With the coronation drawing closer, many royals have found themselves in the media spotlight. King Charles and Queen Camilla will naturally be the two leading figures on the big day, but another person of great interest will undoubtedly be Princess Anne.
The daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and sister of King Charles – who was given the title Princess Royal in 1987 – has largely kept quiet, performing her usual engagements despite the tumultuous periods the Royal Family has gone through of late.
Just days before the coronation, the princess has decided to speak out on the monarchy’s future.
It turns out she doesn’t agree with one facet of Charles’s approach at all.
Being a senior member of the Royal Family, Princess Anne has always lived her life in the spotlight. That said, she’s never been the type to attract headlines through her work, but rather through her personal life and interests.
In her youth, Anne placed perhaps more focus on having fun and enjoying herself rather than on her royal duties. Yet over the years, she became – and remains – one of the hardest-working royals in the entire family.
Though she’s a staunch supporter of her elder brother, King Charles, they don’t necessarily agree on how the monarchy should be formed in the future.
The Princess Royal’s story is quite incredible. She’s the second-eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II, but today stands at a lowly 16th in the line of succession. So, how is that even possible?
Let’s take a closer look at Princess Anne’s life – and what she will be doing at King Charles’ coronation on May 6.
Princess Anne – early life & education
Princess Anne was born on August 15, 1950, in London. The only daughter and second child of Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh, the late Prince Philip, it wasn’t until much later that she received her title of Princess Royal.
Anne was born when much was changing in the UK and the world. The post-war times were tough, and equality between men and women wasn’t the hottest of topics, at least not within the Royal Family.
Anne got her education at Buckingham Palace, and in 1963 joined the Beneden School in Kent, where she completed her education. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s other three children, Andrew, Charles, and Edward went to Gordonstoun School in Scotland. Anne was the only one that didn’t go to the prestigious school since girls were not permitted to attend.
In 1969, at 18, Princess Anne began taking on public engagements as a working royal. However, she had several other passions. Aged 11, the young princess made her debut in a public competition, even winning a jumping event held by the Queen at Windsor Home Park, according to the book Anne, Princess Royal.
She continued riding at the private Beneden School and tried out horses at the Moat House Riding School as much as she could.
Anne was a true athlete who loved the thrill of competing in classic horse riding and choreographed performance events.
“I thought if I was going to do anything outside of the royal family, horses was likely to be the best way of doing it,” Princess Anne told royal author Katie Nicholl in a piece for Vanity Fair.
Competed in the 1976 Olympics
“But then you have to find the right horse at the right time. The original horse I rode was bred as a polo pony and should never have been an event horse, but it worked, so that was very satisfying. But I always knew it was going to be limited time.”
While Anne continued her royal duties, horseback riding was a serious hobby. She finished fourth at the Rushall Horse Trials and later claimed victory at the high-profile Badminton Trials.
Even though an inflamed ovarian cyst halted her promising career, Princess Anne would claim her most significant success at the European Eventing Championships in Cambridgeshire in 1971. On her horse Doublet, Anne became the first royal ever to win the European gold medal and was awarded BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.
In 1976, she had the opportunity of a lifetime to compete in the Olympiad in Montreal, Canada. However, it didn’t go to plan.
Her horse, Goodwill, failed to make one of the jumps on the course, and Anne was thrown from the saddle. Though she remounted Goodwill, it was later revealed that she suffered from a concussion.
“What I didn’t know at the time was she had this awful fall, but she got back on and competed,” Princess Anne’s lady-in-waiting later said.
“She was that concussed that she couldn’t remember – and still to this day, I believe can’t remember – the rest of the course.”
Today, Princess Anne has been retired from professional equestrian for a long time. However, she still rides for pleasure at her home in Gloucestershire. She breeds horses and even helped teach her grandchildren to ride.