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Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence on the Buckingham Palace balcony© Max Mumby/Indigo

Meet Princess Anne's husband Vice-Admiral Timothy Laurence

The Princess Royal walked down the aisle with her husband in 1992

Matthew Moore
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead
June 6, 2024
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Princess Anne has made a name for herself as Britain's hardest-working royal, and during her many engagements she can often count on her husband Sir Timothy Laurence to be by her side.

Timothy has been at the Princess Royal's side since they met during the 1980s. He has supported her through heavy moments during her life, including the deaths of her parents, Prince Philip and the late Queen. Timothy has also been there on numerous royal events, including engagements, garden parties and King Charles' coronation.

WATCH: Timothy Laurence joins Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace garden party

While the royal couple don't have children of their own, Timothy has proven to be quite the stepfather to Anne's children from her previous marriage, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall.

Timothy always makes sure to never steal the spotlight from his royal wife, so what do you know of the former naval officer? Here's all you need to know…

Early life

Born on 1 March 1955, Timothy was the youngest of two sons for parents for Guy and Barbara Stewart. The Royal Navy already flowed through Timothy's blood as his father had served as a Commander.

Growing up with brother Jonathan, Timothy started his education at the New Beacon Preparatory School in Sevenoaks, before heading to Sevenoaks School. The military man finished his education at University College in Durham while on a naval scholarship, graduating with a second-class honours degree in geography.

Career

After leaving university, Timothy joined the navy on 1 January 1973 at the rank of midshipman. Within two years he had been promoted to sub-lieutenant. His skills were plain to see and his next promotion came ten months ahead of schedule.

Sir Timothy Laurence walking behind Queen Elizabeth at a navy inspection© Tim Graham
Timothy (back) was one of the late Queen's equerries

During the 1980s, he served as navigating officer for both the royal yacht HMY Britannia and HMS Sheffield before taking command of the patrol boat HMS Cygnet, which patrolled for IRA fighters.

In 1986, he became an equerry for Princess Anne's mother, the late Queen, a position he held between 1986 and 1989. After this, he became the commanding officer for HMS Boxer and in 1994 he became the first military assistant for the then Defence Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester with Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Alexandra and Angus Ogilvy at a Remembrance Service© Julian Herbert
Timothy left the Royal Navy in 2004

The rest of his naval career came with further promotions through the ranks including Captain and Commodore and he finally became a Rear-Admiral in 2004. In 2010, he resigned from the navy having served for 37 years.

Following his retirement from the navy, he started pursuing charitable and non-executive endeavours, with a key focus on property and regeneration. In 2023, he was appointed the chairman of the Science Museum Group which owns museums like London's Science Museum and York's National Railway Museum.

Meeting Princess Anne

It's believed that Anne and Sir Timothy first crossed paths when the naval officer was serving aboard the royal yacht while an equerry to the late Queen. At the time, Anne was married to Captain Mark Phillips, however the couple's marriage was beginning to show cracks.

Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence boarding the Hebridean Princess© Anwar Hussein Collection
Anne and Timothy are believed to have met on the Royal Yacht Britannia

In 1989, The Sun obtained letters exchanged between Anne and Timothy, and passed them onto Scotland Yard. The personal letters were never published and Buckingham Palace confirmed Timothy as the author.

The Royal Yacht Britannia sailing through Venice© Tim Graham
Sir Timothy served on the Royal Yacht Britannia for several years

In a statement, they said: "The stolen letters were addressed to the Princess Royal by Commander Timothy Laurence, the Queen's Equerry. We have nothing to say about the contents of personal letters sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend which were stolen and which are the subject of a police investigation."

Relationship with Anne

Following the end of her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips, Anne and Timothy became an official item and on 12 December 1992 they walked down the aisle in Scotland. Scotland was chosen as the country's church allowed divorcees to remarry, while the Church of England forbid it at the time.

Anne and Timothy's wedding was attended by the late Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Anne's two children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Anne's younger brother, Prince Edward.

Sir Timothy Laurence and Princess Anne driving away from their wedding© EPA
Timothy and Anne walked down the aisle in 1992

Although Anne and Timothy don't have children of their own, the former naval officer is a proud stepfather to Peter and Zara. When Zara competed in the Badminton Horse Trials in May 2024, the duo enjoyed a sweet embrace.

Like Anne's first husband, Sir Timothy was offered a royal title upon his marriage to the Princess Royal, but he decided to turn this down. He was, however, made a Knight Commander in 2011.

Princess Anne walking with Zara Tindall, Sir Timothy Laurence and Peter Phillips© Karwai Tang
Timothy is close with Anne's two children

Timothy clearly had a close bond with the rest of the royal family and was the only person of non-royal lineage on the Buckingham Palace balcony during the late Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations and Trooping the Colour.

Sir Timothy Laurence and Princess Anne on Buckingham Palace's balcony© Mark Cuthbert
Timothy was able to appear at Trooping the Colour alongside his wife

Statements ahead of the event said only working royals would appear alongside Her Late Majesty, but added: " The Cambridge and Wessex children are also expected to appear as is Sir Tim Laurence, who the Queen is happy to attend as a frequent attendee and support for the Princess Royal on official engagements."

PHOTOS: Princess Anne twins with husband Sir Timothy Laurence in matching £115 gifts from King Charles

MORE: Princess Anne's husband Sir Timothy Laurence takes on impressive new role

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