Photo Credit – www.grand-national.me.uk
Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise was born at Clarence House in London, England on August 15, 1950. She is the second child of four children and the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born a Prince of Greece and Denmark).
At the time of Anne’s birth, her mother was Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh and the sovereign was her grandfather, King George VI. The children of a daughter of a British sovereign would not usually have been accorded the style Royal Highness or the titles Prince/Princess as in the case of Anne’s own children. However, on October 22, 1948, Anne’s grandfather King George VI issued letters patent allowing the children of the his eldest daughter and heiress presumptive, to use the style and title of a royal prince or princess. Therefore, Anne was Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of Edinburgh at birth.
Anne was baptized in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on October 21, 1950. Her grandparents were:
- Queen Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, her maternal grandmother
- Hereditary Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, born Princess Margarita of Greece, her paternal aunt
- Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, born Princess Alice of Battenberg, her paternal grandmother
- Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, born Prince Louis of Battenberg, her paternal great-uncle
- Reverend The Honorable Andrew Elphinstone, her mother’s maternal first cousin
Big brother Charles takes a peek at his sister while his mother and the godparents look on; Photo Credit – Press Association
King George VI died on February 6, 1952, and his elder daughter Princess Elizabeth became Queen. Upon her mother’s accession to the throne, Anne was styled Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne. Anne was too young to attend her mother’s coronation, but she did make an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
The Queen, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother on the balcony; Photo Credit – www.itv.com
Catherine Peebles who was the governess of Prince Charles was also Anne’s governess and she was responsible for Anne’s early education. In 1959, a Girl Guides company, 1st Buckingham Palace Company was formed at the palace to allow Anne to socialize with other girls. Similar Girl Guide companies had been formed at Buckingham Palace for Anne’s mother and her aunt Princess Margaret. From 1963-1968, Anne attended Benenden School, independent boarding school for girls in Kent, England.
Princess Anne in her Girl Guides uniform in 1960; Photo Credit – http://www.independent.co.uk
In the 1960s, there were two more additions to Charles’ family with the births of Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964.
Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth holding Prince Edward, Prince Charles, and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1965; Photo Credit – www.telegraph.co.uk
From a young age, Princess Anne was passionate about riding and she soon became an excellent equestrienne. In 1971, Anne won the European Eventing Championship, and was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. For more than five years Anne competed with the British eventing team, winning a silver medal in both individual and team disciplines in the 1975 European Eventing Championship. In the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics, Anne competed as a member of the British equestrian team.
Princess Anne competing in the 1976 Olympics; Photo Credit – www.express.co.uk
Anne’s love of riding led her to meet her first husband, Mark Phillips, also a member of the British equestrian team, and the winner of a gold medal in the Team Three Day Event in the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics and a silver medal in the Team Three Day Event in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. Anne and Mark’s engagement was announced on May 29, 1973, and they were married in Westminster Abbey on November 14, 1973. It is believed that Queen Elizabeth II offered Mark a peerage upon his marriage, which was declined. The Queen purchased the Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire, England for Princess Anne upon her marriage. In 1989, Princess Anne and Mark Phillips separated and their divorce was final on April, 23, 1992.
Photo Credit – www.telegraph.co.uk
Anne and Mark have two children: Peter Mark Andrew Phillips (born 1977) and Zara Anne Elizabeth Phillips (born 1981). Peter was the first grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and his daughters were the Queen’s first great grandchildren. Like her parents, Zara is also an equestrian and in the Team Three Day Event at the 2012 London Olympics she won a silver medal which was presented to her by her mother.
Anne with Mark Phillips and their children Zara and Peter; Photo Credit – www.dailymail.co.uk
On March 20, 1974 an unsuccessful attempt was made to kidnap Anne, as she and her husband were being driven along the Pall Mall on their way back to Buckingham Palace after a charity film show. Anne was not hurt, but several people were shot and injured including Anne’s personal protection officer and her chauffeur.
BBC: On This Day – March 20, 1974 – Kidnap attempt on Princess Anne
On June 13, 1987, Queen Elizabeth granted her daughter the style Princess Royal, a style that can be awarded to the eldest daughter of the monarch. The style is held for life, so a princess cannot be given the style during the lifetime of another Princess Royal. The use of “Princess Royal” came about when Queen Henrietta Maria, daughter of King Henri IV of France and wife of King Charles I of England, wanted to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the King of France was styled “Madame Royale”. Since 1987, Anne’s style has been Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. Besides Anne, there have been six other Princesses Royal:
- Mary, Princess Royal (1631–1660), daughter of King Charles I
- Anne, Princess Royal (1709–1759), daughter of King George II
- Charlotte, Princess Royal (1766–1828), daughter of King George III
- Victoria, Princess Royal (1840–1901), daughter of Queen Victoria
- Louise, Princess Royal (1867–1931), daughter of King Edward VII
- Mary, Princess Royal (1897–1965), daughter of King George V
On December 12, 1992, Anne married Commander (now Vice Admiral) Timothy Laurence, a Royal Navy officer, in a private Church of Scotland ceremony at Crathie Kirk in Ballater, Scotland, where the Royal Family worships when they stay at nearby Balmoral Castle. Anne was married in the Church of Scotland because it allowed the remarriage of divorced people. Anne had met her second husband when he served as an Equerry to Queen Elizabeth II. Like her first husband, Anne’s second husband did not receive a peerage.
Photo Credit – www.dailymail.co.uk
The Princess Royal carries out a full schedule of engagements in the United Kingdom and abroad and is involved with over 200 charities and organizations in an official capacity. Organizations, she is involved with include:
The Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence at the 2012 London Summer Olympics; Photo Credit – www.zimbio.com
Visit the official website of the British Royal Family here.
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