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The Princess Royal's life in photos: from a young girl to the hardest-working royal

The Princess Royal has had an exciting life

Split image of Princess Anne as she is now to one of her as a baby with the Queen and Prince Philip
Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
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Princess Anne regularly finds herself at the top of the list when it comes to the hardest-working royals, and the 73-year-old has had quite an exciting life.

From her birth in 1950, Anne has been through it all. During her lifetime, the Princess Royal has been married twice and also welcomed her own children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall. One of the more dramatic moments of her life saw her the subject of a kidnap plot with the royal surviving an encounter with a gunman.

Join us at HELLO! as we chart Anne's extraordinary life from her birth to her marriages, and her important role at the coronation of her older brother, King Charles.

A Princess is born© Central Press

A Princess is born

Anne, the second child of the late Queen and Prince Philip, was born on 15 August 1950 at Clarence House. Just two months later, Anne was christened in the music room at Buckingham Palace. As you can see in this photo, the baby royal was dressed in the royal christening gown, which is made of Honiton lace.

The Queen carrying a baby Princess Anne and Prince Philip carrying a young Prince Charles© Keystone

Family moments

It appears Prince Louis isn't the only young royal to 'shush' their parent, as even at one, Anne showed she was in charge, placing her hand over father Prince Philip's lips.

The Queen and Prince Philip wave on Buckingham Palace© Hulton Archive

Anne's first coronation

Due to her young age at the time, not even three years old, Anne was not present for many of the ceremonial aspects of her mother's coronation in 1953. However, the young royal did make an appearance on the balcony, waving at onlookers.

Young Princess Anne walking with young King Charles© Keystone-France

Anne's first time abroad

Given her status as the hardest-working royal, Anne has been abroad numerous times throughout her life, but her first foreign adventure came in 1954 when the royal and the then Prince Charles sailed to Malta in order to reunite with their parents who were on a Commonwealth Tour. After her stop in Malta, Anne also visited Libya, her first time off the European continent.

Princess Anne and Prince Philip holding the hands of a baby Prince Andrew© Keystone

Anne becomes a big sister

In 1960, Princess Anne became a big sister and the Queen and Philip welcomed their third child, Prince Andrew. Due to laws at the time, Andrew moved ahead of Anne in line to the throne, and she would likewise be moved behind her young brother Prince Edward when he was born in 1964.

A young Princess Anne with a horse© Hulton Archive

A love is born

In this photo, taken during the 1960s, Anne can be seen with one of her true loves: horses. During her life, the royal has proven to be a keen equestrian, competing in the European Championships, and even scooping a gold medal in 1971. This love of horses has been passed on to her daughter, Zara Tindall.

A teenage Prince Anne with other students© Bob Haswell

Anne's education

In 1963, Anne enrolled in the Benenden Girls School in Kent. The royal completed her studies there in 1968 and left with six GCE O-levels and two A-levels before beginning her royal duties a year later.

A young Princess Anne stood with the Queen© Fox Photos

Starting her new life

Princess Anne began royal duties in 1969, with her first engagement seeing her open an educational and training centre in Shropshire. In this photo, the Princess Royal joined her mother and father on a state visit to Austria, and you can see the joy on Her Late Majesty's face.

Princess Anne riding a horse© William Lovelace

Winning gold

As we mentioned earlier, horse racing is a passion of the Princess Royal, and in 1971 she rode her horse Doublet to a gold medal during the European Eventing Championships. Anne also won two silver medals at the championships in 1975 and competed at the 1976 Olympic Games, but she suffered from a fall and concussion during the event, which ultimately saw the British team withdraw.

Princess Anne stood with Mark Phillips© Fox Photos

Anne's first love

In 1968, Anne met Captain Mark Phillips at a party for horse lovers. The pair wed in 1973, with the service being televised and attracting an audience of 100 million people. Mark turned down the Earldom that was offered to him and the pair went on to welcome two children, Peter and Zara, who didn't inherit any royal titles. However, it would not be marital bliss for the couple, with the pair announcing their separation in 1989 before finalising their divorce in 1992.

Police near two cars© Evening Standard

Kidnap attempt

One of the most dramatic moments of Princess Anne's life came in 1974, when she was almost kidnapped by Ian Ball, who intended to hold her to ransom for between £2m or £3m, which he claimed he would donate to the NHS. Anne's personal security and chauffeur were shot in the attempt, as was tabloid journalist Brian McConnell when he attempted to intervene, although all three survived.

Anne exited her car with her lady-in-waiting, Rowena Brassey, but the pair were rescued by boxer Ron Russell, who punched Ian and escorted the women to safety.

WATCH: Princess Anne relives her kidnap ordeal
Anne becomes a mum© Anwar Hussein

Anne becomes a mum

On 15 November 1977, Anne became a mum for the first time when she welcomed her son Peter into the world. Peter was the late Queen's first grandchild and unlike other royals, he does not have a title, with Anne intending for her children to grow up with a "normal life".

Princess Anne and Prince Philip walking with a young Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall© Tim Graham

Anne becomes a mum (again)

In 1981, Anne and Mark welcomed their second child, Zara. The royal, who like her older brother doesn't have a royal title, followed in her mum's footsteps with her love of horse racing, and even won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in equestrian.

Sir Tim Laurence and Princess Anne in a car© EPA

Anne's second marriage

Anne would go on to find love again, this time with Timothy Laurence, who at the time of their meeting in 1989 was an equerry to the late Queen. Following Anne's divorce from Mark, the pair wed in 1992, and you can see how in love the couple were in this photo as they left their wedding in Crathie Kirk.

The Queen's death© WPA Pool

The Queen's death

Anne became a steady member of the royal family, undertaking many engagements, but her heart was broken in 2022 when her mother died on year after the death of her father. Anne was in Balmoral at the time of monarch's passing and accompanied her mother's body back to England.

Princess Anne rides on horseback at coronation© Getty

Role in the King's coronation

Anne has become the King's right-hand woman, and took on a very important role at her brother's coronation. The royal was appointed as the Gold-Stick-in-Waiting, who is entrusted with the monarch's personal safety. Following the service, Anne followed Charles and Queen Camilla's carriage on horseback before she led a procession of armed forces personnel.

The couple are on their third and last day of their royal tour © Getty

Still hard at work

Anne continues to work hard and earlier this year, she was described as the royal family's "eyes and ears" as she undertook a visit to Sri Lanka alongside her husband.

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