the Palace said that the couple had "no plans for divorce proceedings."

1992

Less than three years after their separation was announced, Anne and Mark Phillips legally divorced. Shortly thereafter, Anne and Tim made their public debut and on December 12 of that year, the couple wed in a small ceremony at a Presbyterian church near Balmoral (the Church of England did not allow marriage rites for divorced individuals.) Anne wore a white suit for the occasion, while Tim donned his naval uniform. The couple reportedly exchanged vows to stay together "until God shall separate us by death."

Photo credit: PA Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: PA Images - Getty Images

Ironically, the wedding, which was attended by the Queen, Prince Philip, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and Prince Edward, as well as Anne's children, Peter and Zara Phillips, took place just days after Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced their legal separation.

2005

Tim quickly became a fixture of royal life alongside the princess, accompanying her on state visits and to royal events. In 2005, the couple attended the wedding of Anne's brother, Prince Charles, to his longtime girlfriend Camilla.

2007

While Tim did not receive peerage through his marriage to Princess Anne, he has been given a number of awards and honors over the years for his service to the crown and the nation. In 2007, he was awarded a CBE—Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the highest rank of the awards—on the same day that Anne's daughter Zara was invested with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to Equestrianism.

Photo credit: Pool/Tim Graham Royal Photos - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool/Tim Graham Royal Photos - Getty Images

2011

Anne and Tim spent plenty of time as wedding guests in 2011, attending both the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton together, as well as that of Anne's daughter, Zara to Mike Tindall.

In 2011, Tim was also made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen.

2012

Tim and Anne cheered on Zara as she competed at the 2012 Olympics. She ultimately took home a silver medal as a member of the Great Britain equestrian eventing team.

Photo credit: Jeff J Mitchell - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jeff J Mitchell - Getty Images

2018

The royal couple attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May, and of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in October.

2021

Anne and Tim isolated over the Christmas holidays when he tested positive for COVID-19.

2022

During the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, Tim was granted a rare dispensation to remain on the Buckingham Palace balcony despite a decision to only host working royals (and, in the case of the Cambridges and the Wessexes, their children) on the balcony during Trooping the Colour. "The Queen is happy [for Timothy Laurence] to attend as a frequent attendee and support for the Princess Royal on official engagements," Buckingham Palace announced ahead of the event.

After the Queen's death in September 2022, Laurence remained by Anne's side, traveling with her as they accompanied the Queen's coffin from Scotland to London, where the late monarch will lie in state ahead of her funeral.

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