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Why did Princess Anne and first husband Captain Mark Phillips divorce?

The late Queen's daughter is now married to Timothy Laurence


princess anne captain mark phillips wedding day
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
11 November 2022
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With the return of The Crown on Netflix, many viewers will see how Princess Anne's divorce to Captain Mark Phillips came about. Although the royal-based drama is fictional, the Princess Royal stunned royal watchers when she announced their separation and became the Queen's first child to end their marriage.

MORE: Princess Anne reunites with ex-husband Captain Mark Phillips at special family wedding

Princess Anne, the Queen's second child and only daughter, and Mark tied the knot in November 1973. They went on to welcome son Peter in 1977 and daughter Zara in 1981 before they sadly announced their separation in August 1989.

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The former couple divorced in 1992 and Anne went on to marry naval officer Commander Timothy Laurence later that same year.

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This was the first time a child of the British monarch had remarried after divorce and defied the Church of England since the 2002 law had not yet come to fruition. Anne sidestepped this by marrying Timothy in Scotland.

Shortly after Zara's birth, it was widely rumoured that Princess Anne and Mark were having marital troubles. The pair were rarely seen together, with Anne being busy with her royal engagements.

princess anne captain mark phillips wedding wave© Photo: Getty Images

The former couple married in November 1973

The former couple often went abroad without each other and were notably apart during their 15th wedding anniversary.

SEE: 7 royal couples who gave up their titles for love

When Buckingham Palace confirmed their separation, the statement read: "Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal, and Capt. Mark Phillips have decided to separate on terms agreed between them. There are no plans for divorce proceedings."

princess anne captain mark phillips with zara tindall© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Anne and Mark seen with their daughter Zara in 2020

At the time, PA said that the terms of the separation were private and that Princess Anne would continue to live with the children at her home in Gatcombe Park, which the Queen gave to the couple in 1976.

They also added that Mark, who moved to a farm two miles away on the Gatcombe Park estate, would have full access to the children.

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