They are seen as role models and pillars of society, but there have been times when members of the royal family have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. Princess Anne was the first senior royal to be convicted of a criminal offence, after her dog attacked two children in 2002. It was the first time a senior royal had attended court for over 100 years.
Accompanied to a Berkshire court by her children Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, Anne pleaded guilty to the charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act and was subsequently fined £500, ordered to pay £500 compensation to the two victims and to pay £148 in court costs. The court also ordered Anne to keep her English bull terrier, named Dotty, on a lead in public, plus to organise training for the animal.
Anne pleaded guilty to the Dangerous Dogs Act charge in 2002
In the one-hour hearing, Anne – who emphasised that she did not want preferential treatment – admitted to having a dog dangerously out of control but that Dotty, then three, was a good-natured animal "lacking in malice". The incident was completely out of character, Anne's lawyer added.
Two boys were injured after Anne's dog bit them, and relatives of the youngsters called for the terrier to be put down. But District Judge Penelope Hewitt accepted that Anne and her husband Timothy Laurence are experienced dog owners; she warned that any future incidents could result in the animal being put down. "I have to add that these children did suffer considerably from this experience," District Judge Penelope Hewitt said. "It was a very, very unfortunate episode."
Anne walking her dogs in 1996
The incident took place in April 2002. Anne and her husband Timothy were putting their dogs into their car after walking them in Windsor Great Park, when Dotty escaped and attacked two boys who were riding their bikes. The 12-year-old was bitten on the collarbone and leg, while the seven-year-old had scratch marks on his forearm, back and leg. Both boys were taken to hospital in a "traumatised state" but did not need stitches.
The 2002 court appearance wasn't Anne's first brush with the law. The year before, she was convicted of speeding after she admitted driving at 93mph in a 70mph zone. The royal was fined £400, ordered to pay £30 costs and given five penalty points on her driving license. In 1977, when Anne was 26, she was also fined £40 for doing 96mph in a 70mph zone. The Queen's daughter was also banned from driving for one month and fined £150 in 1990 after admitting two speeding offences.
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