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Inside Princess Anne's wedding to Timothy Laurence which was forbidden in England

The Princess Royal and her husband eloped in 1992

Commander Tim Laurence and the Princess Royal after their wedding at Craithie Church, near Balmoral.
Senior Features Writer
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Updated: 29 January 2024
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Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence have been married for over three decades after tying the knot in an unconventional, low-key royal wedding in 1992.

The Princess Royal and the retired Navy Officer met while he was serving on the Royal Yacht Britannia and became romantically involved some years after. But when it came to getting married, the pair were forced to travel to Scotland to tie the knot as they were forbidden from getting married in England at the time.

The royal bride had been married before to Mark Phillips in 1973 and the divorce was finalised in early 1992. The Church of England did not permit remarrying, leaving neighbouring Scotland as their only choice.

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Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence's wedding in Scotland

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence on their wedding day, 1992© Raw/Nre/Shutterstock

Royals said 'I do' at Crathie Kirk church

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence said 'I do' at Crathie Kirk church, the family's church of choice when they are staying at the Balmoral Estate in Scotland. Princess Anne's divorce from Mark Phillips had cleared earlier in the year.

Members of the Royal Family leave Craithie Church after the royal wedding of the Princess Royal and Commander Tim Laurence.© Martin Keene - PA Images

A royal guest list

The tiny guest list included her parents, the late Queen Mother, the late Queen, the late Duke of Edinburgh, her children Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, as well as her brothers, the then-Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward

One the the official photographs from the day shows Princess Anne with her closest family members.  

princess anne timothy laurence wedding photo© Photo: Rex

Princess Anne’s midi dress

Princess Anne didn't go for a traditional bridal gown, as she did for her first wedding. Instead, she wore a high-neck midi dress with a white jacket. She accessorised the chic look with black court shoes and her usual beehive.  

Princess Anne's ring from Sir Timothy Laurence© Tim Graham

The ring

The wedding was held on a winter's day 12 December 1992 after Timothy proposed with a gorgeous cabochon sapphire and diamond ring

The couple met when Laurence, who was then a commander in the Royal Navy, was serving on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Commander Tim Laurence and the Princess Royal, with her son Peter Phillips, leave after their wedding at Craithie Church near Balmoral© Martin Keene - PA Images,Getty

Tying the knot

As they left the church, traditional bagpipes were playing, a nod to the glorious Scottish setting. She carried a small posy of heather which matched the sprig of flowers in her hair. 

Heather symbolises good luck so it's ideal for wedding day bouquets. Despite it being a quiet royal affair, the crowds still gathered to wish the newlyweds well.

Princess Anne, Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence attend day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2021 in Ascot, England.© Max Mumby/Indigo,Getty

Happily ever after

Princess Anne and husband Timothy now live together on the Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire, along with their daughter Zara who lives with her husband Mike Tindall and their three children, Mia, age nine, Lena, five, and Lucas, two.

Princess Anne's son Peter is now believed to live in a separate property on the grounds after he and his ex-wife Autumn Phillips separated in 2021. 

The former couple share daughters, Savannah, 12, and Isla, 11. Peter has since found love with longtime friend, Lindsay Steven.

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