Affectionately known as the “hardest working royal”, Anne, The Princess Royal celebrates her 70th birthday on 15 August, 2020.
An Olympic athlete, hostage survivor and fashion icon, Princess Anne has led an incredible life over the past seven decades.
We look back at The Princess Royal’s most memorable moments over the years.
Born in London’s Clarence House, when the Queen was still Princess Elizabeth, young Anne went to school and Benenden and took a keen interest in horsemanship at a young age.
She began dating in her early twenties and her first boyfriend was Andrew Parker Bowles, who later married Camilla Shand, Prince Charles’ now second wife.
In 1973, Anne married Captain Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey, in a ceremony that was televised to an estimated 100 million people.
The couple had two children together, Zara and Peter but divorced in 1992. Within months of the divorce, Anne married Sir Timothy Laurence, her current husband, in a small ceremony at Balmoral Castle.
The first royal to compete at Olympics
In 1976, Princess Anne became the first member of the Royal Family to compete in the Olympic Games, riding the Queen’s horse, Goodwill, in a three-day equestrian event in Montreal.
Since then, she has had a long-standing love for the Games, and in 1988 she was appointed a Member of the International Olympic Committee and has held numerous roles in the organisation.
In 2012, the Princess played a key role in securing London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. At the same Olympic Games, the Princess’ daughter Zara Phillips followed in her mother’s footsteps by competing in the same equestrian event.
It was a special moment when team Great Britain won silver in the event and Princess Anne presented her daughter with the medals.
The Hostage – “Not bloody likely!”
In 1974, Princess Anne survived a kidnapping attempt that resulted in four men being shot.
The Princess Royal was on her way home from a charity event with her husband Captain Mark Phillips, whom she had married just four weeks earlier.
As they made their way towards Buckingham Palace in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, they came across a car blocking their route.
The Rolls was forced to come to a halt, and suddenly the driver of the stopped car exited the vehicle and produced a handgun.
The man, Ian Ball, shot Anne’s chauffeur and her personal police officer as they tried to protect her.
The gunman then told the Princess to get out of the car in an attempt to kidnap her, to which Anne replied, “Not bloody likely!”
A police officer happened upon the situation and was also shot, as well as a nearby tabloid journalist who tried to intervene. A former boxer named Ron Russell who was passing by punched Ball in the back of the head.
With more police now witnessing the scene, an officer managed to arrest Ball.
Ball had intended to hold Anne for ransom for a reported sum of £2 million.
Speaking about the incident in ITV documentary Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, the Princess’ protection officer James Beaton praised Anne for her calm demeanour throughout the kidnapping attempt.
“Princess Anne, because she was so cool, calm and collected, I think it kept the situation in control,” he said.
Princess Anne: Hardest working royal
Prince Charles may have won the title of the hardest working royal in 2019, but it came as a surprise.
That’s because traditionally the hardest working member of the Royal Family has been Princess Anne.
Even so, Anne only fell shy of winning the annual tally last year by 15 engagements, having attended 506 events compared to Charles’ 521.
Both Anne and Charles were miles ahead of their family members – the third hardest working royal in 2019 was Prince Edward, who clocked up 308 engagements.
Despite carrying out less engagements than Charles last year, the Princess Royal did manage to work more days than her brother – 167 days compared to the Prince’s 125.
Princess Anne’s Overseas visits
A busy working royal, Princess Anne undertakes a number of engagements on behalf of her mother. She typically travels abroad three times a year as a representative of the United Kingdom.
At age 20, she went on her first royal tour in Australia with her parents and has since returned many times, including attending a memorial service for the Black Saturday bushfire victims in 2009.
In 1990, she was the first member of the royal family to officially visit the Soviet Union, where she was invited as a guest of President Mikhail Gorbachev.
As President of Save the Children UK, Princess Anne has made a number of charitable visits overseas, including China, Cambodia, Botswana, Madagascar and the Philippines.