What Princess Anne's Relationship With Her Ex-Husband Is Like Today

100 years ago, getting divorced as a member of the British royal family was almost unthinkable. Divorce was still taboo for average citizens, let alone those of the highest social standing in the country. However, modern times soon changed that. As the decades rolled by, it became more of a viable option, even though it was still headline-making news. By 1996, three out of four of Queen Elizabeth II's children had their decree nisi and parted ways with their spouses, but it was Princess Anne that kicked it off when she divorced her husband, Captain Mark Phillips, in 1992.

By all accounts, their relationship had been somewhat tumultuous over the years, with Phillips' welcoming a lovechild and Anne's husband, Sir Timothy Lawrence, coming onto her radar before the couple had officially split. Despite the drama, Anne and Phillips are permanently linked thanks to their two children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips. We all know how difficult navigating a divorce can be, but the years that follow can be just as tricky. 

At the time of their separation, Zara and Peter were still very young. Now that both of their children are grown with kids of their own, how does that impact the royal exes? Do they still have a relationship, or do they avoid each other at all costs? More importantly, how does Anne's second husband, Lawrence, feel about the entire situation?

They no longer live on the same estate

For many newly divorced couples, the first priority is getting as far away from each other as humanly possible. Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips decided to take a slightly unusual route. Even Phillips didn't go far, choosing to live on Anne's Gatcombe Park estate on a property called Aston Farm. While it may sound strange to carry on living in such close proximity, Gatcombe Park is a gargantuan slice of property that consists of 700 acres, so the exes were further apart than you think.

It's likely that the situation was beneficial for the children, who would be able to see their father whenever they liked without having to travel far. When Phillips married his second wife, Sandy Pflueger, he continued to live there. The couple even raised their daughter, Stephanie, at the farm. However, reports seem to suggest that Phillips moved out following their divorce a few years ago, putting some space between him and his royal ex. 

Aston Farm isn't a small holding, either. Zara Tindall, her husband Mark Tindall, and their three children now live there. Peter Phillips also used to call the estate home, prior to divorcing his wife, Autumn. Gatcombe Park is undoubtedly the Phillips' family hub, with more than enough room for children, grandchildren, and even ex-spouses. It remains Princess Anne's beloved primary residence and country retreat.

Captain Mark Phillips is very close to his kids

Family dynamics can be complicated, but Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips have always come together to publicly support their children, no matter the occasion. There is one thing in particular that binds the entire family unit together: horses. 

Anne and Phillips first met on the equestrian scene, bonding over their shared love and they both remain dedicated to the sport. This passion has been passed down to their daughter, Zara Tindall, who is also an avid equestrian. Peter Phillips is also involved in the industry, having sat as chairman for the City Racing Organization.

Taking this into consideration, it's only natural that Anne and Phillips have been pictured at many events over the years alongside their kids. They are often photographed standing side by side and sharing a smile, from Zara's dressage competition in 2007 to various horse trials and other fixtures. When the time came for Zara to tie the knot to rugby ace Mike Tindall in 2011, she arrived at the church on Phillips' arm, ready to be traditionally given away. Whenever something important happens, the royal exes band together to ensure it all goes off without a hitch. So, while they may have separated when the two children were young, Phillips is still very much of the family. Once you're a royal, you never quite leave it all behind.

Captain Mark Phillips spilled the beans on his relationship with Princess Anne

Everyone has heard the infamous British motto, "Keep calm and carry on" — but life post-divorce seems to be naturally easy for Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips. Unlike some of the other royal separation situations, the exes have managed to stay friendly. In a 2014 joint interview with the Times alongside Zara Tindall, Phillips explained that the children were the reason they strived for a happy, healthy relationship.

"Well, I know we got divorced but the one thing we did really well when we got divorced was how we handled the Zara and Peter situation ... the princess [Anne] and I get on great," explained Phillips (via Daily Mail). This confession confirmed what the public had already assumed: that even though it may have ended badly for them romantically, they have still managed to forge a longstanding, dedicated partnership. 

While he didn't go into detail about the family dynamics or how long it took them to get to this point, only one thing matters: everyone gets along like a house on fire. Considering how sourly King Charles III and Princess Diana's marriage ended, it's the best outcome anyone could have asked for, especially Queen Elizabeth II.

Princess Anne was at her ex's daughter's wedding

After their split, Princess Anne found love again relatively quickly, marrying Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence in 1992, shortly after her divorce was finalized. It took Captain Mark Phillips a little longer to settle down, but he eventually found a long-term partner in American equestrian Sandy Pflueger. They tied the knot in 1996, welcoming their daughter, Stephanie Phillips, the same year. 

Second families can be difficult for some exes to accept, but it looks like Anne and Phillips navigated the entire situation flawlessly. Phillips and his new bride continued to live on the Gatcombe Park estate, raising their daughter, Stephanie Phillips, there. As a result, the Phillips siblings seem to be relatively close, even after Phillips and Pflueger divorced in 2012.

When Stephanie got married in 2022 at Mary the Virgin church in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, Phillips was there to walk her down the aisle, just as he did for his eldest daughter just over a decade prior. Not only did Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips attend, but Princess Anne was there as well to throw confetti and congratulate the happy couple. Not every bride invites their father's first wife to the most important day of their life, so this is an indicator of just how close the Phillips family is to Anne. 

Princess Anne's husband has gotten used to her ex

Members of the royal family have to attend many more events than your average family, so it's only natural that exes may bump into each other every now and then. If there was ever any hint of awkwardness between Captain Mark Phillips and Princess Anne's second husband Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, then it's been kept firmly out of public view. Just as Anne smiles and laughs with Phillips at events, so does Laurence. The trio have been photographed together in the past, but Laurence is renowned for keeping out of the limelight.

Anne and Laurence have been married for over thirty years, proving their romance is built to last. Body language expert Judi James told the Express in 2022 that marrying Laurence was a smart move on Anne's part: "Anne appears to have chosen a man so low-key and unremarkable in terms of presence or displays of emotion that he has been able to avoid comment or speculation for years ... he looks loyal and hewn from oak, but he is primarily a very private, background figure." As a result, there have been no public disagreements or headline-making spats between the trio. For all intents and purposes, it's a match made in heaven that has been free of drama — at least, as far as the public knows.

Captain Mark Phillips brings his new girlfriend around

After divorcing his second wife in 2012, Captain Mark Phillips hasn't married again. Now in his seventies, Phillips may have put the idea of a third wedding behind him, but that doesn't stop him from having romantic entanglements. In 2022, reports surfaced that he was dating Belgian equestrian Florence Standaert. The pair were pictured together driving in Phillips' Land Rover as they attended the Burghley Horse trials to watch Zara Tindall compete. According to the Daily Mail, Standaert is around Tindall's age, and previously dated fellow equestrian Thomas Ryckewaert before his death in 2019 at the age of 63.

Although Princess Anne has yet to be publicly pictured with her ex's new girlfriend, it may be only a matter of time. After all, all the evidence suggests that this isn't a family that shies away from welcoming new members. If history is anything to go by, it may not be long before Standaert is laughing alongside Anne as they cheer on Tindall at one of her many events. (That is, if the romance works out.)

He didn't attend the Queen's funeral - but not for the reasons you think

Given how close these two particular royal exes are, many expected to see Captain Mark Phillips at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral in 2022, but he was notably absent. However, it's not because there is any lurking animosity between the pair that we weren't previously aware of. Many royal exes were absent, with Ingrid Seward of Majesty Magazine telling Daily Mail's FEMAIL it's not "protocol" to invite them.

Phillips wasn't the only ex missing. Peter Phillips' ex-wife, Autumn Phillips, wasn't in attendance, and neither was Serena Armstrong-Jones, Countess of Snowdon. There was one exception to the rule, though: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and former wife of Prince Andrew. As Seward explained, "The committal service at Windsor was more for family and friends and former and current staff from the royal households. So Fergie was invited as a personal friend of the Monarch as well as the mother of Beatrice and Eugenie the only two of the Queen's grandchildren to have been made Princesses ... Unless they remain close for other reasons, the line is usually drawn at former royal husbands or wives." 

Even if Phillips wanted to attend to pay his respects and support his children and his ex-wife, he most likely wouldn't have been able to, as it's simply not the done thing.