Princess Anne has been in the spotlight for her entire life as the late Queen and Prince Philip's only daughter. Throughout the last couple of decades, she has become one of the most prominent and relied-upon members of the royal family, firstly supporting her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, as monarch, and now, her brother, King Charles.
And it's safe to say that in that time, she's also become one of the most beloved members of the royal family by the public too, thanks to her straightforward, no-holds-barred attitude, impressive work ethic, brilliant sense of humour and dedication to supporting worthy causes.
As a result, the Princess Royal has also given us plenty of memorable moments throughout her lifetime thus far, from touching personal experiences to sassy one-liners, and of course, some incredible sporting achievements. So if you want to catch up on the most memorable Princess Anne moments of all time, look no further than our round-up.
32 memorable Princess Anne moments
Riding horseback during Trooping the Colour
Taking after her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne never fails to look like the confident rider she is when she regularly participates in the annual Trooping the Colour procession on horseback.
Most members of the royal family travel to this important yearly event via carriage, staying in their carriages for the entire procession.
Anne, on the other hand, chooses to lean into her equestrian skills, often riding on horseback alongside the royal colonels of the Household Division who take part in Trooping the Colour every year. And this is something her mother did too, back in 1979!
Every time she sported her Adidas sunglasses
The Princess Royal is known for doing things her way, and that's certainly true when it comes to her royal style. In fact, she's considered to be one of the most fashion-forward members of the family. But perhaps her most iconic accessory is the pair of Adidas sports sunglasses that she regularly wears to events; be it a meeting with foreign dignitaries, a trip to Royal Ascot, or a casual day at her country home, Gatcombe Park.
Typically, these aerodynamic sunglasses are worn by sportsmen and women to protect them from UV rays, but it seems Anne has taken a serious liking to them for day-to-day life! So we love it every time she pairs these sporty sunglasses with a regal suit-dress for an inventive sartorial contrast.
When she honoured Prince Philip at his funeral
After the death of her father, Prince Philip, Anne made sure to honour her beloved parent by joining the male members of her family to walk in procession behind his coffin at Windsor Castle, after his funeral.
She joined her brother, King Charles, at the front of the procession directly behind her father’s coffin, and was closely followed by Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince William, and Prince Harry, making it a striking and super significant moment in royal history.
The fact that she regularly racks up the most engagements of all the royals
One of the most memorable moments from Princess Royal isn’t one singular moment at all but is instead the fact that she regularly completes the most royal engagements of her entire family, year after year.
Anne was said to have conducted a whopping 457 royal engagements in 2023, according to The Telegraph, and around 214 in 2022, according to Reboot SEO Company, which still put her at the top of the list for that year – making her one of the hardest working royals around. It’s likely that her engagements stepped up a notch in 2023 following the passing of the Queen in late 2022.
When she married Mark Phillips
The Princess Royal married her first husband, Mark Phillips, in November 1973, after first meeting at an event for horse lovers in 1968.
Anne and Mark’s royal wedding was certainly one of the most memorable moments of her life, with an estimated 100 million people from around the world watching on as the Queen’s second oldest child got married at Westminster Abbey.
But Anne and Mark’s marriage wasn’t set to last, with the pair parting ways in 1989, after welcoming their children Peter Phillips in 1977, and Zara Phillips (now Tindall), in 1981.
When she drove a sports car around a racing track
Every hard-working royal needs moments of fun and levity too, and it seems Princess Anne enjoyed just that in 1971, revealing that she once snuck out of Buckingham Palace to race around the F1 racing track at Silverstone, with racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart!
The lifelong friends discussed the secret trip during a 2020 video call for his charity ‘Race Against Dementia’, with Sir Jackie recalling that Anne couldn’t wait to have a go on the track. He shared, "I finally got out of the car and off you went and we could hardly get you out of the car after that, God knows how many laps you did."
Anne then responded, "I’ll take your word for that! I’ve never been the world’s best passenger."
When she shared what her royal duties mean to her
In a 2022 interview with Vanity Fair, Princess Anne spoke candidly about what being a member of the royal family is all about for her, sharing that she is as committed to making a difference as her parents were.
"It’s not just about 'can I get a tick in the box for doing this?' No, it’s about serving," she says. "It comes from an example from both my parents’ way of working and where they saw their role being.
"I mean, my father served; it was a more direct form of service, I suppose you could argue. And the Queen’s has been a lifelong service in a slightly different way, but they both have that perspective of service, which is about working with people."
Her appearance on the cover of Vogue age 21
To mark her 21st birthday, Princess Anne made an appearance on the cover of British Vogue in 1971 – and in their September edition no less, which is generally considered to be the most prestigious and important issue of the entire year.
And 1971 wouldn’t be the last time Anne appeared on the cover of the fashion bible; she has so far appeared on the cover of British Vogue twice more. Her second appearance was in May 1973, and her third appearance was in November 1973, which saw her pose in stunning bridal-inspired photos to mark her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips.
When Anne and Kate shared their first ever joint engagement
For the first time ever in April 2022, Princess Anne teamed up with the then-Duchess of Cambridge (now known as Catherine, Princess of Wales), for their very first joint public engagement.
Though it’s not rare to see two members of the royal family out on an official visit together, this visit to London-based organisations involved with maternal health was the first time Catherine and Anne had taken part in official royal business together – and one of the rare times Anne has been pictured alongside the future Queen.
When she became the first British female royal to attend school
Unlike her mother before her, Princess Anne attended school, making her the first female royal to do so. Queen Elizabeth II, on the other hand, had always been home-schooled, as had her mother and grandmother.
Anne’s education did begin with homeschooling by her governess, Catherine Peebles, but when she was old enough, she started at Benenden School in Kent. She attended the private boarding school between the years of 1963 and 1968, during which time she achieved six O-Levels and two A-Levels.
Though Anne was the first ever female royal to attend school, she wasn’t the first royal in general to do so. Her brother King Charles, at the age of 13, enrolled at Gordonstoun in Scotland – an all-boys boarding school in Scotland that Prince Andrew and Prince Edward also later attended.
Playing with her grandchildren
Princess Anne is clearly a doting grandmother, and we've loved seeing glimpses of her playing with her grandchildren over the years. In this photo she's seen playing with her granddaughter Mia Tindall, her daughter Zara's oldest child, whilst watching her play in a charity polo match at the Beaufort Polo Club in 2016. It's always fun to see the royals getting stuck in, making this game of catch with her grandchild a particularly memorable Princess Anne moment.
Winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award
The Princess Royal became the first ever member of the royal family to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 1971, after scooping the individual gold medal at the European Eventing Championship at Burghley.
She won the prestigious award at the age of just 21, and even attended the awards ceremony in person to pick up her trophy. Anne also gave a short televised speech thanking viewers for voting for her, before thanking professional boxer Henry Cooper for presenting her with the award.
When she was seen reaching for her father’s face as a child
The Queen, Prince Philip and their two children, King Charles and Princess Anne, feature in a now iconic photo taken over 70 years. The photo, taken in 1951 within the gardens of Clarence House, sees Prince Philip holding Charles, while the Queen holds one-year-old Anne.
Adorably, Princess Anne is seen reaching for her father's face in fascination, while Philip looks down on her with a loving gaze. And it's proven to be one of the most memorable photos of Princess Anne’s lifetime, as one of the very first relaxed family photos ever taken of the British royals.
Wearing her coolest outfit ever
She's always been the coolest royal around, but Princess Anne really proved she was the queen of laid-back style during a visit to Kyiv in September 1973. On a break from competing in the European Equestrian Championships, Anne was pictured wearing a casual blue striped shirt, a matching blue scarf, black jeans with a belt, and with her hair styled in a relaxed, slightly wavy blow-dry. Have you ever seen a more effortlessly chic Princess in your life?
When she competed in the Olympic Games
Princess Anne became the very first royal to compete in the Olympic Games in 1976. She participated in the Montreal Olympic Games that year as a member of the British team, taking part in the Eventing portion of the proceedings.
She rode the Queen’s horse Goodwill, but unfortunately didn’t end up securing a medal after suffering a concussion halfway through the course. Amazingly, however, she continued and finished the event – but has since revealed that she doesn’t remember anything about it!
Her second wedding to Sir Timothy Laurence
After the breakdown of her first marriage to Mark Phillips, Princess Anne famously became the first of the Queen and Prince Philip’s children to remarry, tying the knot with longtime love Timothy Laurence in 1992.
The couple began their relationship in 1989 following her split with Mark – whilst Timothy, a Royal Navy commander, was serving as an equerry to the Queen.
Unlike her first wedding, Anne’s wedding to Timothy was a far more low-key affair. But it was still certainly a memorable moment, with the pair saying ‘I do’ at the royal family’s beloved Crathie Kirk church, near Balmoral, and a reception taking place at Craigowan Lodge afterwards. The couple have been together ever since.
When she chose not to give her children royal titles
Famed for being one of the most down-to-earth royals there is, one of Princess Anne’s most memorable moments was when she declined to give her children, Peter Phillips and Zara Phillips, royal titles.
When Anne married Mark Phillips, the father of her children, he declined an Earldom, meaning Zara and Peter would be without titles.
This has meant that Anne’s two children have not had to become working royals, and have been allowed to pursue separate careers outside of the family. For example, Zara is an accomplished equestrian, having competed in the Olympics, and Peter is currently managing director for SEL UK, a sports management company.
Speaking about her decision to forego titles for her children, Anne has said, "I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles. So I think that was probably the right thing to do."
When she stood up to a potential kidnapper
Perhaps the most memorable Princess Anne moment ever was when she famously (and bravely!) stood up to a potential kidnapper whilst driving down The Mall in London, towards Buckingham Palace.
In perhaps one of the most serious security incidents experienced by a member of the royal family, in 1974, a man named Ian Ball forced Anne’s car to stop on The Mall, and began firing shots at the car, including at her driver and security.
According to reports, Ian told Anne that he intended to kidnap her and ask for a ransom of around £2 million, which he claimed he wanted to give to the NHS.
But Anne was stoney-faced in her response – when Ian told her to get out of the car, she is reported to have said "not bloody likely!" During a famous interview on Parkinson, Anne recounted the event. She said, "He said I had to go with him…I can’t remember why. I said I didn’t think I wanted to go. I was scrupulously polite, because I thought, silly to be too rude at that stage.
"We had a fairly low-key discussion about the fact that I wasn’t going to go anywhere, and wouldn’t it be much better if he just went away and we all forget about it?"
Thankfully, the whole incident was eventually resolved when Detective Constable Peter Edmonds chased after Ian and arrested him. He was tried for attempted murder and kidnapping, and was sentenced to 41 years in Broadmoor, a high-security psychiatric hospital, after being diagnosed with schizophrenia.
When she pled guilty to a criminal offence
While Princess Anne has had plenty of positive moments over her lifetime, she’s also experienced a few less happy moments, including the time she became the first member of the royal family to plead guilty to a criminal offence.
Back in 2002, her English bull terrier Dotty unfortunately bit two children whilst they walked in Windsor Great Park. While the children weren’t seriously harmed, Anne pled guilty to being in charge of a dog that was dangerously out of control in a public place, and was fined £500 for the offence, as well as the necessary court costs.
Speaking about the incident, Anne admitted that she was saddened that it had made the two children fearful of dogs. She said, "It was a very, very unfortunate episode and I can only hope that the children, as time goes by, will become more amenable to dogs."
When she was by her mother’s side at her death
Queen Elizabeth II died on the 8th September 2022 at Balmoral Castle, and many members of the public will remember that Princess Anne was there with her mother throughout the last few days of her life.
In a statement days after her passing, Anne shared some touching words. "I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest Mother’s life," she said. "It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys. Witnessing the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys has been both humbling and uplifting."
When she became the first royal to give birth in a hospital
Many believe that Princess Diana was the first royal to give birth in a hospital (previously, Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret had given birth at home in royal palaces), but that's actually not accurate.
Princess Anne became the first member of the British royal family to ever welcome a baby outside of a royal residence, when she gave birth to her son, Peter Phillips, at the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in 1977. She welcomed her daughter Zara Tindall at the same hospital four years later, in 1981.
It’s not known why Anne picked a hospital birth over a traditional royal birth, but it’s likely that she was simply following the new norms of the 70s and 80s – during these decades it was far more common for people to give birth in hospital than at home.
When she won a gold medal
Though the royals are a family of keen equestrians, Princess Anne has followed most closely in her mother's footsteps when it comes to her love of horses.
As such, one of the most memorable Princess Anne moments the world has ever seen was when she made the incredible achievement of securing a gold medal in dressage at the European Eventing Championships, in 1971. Impressing the crowd with her sporting prowess, this moment made Anne the very first royal to ever win a gold medal in a sporting competition.
When she tried to teach the Queen to use Zoom
It’s somewhat rare to see the royal family interact with one another on a personal level, making it all the more memorable when Princess Anne and Queen Elizabeth II were seen having a very normal mother-daughter moment while on a Zoom call.
In the midst of the pandemic, in 2022, many royal engagements took place over Zoom due to social distancing. In July of that year, Anne and the Queen took part in a video call to mark National Carers Week. Shared via the ITV documentary Anne: The Princess Royal At 70, Anne was seen asking her mother whether everything was working alright with her technology.
As the Queen joins the call, Anne asks her mother, "Good morning at Windsor! Can you see everybody? You should have six people on your screen."
The monarch herself then replies, "Yes, well I can see four anyway," before Anne hilariously replies, "Actually, you don’t need me, you know what I look like."
When she posed on the steps of the hospital after giving birth - alone
The Princess Royal kicked off a royal tradition when she welcomed her daughter Zara Phillips in May 1981, posing on the steps of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital with her newborn – the first time a royal had ever done so after giving birth.
Princess Anne's example has since been followed by many royal couples – Diana and Charles both posed on the steps of the hospital with their two sons, as did Catherine and William with their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Prince Harry and Meghan opted for a different hospital for the birth of their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, but still took part in a royal photo call at Windsor Castle a few days later.
When she gave a stern telling off to photographers
Known for being famously straightforward, Anne has sometimes attracted controversy for her no-nonsense attitude. But plenty of royal fans enjoy how down-to-earth the Princess Royal is, and so particularly enjoyed one moment in which she addressed a pack of royal photographers.
She reportedly told intrusive photographers to "naff off" at the Badminton Horse Trials in 1982, after they photographed her falling off her horse and continued to ask her personal questions about her romantic relationship. As a result, Princess Anne has earned herself a reputation for her directness – not unlike her father, Prince Philip.
Her role during the Queen's funeral
The Princess Royal was visibly moved whilst paying homage to her late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, during her funeral procession; an emotional moment which has undeniably become one of the most memorable and historically significant moments of Anne’s life.
On 19th September, Anne was the only female to walk in the procession behind her mother’s coffin as it made its way to Westminster Abbey for the service. Walking next to her brother King Charles, she looked stoic yet tearful as she saw her mother on her final journey.
When she became the first royal to take part in a TV show
The royal family are no strangers to appearing on TV, but Princess Anne gave us one of her most memorable moments ever when she became the very first royal to participate in a TV quiz show.
In February 1987, Anne leaned into her love of sports and appeared as a contestant on the hit BBC show, A Question of Sport. She was part of Emlyn Hughes team, and successfully answered multiple questions, including a few questions related to equestrian sports. And she was a big hit too, with around 19 million viewers tuning in to watch the episode!
When she and Camilla turned up in the same outfit
At the royal’s annual Christmas celebrations in 2019, Princess Anne and Queen Camilla experienced an equally hilarious and awkward moment, when they turned up to church in very similar outfits.
The two royal women were attending the Christmas morning service at St Mary’s Magdalene Church, close to Sandringham, when they arrived in coats and hats in an almost identical purple shade. There is in fact a picture of Anne looking her sister-in-law up and down before the two women burst into laughter at the unfortunate moment!
When she visited the men who protected her during an attack
Princess Anne was involved in a terrifying moment in 1974, when a man forcefully stopped her car whilst she and her then-husband Mark Phillips were travelling down The Mall, in London.
The man was attempting to kidnap the Princess, but was stopped by the bravery of her then bodyguard, James Wallace Beaton, her driver Alexander Callender, passing former boxer Ron Russell, journalist Brian McConnell, and police officer Michael Hills.
All four men aside from Ron were unfortunately shot by the gunman, Ian Ball, but thankfully, all survived. After the horrifying ordeal, Princess Anne took it upon herself to visit her protection officer James during his stay at Westminster Hospital, after having surgery for his gunshot wound.
Presenting her daughter Zara with an Olympic medal
Anne’s youngest child Zara Tindall took part in the London 2012 Olympics as part of the equestrian team, following in her mother’s footsteps when it comes to her horse riding skills.
Zara and the team won a silver medal in the eventing competition, and she and her teammates were presented with their medals by none other than Zara’s mother.
After placing the medal on her daughter’s neck, Anne and Zara shared a sweet embrace and kiss on the cheek, as Zara beamed with pride. And sweetly, many other members of the royal family were also in attendance at the medal ceremony, including Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Princess Eugenie.
When she caused some controversy during Donald Trump’s visit
Princess Anne famously hit the news during former president Donald Trump’s visit to the UK in 2019. At the time, a clip of Anne having a slightly tense conversation with the Queen went viral on social media, making it one of her most memorable moments of all time.
In the video, Queen Elizabeth II is stood next to Charles and Camilla in a receiving line for Trump and his wife Melania. Just a few steps away, Princess Anne is in the background, away from the group. A minute or so into chatting, the Queen appears to gesture to her only daughter, and Anne shrugs and mutters something back in response.
At the time, royal fans were convinced that the Princess Royal was snubbing the controversial President by refusing to meet him – but since then, the truth of the moment has been cleared up! In a longer video, Anne can be seen entering the room with Donald Trump, suggesting that the pair have already been introduced.
When the Queen looks over to her daughter, some have guessed that she is instead looking to see which world leader she is to greet next. When she only sees her daughter, it's thought that Princess Anne explains, "It’s just me", before pointing to the men behind her, and saying, "And this lot!"
When she was mistaken for her brother
Anne memorably hit the headlines back in 2012 whilst attending the Young Advocates for Agriculture 2012 debate, as she was unfortunately mistaken for her older brother, King Charles.
At the debate, the host introduced the Princess as 'Anne, the Prince of Wales', prompting plenty of laughter around the room, and a faux outraged look from Princess Anne herself. Thankfully, she then laughed and went on to make a joke about the case of mistaken identity, saying, "Well there's a worry!"
Addressing the room after the error, Anne actually recalled another moment where herself and her older brother were mixed up. She said, "Your reintroduction did make me wonder, slightly. My brother tells a story of having visited an elderly care home in Scotland, and at the time he was actually in a kilt.
"And he actually heard, when he was in conversation down the other end [of the corridor], an old lady, who said, 'Is that the Princess Royal?'"