Is Princess Anne the best royal? Here’s why she is so admired

·4-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Until we had Netflix’s The Crown, it could feel quite difficult to know what the Royal Family’s real personalities were, especially beneath their (usually) gleaming public personas.

And they didn’t seem to like giving much away themselves, either. Infamously, a 1969 documentary giving the world an inside look into the life of the royals was quickly banned by the Queen following its release. We can only assume that she was not amused.

 (PA)
(PA)

But under all that royal etiquette is a real person. One that has hobbies, likes, dislikes, deep personal emotions and, hey, I don’t know, really hates leaky pens.

Princess Anne, 72, known officially as the Princess Royal, has been undertaking public duties since the age of 18. Her personality has slipped out more than once (read: very frequently) over those 54 years, and from what we’ve seen, we can come to one logical conclusion: she may just be the best of them. Don’t believe us? Here’s some undeniable evidence.

She survived a kidnapping attempt - and did it in style

The aftermath of Princess Anne’s attempted kidnap (Getty Images)
The aftermath of Princess Anne’s attempted kidnap (Getty Images)

In 1974, Princess Anne went through a traumatising kidnapping attempt while travelling back to Buckingham Palace from a charity event. As her car was travelling up The Mall, carrying her, with first husband Captain Mark Phillips, security officer Jim Beaton and chauffeur Alexander Callender, their path was suddenly blocked by another car.

The driver, Ian Ball, got out of the car and immediately shot Prince Anne’s chauffeur and security officer, as well as a nearby journalist who tried to intervene. Ball, who was trying to kidnap the Princess so he could claim a £2 million ransom, ordered Anne to get out of the car. Her response? “Not bloody likely.”

Princess Anne leaving the hospital after visiting those who were shot during the kidnapping attempt (Getty Images)
Princess Anne leaving the hospital after visiting those who were shot during the kidnapping attempt (Getty Images)

In a ridiculous stroke of luck, Ronnie Russell - a trained boxer - was passing by the scene, so intervened and punched Ball right in the head. Ball tried to run away but was apprehended by police. Russell and Beaton, the Princess’ security officer who took three bullets in total, survied and were eventually awarded the George Cross medal for their bravery.

She’s one of the only royals to admit to watching The Crown

Erin Doherty as Princess Anne in season three of The Crown (Des Willie / Netflix)
Erin Doherty as Princess Anne in season three of The Crown (Des Willie / Netflix)

In the 2020 documentary, Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, Princess Anne confessed to watching early episodes of The Crown, which she said were “quite interesting”. She also poked fun at the show for taking two hours to replicate her famous bouffant hair-do on actress Erin Doherty, who plays a young Anne.

In an interview with Town & Country, Doherty revealed: “Makeup literally took 10 minutes, but hair, sometimes it would take two hours.”

The Royal Family in 1972 (PA Archive)
The Royal Family in 1972 (PA Archive)

Princess Anne admitted in the documentary that she had read the piece - and took issue with it: “Actually I read an article the other day about The Crown,” the Princess Royal said, “the actress was talking about how long it took them to do their hair like I did. And I’m thinking, ‘How could you possibly take that long?’ I mean it takes me 10 or 15 minutes.”

She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize

Princess Anne marching alongside her family during the Queen’s funeral procession, Wednesday 14 September (Getty Images)
Princess Anne marching alongside her family during the Queen’s funeral procession, Wednesday 14 September (Getty Images)

Princess Anne has worked with charity Save The Children for over 50 years, attending fundraisers, making speeches and visiting local shops to support the cause. In 1990 her contributions to the charity inspired President Kaunda of Zambia to nominate her for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Princess Anne didn’t win the prize. She was beat out by the recently deceased Mikhail Gorbachev, as in the man who brought peace to the Soviet Union, so it was pretty tough competition.

The public snubbing of Donald Trump

The shrug heard around the world
The shrug heard around the world

During a meeting between the Queen, then-President Donald Trump, his wife Melania and other royals, Princess Anne seemed reluctant to engage with the American leader.

Trump is seen chatting to the Queen and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (now Queen consort), who shakes his hand. Princess Anne holds back, not joining the conversation. When the Queen beckons her to come over, she does an exaggerated shrug and stays put.

While this doesn’t definitively prove that Anne disapproves of Donald Trump, the royals are extremely limited in their public self-expression due to royal protocol, but this small move seemed to speak volumes.

She’s also pretty funny

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Our girl Anne has been in public service for nearly 60 years now, so she’s clearly a little tired of holding her tongue. She’s known for her humour and dry wit slipping out, and she often comes out with some knee slappers.

She once famously said of making royal appearances: “When I appear in public, people expect me to neigh, grind my teeth, paw the ground and swish my tail – none of which is easy.”

 (Getty)
(Getty)

And on her distaste for golf, she shared: “Golf seems to be an arduous way to go for a walk. I prefer to take the dogs out.”

Ultimately, she’s nothing if not honest, which is clear from her words on motherhood: “Being pregnant is a very boring six months. I am not particularly maternal. It’s an occupational hazard of being a wife.” Six? Regardless, you have to love the frank nature.