Princess Anne has many guises; she is a medal-winning Olympian, a down-to-earth family woman who rejected royal titles for her children, a frugal country woman with a passion for anything equine, and a punctilious public servant, who is consistently named as Britain's hardest-working royal. She also has a reputation for her quick wit and droll sense of humour. In celebration of her upcoming 70th birthday, we take a look back at some of the Princess Royal's funniest moments so far…
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Princess Anne has a wicked sense of humour!
The fashion faux-pas
Every year, the royal family gather at Sandringham for Christmas, and a key part of their day is attending the 11am service at St Mary's Magdalene Church. All those in attendance are impeccably dressed – but last year, Princess Anne and her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall, suffered an embarrassing faux-pas! The two ladies both arrived at church wearing very similar shades of purple – furthermore, they had both chosen dress coats, similar hats and long black boots. Luckily, they both took it in good humour. Anne was photographed looking Camilla up and down, before laughing the coincidence off.
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Anne and Camilla pictured on Christmas Day in 2019
Donald Trump's visit
The Princess Royal inadvertently made headlines during Donald Trump's 2019 state visit to Britain, when she was caught on camera seemingly being scolded by her mother, the Queen. A clip showed the monarch greeting guests at a reception held at Buckingham Palace. Anne could be seen standing off to one side – and in the video, the Queen turns towards her only daughter and appears to gesture to her to join the receiving line. Princess Anne responds by widening her arms out and shrugging. The clip quickly went viral on Twitter, with one fan writing. "Princess Anne is the Queen of Shade. She is all of us." However, it was later revealed that Anne had shrugged and told her mother, "It's just me" to signal there were no more dignitaries for her to greet. Gesturing behind her to members of the royal household, she added: "And this lot."
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WATCH: Princess Anne shrugs to the Queen during Donald Trump's state visit
Her retirement from eventing
Princess Anne is known for her equestrian talents; she won two silver medals and a gold at the European Eventing Championships, and was the first member of the British royal family to compete in the Olympic Games. But she has another string to add to her bow. Asked about her achievements following her decision to retire from eventing, she quipped, "I got them more lavatories."
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The Princess was an accomplished equestrian
Being mistaken for her brother, Prince Charles
One of Anne's finest moments came in 2012, when she was mistaken for her older brother, Prince Charles. While attending the Young Advocates for Agriculture debate, Anne was introduced by speaker David Bolton as Her Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. The smiling Princess could be seen looking incredulous, before rolling her eyes at his mistake. "It's the excitement!" he told the royal, who quickly retorted: "There's a worry!"
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Anne later recounted another case of mistaken identity in her speech. "My brother tells a story of having visited an elderly care home in Scotland, and at the time he was in a kilt,” she shared. “And he actually heard, when he was engaged in conversation down the other end, an old lady saying, 'Is that the Princess Royal?'" As the laughter starts to subside, she concludes: "Thought it was quite funny. And I am wearing trousers today!"
Her sassy response to journalists
Princess Anne does not suffer fools gladly! In January 2019, she was performing her royal duties just one day after her father, Prince Philip, was involved in a car accident near the Sandringham Estate. According to a royal reporter, Anne answered a question about her father's condition during the engagement, while appearing to be unperturbed by his accident. She replied: "I've no idea. You know where I am? Same place as you."
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Princess Anne has a close relationship with her father, Prince Philip
The kidnapping attempt
Princess Anne's cool and calm demeanour was never more evident than in 1974 when she was the subject of a kidnapping attempt. Then just 23, Anne was on her way to Buckingham Palace with her then-husband Captain Mark Phillips after a film screening when their maroon Rolls Royce was waylaid on the Mall by a white Ford Escort. Her bodyguard was shot in the shoulder by Ian Ball, before he approached the vehicle and ordered Anne to get out, or he'd shoot. "Not bloody likely!" Anne retorted. She later told an inquiry: "I nearly lost my temper with him. But I knew that if I did, I should hit him and he would shoot me."
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Princess Anne with her first husband, Mark Phillips
Anne further spoke about the 1974 incident in an interview with Michael Parkinson. "We had a sort of discussion about where or where not we were going to go," she recalled to laughter from the audience. "Well, he said I had to go with him - I can't remember why," she added facetiously, before turning to her husband Mark. "You were quite obstinate about it," he added. "I said I didn't think I wanted to go," the Princess said with a smile. "I was scrupulously polite, because I thought, silly to be too rude at that stage."