As Princess Anne turns 73, why I believe she is the royal family’s most undervalued member
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When I decided to undertake a PGCE in secondary English a few years ago, I was deliberately chosen to take on what can only be described as a rather ‘difficult’ Year 8 class. What soon became apparent to me was that the so called ‘characters’ in the class, the ones who shouted out, were the most dramatic, and unruly were far from the brightest. The ones who were quiet, compliant, and hard working were undoubtedly the true stars of the class, but never wanted to stand out.
This is exactly how I view Princess Anne, the Princess Royal. She is the royal family’s greatest asset, but unfortunately or perhaps one should say fortunately for herself and them, is the one who doesn’t stand out or grab the headlines.
What struck me most when it came to the passing of our late monarch, Queen Elizabeth 11, was watching Princess Anne’s strength and stoicism as she undertook the duty of escorting her mother’s coffin from its long journey from Balmoral to its final resting place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Following the death of her mother, Princess Anne released a statement and said that “I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest Mother’s life. It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys.”
In 2022, Princess Anne carried out 214 engagements, compared to King Charles who undertook 181 royal engagements. Prince Edward came third, with 143 engagements.
To attend over 200 engagements when you are over the age of 70 should not only be admired but lauded too. Princess Anne may not be admired for her fashion sense in the same way that Catherine, Princess of Wales is, but she was most definitely the Queen of recycled fashion long before Catherine was.
In June of this year, Princess Anne was spotted in a dress and white jacket at Royal Ascot, she had first worn the jacket back in 1978. As well as recycling outfits, she has also kept many of her hats and handbags and worn them years later.
Princess Anne also made the wise decision (unlike her brother Prince Andrew) years ago not to give her children Peter and Zara royal titles. In 2020, she was asked about this subject by Vanity Fair and said: “I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles… So I think that was probably the right thing to do.”
Without question, Princess Anne, like her late mother, Queen Elizabeth 11, has known ‘the right thing to do’ her entire life. I only wish more people would recognise and celebrate her for doing so.