From Olympic triumph to kidnap attempt – Anne has experienced it all


Hardworking, practical and unassuming, the Princess Royal has come to epitomise the modern royal.

Anne has experienced everything from a kidnapping attempt to Olympic joy, raised a family and supported the Queen in her role as head of state for decades.

Christened Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise she was born at Clarence House on August 15 1950, the younger sister of the Prince of Wales.

Anne once remarked: “As a young princess I was a huge disappointment to everyone concerned.

“It’s impractical to go around in life dressed in a long white dress and a crown.”

The princess was born third in line to the throne, but was leapfrogged by her younger brothers Andrew and Edward when they were born, and she is now 14th in line.

The rule that younger brothers could succeed before elder sisters no longer applies, thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, but it was not backdated so did not affect Anne.

A skilled horsewoman, the princess won the individual championship at Burghley in 1971, and later that year was voted BBC Sports Personality of 1971.

Five years later she won a place in the 1976 Montreal Olympics as a three-day eventer in the British equestrian team.

Anne went on to become a British member of the International Olympic Committee and took part in London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and was a member of the organising committee.

She married her first husband, fellow horseman Captain Mark Phillips, in 1973.

The couple survived a kidnapping attempt the following year and had two children, Peter, born in 1977, and, four years later, Zara, a silver medal-winning Olympic horsewoman.

Anne decided her children would not have royal titles.

In November 1977, the couple moved to their 18th-century country house Gatcombe Park, near Stroud, Gloucestershire, a present from the Queen, complete with 730 acres of land, large stables and a trout lake.

Ten years later she was honoured by the Queen with the senior title of Princess Royal, which is traditionally, but not automatically, given by the sovereign to their eldest daughter.

She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia in 1990 for her work as president of the charity Save The Children.

The princess married her second husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, in a low-key ceremony in 1992, after her first marriage ended in divorce after 19 years.

In 2002, Anne became the first senior member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offence.

She pleaded guilty at East Berkshire Magistrates’ Court in Slough to a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act after her pet Dotty bit two children in Windsor Great Park.

She was fined £500.

Today she is a grandmother and regularly tops the league table for the number of royal engagements carried out by members of the monarchy.