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Princess Anne breaks silence over 'decent-sized hat' blocking Prince Harry's view at coronation

The Princess Royal acted as the King's Gold-Stick-In-Waiting at the service

Princess Anne seated in front of Prince Harry at coronation
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The Princess Royal reportedly raised concerns about her "decent-sized hat" which ended up blocking Prince Harry's view at King Charles' coronation last May.

Princess Anne's towering, feathered hat which appeared to block her nephew Harry's view during the service sparked various memes on social media at the time.

A new royal book details the first year of Charles' reign, including the historic Westminster Abbey ceremony.

In Robert Hardman's new book, Charles III: New King. New Court. The Inside Story, which is being serialised by The Daily Mail, Anne defends herself against allegations she had worn the hat on purpose and had changed seats at the last-minute, to ensure a "speedy exit".

King Charles' close protection bodyguard sitting behind the royals at the coronation ceremony© Getty
Harry was seated in the third royal behind senior working royals

In his latest publication, released on Thursday, Robert writes: "At the Coronation itself, Prince Harry was seated in the third row of the royal section, immediately behind Princess Anne, who was wearing a striking red-plumed bicorn hat that remained on her head throughout.  Social media snipers instantly concluded that Harry had been deliberately placed behind his aunt's tall hat to obscure his view.

"This is nonsense. Not only do the Lord Chamberlain's Office not think like that, but the Princess Royal had only switched to that seat after her request for a speedy exit. 

"'The hat was an interesting question,' the Princess recalled later. 'I said: 'Are you sure you want me to keep the hat on? Because it's quite a decent-sized hat.' And the answer was yes. There you go. Not my choice."

Cameras picked up a sweet exchange between Princess Anne and Prince Harry, with a lip-reading expert telling HELLO! at the time that the Duke of Sussex told his aunt: "I don't mind," possibly in response to Anne commenting on his seating position.  He then reportedly said: "Sit at the front."

WATCH: Prince Harry arrives at the coronation

Robert Hardman's book also reveals how the Princess Royal was the one to greet Harry when he arrived at Balmoral to pay his respects to his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince Harry speaks to Princess Anne, Princess Royal during the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla © Getty
Harry and Anne's warm greeting at the coronation

Harry also confirmed that he and his aunt exchanged a hug in his memoir, Spare, released last January, as he arrived at the royal family's Scottish estate.

He wrote: "Hunched against the cold, I hurried into the foyer. Aunt Anne was there to greet me. I hugged her. Where’s Pa and Willy? And Camilla? Gone to Birkhall, she said. She asked if I wanted to see Granny. Yes…I do. She led me upstairs, to Granny’s bedroom. I braced myself, went in."

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