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Princess Anne faces 'slow' recovery from injury at 73

The Princess Royal worried royal fans when it was announced she was in hospital following an accident at her Gatcombe Park home

Princess Anne in navy shirt and jacket© Shutterstock
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
Updated: June 28, 2024
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Princess Anne worried royal fans on Monday when Buckingham Palace revealed the 73-year-old was in hospital following an accident at home.

HELLO! understands that Princess Anne was out walking on her Gatcombe Estate when the incident occurred, resulting in the Princess Royal sustaining minor wounds to the head and a concussion.

While the exact cause of her injuries has not been confirmed, it's understood that her medical team say that the royal's injuries are consistent with a potential impact from a horse's head or legs. 

Princess Anne, Princess Royal attends the show jumping competition at the British Eventing Gatcombe Horse Trials at Gatcombe Park© MJ Kim
Princess Anne was injured by a horse

The Princess Royal spent several days at hospital in Bristol, where she was monitored following her concussion, before returning to Gatcombe Park on Friday to recuperate.  The royal will return to public duty when her doctors recommend it is safe and comfortable to do so. 

This injury isn't Princess Anne's first brush with horse-related concussion, in fact, her accident mirrors a similar ordeal that she went through in 1976, but GP and medical educator Dr. Raj Arora tells HELLO! that at 73, Princess Anne's recovery may take longer.

Princess Anne's recovery

When she suffered her 1976 concussion (details below), Princess Anne was just 26-years-old and able to bounce back quickly, but this could be a different story now she is 73.

READ: Royals' dramatic horse injuries: King Charles, Princess Anne and Duchess Sophie's broken bones 

"Most mild head injuries result in no long-term damage but may cause temporary disruption, known as concussion," explains Dr. Raj Arora. "This can last for anywhere between seven days to up to a month in some people."

beautiful dark haired doctor wearing a stethoscope
Dr. Raj Arora shares her insight into Princess Anne's recovery from concussion

At 73, Princess Anne's recovery is likely to be nearer the month mark. "Most older adults will recover from a concussion in about a month," says Dr. Arora."Around a third might take longer than that. 

Explaining the complications surrounding Princess Anne's recovery, Dr. Arora adds: "Much of the research around concussion focusses on younger people, but there has been some work looking at recovery in older adults following a mild traumatic brain injury.

"The anatomy of the ageing brain can predispose people to more serious brain injury such as bleeding or haemorrhage. This is because medications such as anticoagulants, which thin the blood and can lead to a higher risk of bleeding, are also more prevalent in the older population. Therefore, risk of bleeding is higher in older population."

Princess Anne's husband, Sir Timothy Laurence appeared to confirm her potentially longer recovery time on Tuesday, sharing of his wife: "She's doing fine – slow but sure."

Princess Anne's 1976 accident

Princess Anne's Olympic debut in 1976 didn't go to plan after the horse she was riding, Goodwill, failed to make one of the jumps on the course, bringing the royal down with the fall.

princess anne horse© Photo: Getty Images
Princess Anne had an accident at the Olympics

Anne quickly remounted her horse, but reports reveal that the Princess Royal remembered little of the rest of the course, having suffered from a concussion during the accident.

Despite her seemingly swift recovery, the Princess later admitted in an interview: "It was going very well and then I don’t remember anything else. Nothing at all."

We're hoping the royal is back to her energetic self in no time!


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