What The Crown Ignores About Princess Anne

If you're a fan of "The Crown," you know Princess Anne is the second child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Nevertheless, there's always been a bit of mystery surrounding Anne. After all, at the time of her birth, a law was still in place that decreed the succession of the throne be determined by biological sex and not birth order, which meant Anne was in line behind both her older brother and her two younger brothers. That law was ultimately changed in 2013 (via USA Today). Due to the old lawm however, Anne was allowed to live a life that was freer than her oldest brother, King Charles III, though that hasn't meant she's escaped the highs and lows of royal life.

Unfortunately, the popular Netflix series doesn't always give a lot of time to the several fascinating parts of Anne's life that many fans of the royal would like to see. From the kidnapping attempt made against her in 1974 to making the Olympic team in 1976, Anne has experienced a lot throughout her time in the royal family. Here are a few things about Princess Anne that "The Crown" has omitted or ignored completely.

The Crown left out Princess Anne's first wedding

In 1973, Princess Anne married her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips. She was the first of Queen Elizabeth's children to marry and her wedding was a showstopper that was watched by millions of people around the world — but viewers of "The Crown" never saw a single hint that Anne was set to marry Phillips at all, even though the timeline of Anne's relationship would have put her first wedding in the middle of Season 3 (via Town & Country).

Anne and Phillips, both accomplished and enthusiastic equestrians, were introduced while participating in a horseback riding event in Mexico City in 1968, according to People. Omitting the start of their story is surprising, especially given Anne and Phillips had a long marriage and two children together — their son Peter arrived first in 1978 and their daughter Zara was born in 1981. Despite not showing their initial romance, Mark Phillips does eventually make it into "The Crown" in Season 4.  

The pair ended up divorcing in 1992 following allegations that Anne was unfaithful; she reportedly had an affair with her bodyguard and had received love letters from a naval officer with whom she was close. Phillips made similar transgressions and even had another daughter outside of the marriage (via People).

Princess Anne's kidnapping attempt didn't make the show

If it seems difficult to believe "The Crown" would leave out something as monumental as a kidnapping attempt made against a member of the royal family, but that's what happened.

On March 20, 1974, Anne and her husband, Captain Mark Phillips, were heading home from an event when their car was overtaken by another. A man jumped towards their vehicle while brandishing two guns. Anne's bodyguard was shot three times and her driver was shot a single time when he attempted to avert the kidnapping himself, according to Smithsonian magazine.

Ian Ball, the would-be kidnapper, made it all the way to the car door behind which Anne was seated. He opened it and attempted to pull the princess out of the car while her husband attempted to pull her back in. Police officers soon arrived at the scene. An officer and a journalist who attempted to assist Anne were shot, but the princess managed to jump out of the car in the ensuing madness. As she later explained, "I thought that if I was out of the car that he might move" (via Smithsonian). Her hunch was correct — Ball ran around the car and Anne had enough time to hop back in with her husband. Ball attempted to flee at Anne's own urging and was eventually arrested.

A royal expert says Anne was not actually involved with Andrew Parker Bowles while Charles was dating Camilla

One plot line that "The Crown" does bring up in relation to Princess Anne is her relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles, the man who would ultimately become the first husband of Camilla Parker Bowles, now known as Camilla, Queen Consort. Some, including royal authors and commentators, have insisted that both Anne and Camilla were involved with Andrew at the same time as Camilla and the now King Charles III were building their own relationship.

As Tina Brown wrote in her book, "The Diana Chronicles," Anne and Andrew's relationship overlapped with Andrew and Camilla's. She wrote, "There was a romantic re-enactment of 'La Ronde' on the dance floor at Annabel's one night in 1971 when it was clear that Princess Anne was in love with Andrew Parker Bowles, Camilla was in love with him too, and Charles was in love with Camilla" (per The Daily Express).

However, another royal expert has insisted that this recounting is incorrect. Sally Bedell Smith told Vanity Fair that there was no overlap. Smith explained to the outlet, saying, "Anne and Andrew started dating in June 1970." Camilla and Charles, however, didn't meet one another until two years later, well after Andrew and Anne's relationship dissolved, and Camilla and Andrew didn't marry until 1973.

It's unlikely Princess Anne encouraged Queen Elizabeth to interfere with Charles and Camilla

Another key plot point in "The Crown" centers around Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II, and the Queen Mother. The three are shown discussing then-Prince Charles' relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles when Anne tells her mother and grandmother that she believes Camilla loves Andrew Parker Bowles, not Charles. As a result, the three women aligned to encourage Camilla and Andrew to get married. However, royal biographer and expert Sally Bedell Smith disputed this claim in an interview with The Daily Express.

Smith told the outlet that jumping into her son's relationship — especially one that hadn't yet resulted in engagement — wasn't something she believed Queen Elizabeth would do. "It was highly unlikely that she even knew about Charles and Camilla," she continued. On top of that, Smith said everyone who knew the pair knew that Camilla was in love with Andrew and wanted to marry him, perhaps to the overall impediment of a real relationship between Charles and Camilla at the time. Smith said, "But no one took the romance between Charles and Camilla seriously. They were sort of under the radar."

The Crown doesn't cover Princess Anne's participation in the Olympics

When it comes to life outside the royal family, Princess Anne has focused on becoming a highly skilled equestrian. In fact, she even competed in the 1976 Olympics, though "The Crown" failed to include this moment in time in its third season. As explained by PopSugar, Anne was one of Britain's leading equestrians at the time, and her Olympic qualification was no accident. 

Anne had previously hoped to compete in the 1972 Games in Munich, Germany, after winning the 1971 European Championship in the event. Interestingly, Anne's future husband, Captain Mark Phillips, made the 1972 Olympic Team, where he won the gold medal (via National Portrait Gallery).

Anne didn't win any team medals at her 1976 Games, and she finished 24th out of 49 fellow equestrians in the individual event. Anne and Phillips' daughter Zara carried on her parents' shared passion on her own, making it all the way to the 2012 Olympic Games where she and her teammates earned the silver medal (via PopSugar).

She didn't trick a reporter into speaking with Princess Alice

The third season of "The Crown" features a plotline that involves Princess Alice, the mother of Prince Philip. In the episode, Princess Anne is asked for an interview by reporter John Armstrong, who worked for The Guardian. Instead of offering the interview herself, Princess Anne manages to trick Armstrong into interviewing Alice instead. Alice, who had lived much of her life in relative obscurity and who openly struggled with her mental health, is rewarded with a very positive article about herself as a result (via Town & Country).

However, this is entirely fictional. Town & Country magazine reported that only did the interview never happen, but Princess Alice was largely wiped from the collective royal consciousness until "The Crown" introduced the plot. As author Hugo Vickers wrote in his biography of Alice, "By the end of her life the general public scarcely remembered that she was alive and were largely unaware that she was at Buckingham Palace" (via Town & Country).

Her journey as a 'feminist icon' hasn't been fully portrayed

While "The Crown" hasn't often shared a lot about Princess Anne in general, one thing about the royal that is missing from the show is the fact that many see her as a feminist icon for both her generation and those that have followed. The women who have had the opportunity to portray the royal have spoken highly of her and with deep admiration. 

When speaking with The Guardian in January 2022, Erin Doherty, who portrayed Anne on "The Crown" during the show's third and fourth seasons, described the royal as a "rock star ... [who] is devoted to telling the truth at all times, regardless of how someone may respond." She continued, saying, "For me, a rock star is someone who just feels what they feel, and they say it in the moment and the other person just has to deal with that."

Claudia Harrison, who took over the role of Princess Anne beginning in Season 5 of the series, agreed in her own interview with the outlet. She said, "Look at what she has done. With her role as the Princess Royal, she has been exceptional, and I hope The Crown is part of turning her into a feminist icon."