Princess Anne Still Has No Memory of Accident, Friend Says

Aaron Chown/Reuters
Aaron Chown/Reuters

Princess Anne still has no memory of the incident which led her to be hospitalized, a friend in her local equestrian set has told The Daily Beast.

The source added that her family, while “deeply shaken,” support her planned return to public duties next week.

The friend added that “nobody would bother” trying to urge Anne—who suffered amnesia and concussion after being either kicked or butted in the head—to slow down when it comes to her hectic work schedule.

However, a palace source said that while Anne’s return would be welcome, her absence had not noticeably impacted on the larger palace operation, and that her recent absence from public view had been “an unanticipated dry run” of plans for the future that inevitably foresee her doing less as time draws on.

Princess Anne Is Britain’s No-Nonsense Royal—and Loved for It

Anne’s first post-accident engagement is due to take place next week, when she is scheduled to visit a remote Scottish location as part of her patronage of a lighthouse conservation organization.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the visit, which is in the princess’ official diary, saying that updates would be issued in due course.

The friend said: “It was a freak accident and she still has no memory of exactly what happened. Her family of course were deeply shaken by it at the time, but when you own horses these things happen, and it seems it is a case of all’s well that ends well.”

Asked about her family’s attitude to Anne’s mooted return to work next week, the fellow horse-owner said: “She has been resting which won’t suit her. Anyone who knows her knows she will be itching to get back in the saddle, literally and figuratively. Her family know how much her work means to her. Nobody would bother telling her to slow down as she would probably tell them to ‘Naff off!’”

Anne, 73, is expected to make a full recovery. Her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, said, after her discharge from hospital: “We are both profoundly grateful to the medical team and hospital support staff for their expert care, and to the emergency services who were all so wonderful at the scene. We are both deeply touched by all the kind messages we have received from so many people near and far. It means a great deal.”

Her daughter, Zara, who is married to former rugby player Mike Tindall, is said to have seen the accident as “a huge wake-up call” for the family.

“This is exactly what Zara’s been worried about happening for years now, but her mom hasn’t had a chance to slow down with everyone else falling apart,” a source told OK! magazine, referring to the catalog of chaos that has hit the royals in recent months, with both King Charles and the Princess of Wales struck with cancer less than a year after Charles’ coronation.

However a former royal staffer who worked with all the principal royals including Anne during their tenure at the palace said: “That’s not entirely accurate. Anne does an incredible job but she does it because she wants to. Nobody is putting pressure on her to fly thousands of miles in a helicopter every week.

“William has made it very clear that is not how he is going to do things. He knows the future of the royal family is fewer, high impact, highly visible events.

“Anne is 73, so you don’t need a crystal ball to see she will have to start doing less at some point. That plan is in place. In some ways the past few weeks have been an unanticipated dry run for the future. The monarchy didn’t grind to a halt without her.”

A journalist from the Daily Telegraph who recently spent a week shadowing Anne estimated that she shook hands with almost 700 people and traveled over 800 miles.

Anne has been faultlessly loyal to her brother both as Prince of Wales and now king. Perhaps her only implied criticism of him has been her critique of the excessive “slimming down” of the royal family.

Prior to Charles’ coronation, Anne told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation the slimming-down proposal was originally floated “when there were a few more people around,” i.e., a few more working royals. She added: “It doesn’t sound like a good idea from where I’m standing, I would say. I’m not quite sure what else we can do.”

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