The Princess Royal – 70 facts at 70


1)    Her Royal Highness was born Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise at Clarence House on 15th August 1950, VJ Day, at 11.50 a.m., reported in the Press as weighing 6 pounds exactly. 

2)    A 21-gun salute in Hyde Park signalled the birth of Princess Anne. 

3)    Her Royal Highness was baptised in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 21st October 1950, by Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett.

4)     Princess Anne’s first public engagement was in 1969 when, aged 18, Her Royal Highness opened an educational and training centre in Shropshire.

5)    Her Royal Highness has been President of Save the Children UK since 1970, and it was the first major charity with which she became closely associated.  The Princess has been Patron since 2016, having taken over the Patronage from Her Majesty. 

6)    Her Royal Highness is involved with over 300 charities, organisations and military regiments in the UK and overseas.

7)    Princess Anne competed at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games as a member of the British Equestrian team.  She was the first member of The British Royal Family to compete in an Olympic Games.

8)    The Princess Royal’s only daughter, Zara Phillips, competed in the British Equestrian team at the Olympic Games in London 2012, where she won silver in the team eventing, becoming the first member of The British Royal Family to medal in the Olympics.

9)    On 5th February 1987, Princess Anne became the first member of The Royal Family to appear as a contestant on a television quiz-show when she competed on the BBC panel game A Question of Sport.

10)    Princess Anne is officially the seventh Princess Royal in the British Monarchy, having held the title since June 1987.  It is a title traditionally carried by the monarch’s oldest daughter and held for life.

11)    In 1971, 21-year-old Princess Anne won individual gold at the European Eventing Championships with her thoroughbred Doublet, which was gifted to her by her mother, Queen Elizabeth II.  In 1975 Her Royal Highness won Silver in both team and individual disciplines at the European Eventing Championship.

12)    Between 1986 and 1994, The Princess Royal served as President of the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sports.

13)    Princess Anne’s wedding to Captain Mark Phillips was on the 25th birthday of her older brother, Charles, Prince of Wales.  Princess Anne signed the marriage register at Westminster Abbey using the surname of Mountbatten-Windsor.  This was the first occasion where Mountbatten-Windsor had appeared on an official document.  Around 500 million viewers are estimated to have watched the wedding on television.

14)    Princess Anne’s wedding tiara, The Queen Mary Fringe tiara, was also worn by her mother, then Princess Elizabeth, on her wedding day, and most recently by Princess Beatrice at her wedding.

15)    Princess Anne won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 1971.

16)    The Princess Royal has two children - Peter Mark Phillips born on 15th November 1977 and Zara Phillips born on 15th May 1981.  The Princess Royal has four granddaughters: Savannah Phillips born in December 2010, Isla Phillips born in March 2012, Mia Tindall born in January 2014 and Lena Tindall born in June 2018.

17)    Since 2012, The Princess Royal has held the rank of Admiral but since 1974 Her Royal Highness has held the appointment of Chief Commandant of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. This appointment was renamed Chief Commandant of Women in the Royal Navy in 1993, following the amalgamation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service into the Royal Navy.

18)    Five ships of The Royal Navy have been named HMS PRINCESS ROYAL: the last was a Lion Class battlecruiser launched in 1911.  It fought at the Battle of Jutland in WW1 and was sold in 1922.

19)    HRH The Princess Royal is Colonel of a number of Canadian Regiments:  The Grey and Simocoe Forresters, Canadian Communications and Electronic Branch, 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's), Royal Canadian Hussars, The Royal Canadian Medical Service, The Royal Regina Rifles, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment and HRH is Commodore-in-Chief Canadian Pacific Fleet. 

20)    Princess Anne was the victim of an attempted kidnap on the Mall in 1974. 

21)    In 2007, The Princess Royal was appointed by HM The Queen as Grand Master of The Royal Victorian Order, a position also held by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. 

22)    Following the retirement of HM The Queen Mother in 1981 as Chancellor of the University of London, Princess Anne was elected as Chancellor by the graduates of the university.  In 2011 The Princess Royal became Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, taking on the role from His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh in 2011. 

23)    The Princess Royal has a personal heraldic flag for use when in Canada. It is The Royal Arms of Canada, in banner form defaced with a blue roundel, surrounded by a wreath of gold maple leaves, within which is a depiction of an "A" surmounted by a coronet.  Above the roundel is a white label of three points, the centre one charged with a red heart and the other two with red crosses.

24)    In New Zealand Princess Anne is Colonel in Chief of The Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals and The Royal New Zealand Army Nursing Corps. 

25)    In Australia The Princess Royal is Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Australian Corps of Signals and The Royal Australian Corps of Transport. 

26)    In 1963 at the age of 13, Her Royal Highness went to Benenden School in Kent as a boarder.

27)    Her Royal Highness always uses her own pen for signing things, knowing that the pens produced at engagements often have their own foibles

28)    The Princess Royal’s Coat of Arms is below:

29)    In 1994, The Queen appointed The Princess Royal to the Order of the Garter.  However, The Princess Royal requested to be installed as Royal Knight of the Order, and not a Lady.

30)    Princess Elizabeth joined the 1st Buckingham Palace Company in 1937 when she was eleven. This group was formed to allow the Princess to be a Girl Guide.  There were twenty Guides and fourteen Brownies made up from children of the Royal Household and its employees.  1st Buckingham Palace Company was reformed in 1959 for Princess Anne to join.  It remained active until 1963 when the Princess started at Benenden. 

31)    The Princess Royal has served as Lord High Commissioner of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, on behalf of Her Majesty in May 1996 and 2017.

32)    Her Royal Highness was President of The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) from 1972 to 2000.  The main cinema theatre at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly, was renamed The Princess Anne Theatre in her honour. 

33)    The Princess Royal is one of the four Members of the Royal Family who carries out Investitures, along with The Queen, The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge.

34)    The Princess Royal is Chancellor of four universities; Harper Adams University, The University of Edinburgh, University of London and the University of the Highlands and Islands. Her Royal Highness is also the Chancellor of the University College of Osteopathy, the only degree-awarding osteopathic institution in Europe. 

35)    Her Royal Highness has been Commandant-in-Chief (Youth) of St John Ambulance since November 1970.

36)    The Princess Royal has always had strong connections to the City of London Livery Companies.  She has held the highest office in a number:

•    Prime Warden, The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers (2017-2018); 

•    Perpetual Master, The Worshipful Company of Saddlers (Since 2014)

•    Master, The Worshipful Company of Butchers (2010-2011);

•    Master, The Guild of Freemen of the City of London (2008-2009)

•    Master, The Honourable Company of Master Mariners (2005-2007);

•    Master, The Worshipful Company of Farmers (2001-2002);

•    Master, The Worshipful Company of Saddlers (1994);

•    Master, The Worshipful Company of Woolmen (1994);

•    Master, The Worshipful Company of Loriners (1992);

•    Master, The Worshipful Company of Carmen (1986)

•    Master, The Worshipful Company of Farriers (1984-1985)

37)    Her Royal Highness has been Patron of Scottish Rugby Union since June 1986, and regularly attends home and away matches, and visits team training sessions. 

38)    Her Royal Highness is President of The Duke of Edinburgh's Commonwealth Study Conferences and the Duke of Edinburgh's Commonwealth Study Conference Association, having taken over the patronage from her father in 2011.  

39)    As President of the British Olympic Association and senior UK member of the International Olympic Committee, The Princess Royal led the British delegation at the IOC meeting in Singapore in 2007, which resulted in the award of the Games to London.  

40)    Her Royal Highness was also Director of the London Organising Committee for these Games and received the Olympic Flame in Greece for the handover to London in 2012.

41)    Her Royal Highness received a framed piece of the London 2012 Olympic athletics track and a poem inspired by the redevelopment of East London following the Olympics written by the Young Poet Laureate for London, Aisling Fahey.

42)    Between 2016 and 2019,  The Princess Royal carried out a total of 1,945 engagements.

43)    Items of clothing gifted to Her Royal Highness include a cashmere dressing gown, flip flops, leather slippers, a knitted snood, Scottish rugby kit, silk scarves and even a judo suit known as a “gi”.

44)    In 2004 The Princess Royal was given a voucher for a year’s supply of Mackie’s ice cream.

45)    The Princess Royal’s love of horses is well known; over the years she has been presented with many equestrian themed gifts.  These include hoofpicks, a riding crop, horseshoes, horse blankets, a riding jacket, ornamental horses, a model of a jump fence, riding gloves, riding hat miniature rocking horse and commemorative working horse stamps.

46)    Other Gifts received by Her Royal Highness have included chickens, a Highland Heifer calf and a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig.

47)    The Princess Royal enjoys sailing and has received many nautical gifts over the years, these include a painting of Tiumpan Head Lighthouse, a remote-control yacht, a model of Bell Rock Lighthouse, a silver model of a traditional Bangladeshi fishing boat, model of an XOD Yacht, Royal Yachting Association Yachtmaster Handbook, a glass model of HMS VICTORY.

48)    The Princess Royal has completed over 480 official overseas visits.

49)    Princess Anne’s first overseas visit, to Malta from 22nd - 28th of April 1954, was when she was only four years old.  The Princess and The Prince of Wales sailed on the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA to meet The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on the Commonwealth Tour.

50)    During the 1954 journey to Malta, Royal Yacht BRITANNIA sailed to Tobruk, Libya as part of the Commonwealth Tour.  This was the first time Princess Anne visited the African continent.  She returned in 1971 to Kenya on an official visit with Save the Children

51)    Her Royal Highness has been to Germany on an official visit 49 times.

52)    The Princess Royal has visited every continent.

53)    Her Royal Highness first visited North America in 1966 on an official visit to Jamaica for the Commonwealth Games.

54)    Princess Anne first visited Oceania in 1970 on an official visit to Tonga, Fiji, and New Zealand. This 1970 visit also included Her Royal Highness’s first visit to Australia.

55)    In 1971 Princess Anne visited Iran, her first official visit to Asia, accompanying His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

56)    Her Royal Highness became the first member of the Royal Family to make an official visit to the then USSR in 1990, as a guest of the Soviet government.

57)    As Patron of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, The Princess Royal visited Antarctica in 2002 for the first time, to commemorate the centenary of the Establishment of Scott’s Base.

58)    The Princess Royal is Colonel-in-Chief of 4 cavalry regiments; two British [The Royal Horse Guards/Dragoons and The King’s Royal Hussars] and two Canadian [The Royal Canadian Hussars and 8th Canadian Hussars.]

59)    During the COVID pandemic in May 2020 The Princess Royal visited a mobile testing site operated by one of the military regiments of which she is Colonel-in-Chief. 

60)    The Princess Royal’s English Standard is The Royal Standard differenced by three point label charged with one red heart and two crosses of St George.

61)    The Princess Royal’s Scottish Standard uses the Scottish version of The Royal Arms.

62)    Her Royal Highness’s home, Gatcombe Park, is a working farm and has some 230 Wiltshire horn ewes, 14 white park cows, 6 Highland cows, and 2 Gloucester old spot sows.

63)    Her Royal Highness, as either an athlete or IOC member, has been to 18 Olympic Games, including 10 Winter Olympics. 

64)    The Princess Royal was the first female member of The Royal Yacht Squadron, the Yacht Club in Cowes, Isle of Wight. In 2015 The Princess Royal became one of the first female honorary members of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew’s.

65)    The Princess Royal has 11 Ladies-in-Waiting, one of whom accompanies her on official engagements.  Two of them have worked for HRH for over 50 years, three for over forty years, and five of them for over thirty years. 

66)    In 1971 at the invitation of Sir Jackie Stewart, Princess Anne drove a sports car around the F1 racing track at Silverstone. 

67)    Princess Anne was in the first generation of The Royal Family to take and pass A levels – History and Geography.

68)    The Princess Royal has her own racing colours.

69)    The Princess Royal is the first Member of the Royal Family to have an HGV licence.

70)    The Princess Royal, President, World Horse Welfare, adopted Annie the horse in 2013, after visiting one of the charity’s farms. 

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