Inside Princess Anne And Prince Edward's Relationship

Several aspects set the British royal family apart from pretty much everyone. Not only are they part of a historically rooted system that dates back centuries, but they enjoy the spoils that only royals can. The royal family serves its subjects in philanthropic ways, operating just as much like a business as the United States White House. There are press offices, official schedules, PR experts to jump in at a moment's notice, bodyguards, security details, and the works. It's easy to forget — given all the formalities around them — that the royal family members are just that: family. All interconnected by blood or marriage, the royals are an intricate web of parents, siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews, all trying to harmoniously work together to create and maintain the allure that the royals have been known by for years (except for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who are striking out on their own).

Among the royal relationships that get the most attention are King Charles III's bond with William, and William's strained dynamic with younger brother Harry. But a royal relationship that doesn't get much attention is Princess Anne's bond with her youngest brother, Prince Edward. The second and fourth children of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Anne and Edward, are seen together on several occasions and join each other's causes — despite their 14-year age difference. So, do these two get along? Here's an inside look into Anne and Edward's relationship.

Anne still acts like a typical older sister, even to this day

Anne was 14 years old when Edward was born. Anne's public appearances with Edward solidify that she still behaves like a big sister, especially one who was already a teen when he joined the clan. When the two were spotted outside St. Paul's Cathedral amid the late Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee Thanksgiving Service, Anne was joined by her husband, Timothy Laurence, and Edward by his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex (via People). 

Pictured on the day in question, Sophie and her daughter Lady Louise were engaging in conversation while Edward was told what to do by his big sister. Anne's stern expression and Edward's cheeky grin were immediately reminiscent of an older sister-younger brother dynamic. Anne's natural state of being an older sister/taking the reins as a more parental figure for Edward continued after the passing of their mother, Elizabeth. Body language expert Judi James observed both Anne and Edward in the wake of the queen's death, noting to the Daily Mail that Anne was "trying to emulate" her parents for the sake and stability of her siblings.

"But the grief is clearly taking its toll, possibly more than for her other siblings who seem to be more open about expressing and sharing their grief and receiving tactile support from those around them," James said of Anne's stiff upper lip approach.

Anne and Edward united to support brother Andrew amid legal woes

Every family has a black sheep, but few rival the severity of Prince Andrew. Famously involved with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew has all but vanished from the public eye after settling with accuser Virginia Giuffre, much to King Charles III's satisfaction. As noted by the Daily Mail, the king would prefer his younger brother to stay out of the spotlight completely, but his siblings certainly don't seem to agree.

Just two days before Charles' 74th birthday, Princess Anne and Prince Edward united to "show support" for their brother Andrew, inviting him to a shooting party they hosted. Charles also got an invite, but given that he thinks Andrew should "not be in the public eye" at all, he declined — and got rather peeved at his siblings for their united front regarding Andrew's invitation.

"King Charles was said to be displeased that Edward and Anne had been publicly meeting up with Andrew and wanted it made clear that he had not been part of the shoot," a source told the Daily Mail when the news of the interaction broke. "Anne and Edward had been privately concerned about Andrew and wanted to check on him, but Charles's view is that he should not be in the public eye. His Majesty was not thrilled at all."

Anne isn't particularly close with Edward's wife, Sophie

Getting along with your in-laws isn't always the easiest thing to do, especially when there's a pretty big age gap. When it comes to Princess Anne and Prince Edward's wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the two women don't always seem to be on the same page. Before you jump to conclusions, the sisters-in-law certainly don't have anything resembling a royal family feud, so that's a relief — they just don't appear to be besties, and that's OK. As assessed by body language expert Judi James for Express, Anne and Sophie's body language towards one another "hints at differences that appear to move both women into rather contrasting states when they are together."

"[During one outing] Sophie's upright body language appears to become more girlish and keen to please with Anne, who herself appears to settle back into her seat to stare at the crowds," James assessed of a pre-COVID-19 appearance they made together. "While Sophie wears a tooth-bearing, polite royal smile Anne merely raises her brows and keeps her lips closed."

James details that Sophie appears to be "keen to please" Anne, whereas the Princess Royal doesn't give much in return. In yet another instance, Sophie's characteristic giggle seemed to peeve Anne slightly, to which James assessed, "This naughty schoolkid body language seems to have brought out a far more prim response from Anne."

Anne and Edward work together as counselors to the crown

To say that there have been changes to the royal family in the last few years is a serious understatement. Starting with the most obvious, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped back from roles as senior royals for a new chapter of their lives in California. Prince Philip passed in April 2021, and Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022, making Charles king. Given that the dynamic of the royal family has changed so drastically, it's no wonder Princess Anne and Prince Edward joined forces to support their brother. 

As noted by Hello! Magazine, Anne and Edward are now officially counselors to the king. With the passing of the Counsellors of State Act 2022 on December 6, 2022, Anne and Edward joined Queen Consort Camilla, Prince William, Prince of Wales, and Princess Beatrice as official representatives of the crown. This means that the siblings can step in for King Charles III and act on behalf of the monarchy together and separately.

The timing of the Counsellors of State Act passing and naming Anne and Edward as representatives left little to the imagination, as it came just two days before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Netflix documentary dropped its first volume. Hello! Magazine pointed out that Harry would've likely been named a counselor alongside his brother if he had remained a working royal, but now Anne and Edward have stepped up to the plate.

Anne and Edward are closely aligned on this particular issue regarding titles

Princess Anne was a teenager when her youngest sibling was born, but she and Prince Edward are aligned on several topics. Not only do they share a classic older sister-younger brother bond, but they've raised their children very similar to one another. Unlike King Charles III, Anne and Edward opted to keep their children away from the spotlight. Anne is a mom of two — welcoming Peter Phillips in 1977 and Zara Tindall (née Phillips) in 1981. Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, had Lady Louise in 2003 and James, Viscount Severn, in 2007. Notably, unlike their brothers Charles and Prince Andrew, Anne and Edward were united when they declined the chance to bestow such monikers.

As noted by Hello! Magazine, Sophie once explained of her and Edward's choice not to give their children titles, "We try to bring them up with the understanding that they are very likely to have to work for a living. Hence we made the decision not to use HRH titles. They have them and can decide to use them from 18, but it's highly unlikely."

As for Anne, she declined titles for her two children so they could have as normal of a life as possible. Given Anne's distance from the throne, it makes sense that she would keep her children's lives private, and — she was famously said — that with every title comes to a downside (via Express).

The siblings are connected by this act

A live poll conducted by YouGov shows that topping the list of most popular royals are Catherine, Princess of Wales, and William, Prince of Wales. While not surprising, the two younger members of the firm did not even break the top three spots when it came to several royal engagements in 2022 — reigning supreme in that territory is Princess Anne. Anne ranks fourth in popularity as per YouGov. Still, as noted by the Mirror, she was again named the hardest-working member of the royal family in 2022, given the sheer number of engagements she undertook. Coming in second is King Charles III — who sits in the No. 5 spot when it comes to popularity — followed by, you guessed it, Prince Edward, whose popularity falls to 10th.

The Mirror noted that the Princess Royal took part in 214 official engagements in 2022, traveling to the United States while doing so. Charles followed his younger sister with 181 engagements, and Edward came in third with about 140 official visits — though the siblings are united by their dedication to the crown, Anne outshines her eldest and youngest brothers when it comes to days worked per year. Anne can even add 2022 to her list of crowning achievements — she held the title of the hardest-working royal in 2021, 2018, 2016, and 2015. Sorry, Edward, your sister has you well beat on this one.

Anne and Edward united in grief when their mother passed

If one thing is clear about Princess Anne, she has a no-fuss dedication to the crown. Embracing that ever-so-British stiff-upper-lip mentality, Anne has shown time and time again that she means business. But that steely demeanor went out the window in the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II's death, as the queen's second eldest child and only daughter were visibly shaken when mourning her mother. There to comfort her was Prince Edward, the queen's youngest child and baby of the family. Such affection between the siblings was a rare sighting, and body language expert Judi James broke down exactly what happened for Express.

"The photographs of the royals collectively mourning the queen have been sad, but it's the poses of a rather isolated-looking Princess Anne who does look like a woman desperate to channel her mother's famous skill of stoicism and stiff upper lip, but quietly struggling, that are really upsetting," Judi said. Pointing out that it was Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who were there to comfort Anne, the countess even placed a hand on Anne's shoulder — a huge display of affection by royal standards.

"The queen's youngest son and his wife Sophie appeared to be the most tearful of all the mourners during the service," Judi explained, as noted by The Sun. "Sophie watched with an expression of concern, herself clutching a hankie in one hand that she had been dabbing her tears with."

They are said to lean on each other amid their first holiday season without the queen

Following any person's passing is what's called the year of firsts without them. When it comes to the late Queen Elizabeth II, a whole country is experiencing a year of firsts together, with the royal family at the center of immense change. With the 2022 holidays, the royals are said to be uniting with one another to navigate this new season of change.

As noted by Vanity Fair, King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort, will be hosting Christmas 2022 at the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, and there supporting one another will be Princess Anne and Prince Edward. They will watch as their eldest brother delivers his first Christmas broadcast as king — a lengthy tradition amongst the royals — and will no doubt be there for each other emotionally as they were during the queen's funeral. "It will be hard, as the queen was all they knew, like most of Britain," a staffer told People of Anne and Edward's first Christmas without their mom, amid other family members. "The first year is most difficult, as it is always the first of everything that you notice."

But Anne, Edward, Charles, and other family members are said to be doing their best to keep traditions alive. They will exchange gag gifts on Christmas Eve and then walk as a family to the local Norfolk church on Christmas Day.

Anne joined Edward during a very special occasion in 1969

Growing up as a royal, the children of Queen Elizabeth II were granted a much different childhood than most of us. Princess Anne attended boarding school at a young age and has been a vocal advocate of the education system ever since — but the separation instilled a bit of distance between her and her younger siblings (via Vanity Fair). By Edward's birth, Anne was 14 years old and navigating life as a young lady in the public eye. Despite their age gap and differing duties as royals, Anne and Edward shared a touching moment of his childhood.

Every little kid, at some point, dreams of being an astronaut — there's something about the night sky that is incredibly intriguing, and Edward certainly was among the children who looked to the stars. As detailed by the Royal Collection Trust, Edward got closer than most kids will ever get to space when Colonel Frank Borman — the commander of Apollo 8 — came to Buckingham Palace to visit him. Edward was just a little kid at the time and was joined by Elizabeth and Prince Philip. But witnessing her little brother live out such a childhood fantasy of going to the moon was Anne! Pictured smiling as Borman and Edward chatted, Anne clearly had a wonderful big-sister moment, watching her little brother embrace the imagination that only childhood can bring.

Edward and Anne came together at this sporting event

When it comes to royal athletes, Princess Anne might be the most impressive among them. A talented equestrian who represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games in 1976, Anne now serves as the president of the British Olympic Association and is a member of the International Olympic Committee. Her love of all things horses, sporting, and team GB were once again on display when the Olympics were hosted in London, and she's been an avid member of the stands during the Commonwealth Games. Prince Edward, for his part, turned his passion for entertainment into a production company — certainly not following in his older sister's athletic footsteps — but that hasn't stopped them from enjoying each other's company at sporting events.

As noted by Town & Country, the Commonwealth Games take part across the 54 Commonwealth nations, with more than 70 teams competing for medals. While smaller in scale than the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games are a big deal for the royal family, so they are always spotted in the stands and cheering on from the sidelines. During the 2022 Games, Anne and Edward were photographed together while watching the Rugby Sevens competition. Joined by Anne's husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, and Edward's family, the Wessexes and the Princess Royal happily enjoyed each other's company while supporting the Commonwealth competition.

Edward played an important part in Anne's wedding

You don't have to be a royal family fan to know that weddings are a big deal. More recent royal weddings like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's ceremony, or Prince William and then-Kate Middleton's lavish wedding before that, are more imprinted in the minds of society today, but Princess Anne's royal wedding to first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, was just as big of an occasion (via Vogue). Anne looked stunning on the day, her bell-sleeved gown and timeless beauty shining (we think her look is easily one of the best royal wedding dresses of all time), and the ceremony followed the traditions set forth before her walk down the aisle. And, in a sweet moment shared with her youngest brother, Prince Edward played a very big role in the day in question.

You may recall from watching royal weddings that the bridesmaids and groomsmen are actually young children — this is a royal tradition, with the ages of the bridal party members typically ranging from 10 to 12. As such, Anne's little cousin, Lady Sarah Armstrong, was her bridesmaid, and Edward was the page boy! As the ceremony concluded and the bride and groom walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey together, Edward and Sarah followed suit, fulfilling their important roles as just little kids as detailed by the Royal Collection Trust.