The Stunning Transformation Of The Queen's Only Daughter

Princess Anne is Prince Philip and the queen's only daughter of the couple's four children. Anne, or the Princess Royal as she is also known, is the second oldest child after Prince Charles. Born on August 15, 1950 to the then-Princess Elizabeth, Anne was just a toddler when her mother became queen.

As a member of the royal family, Princess Anne has been in the public eye since her birth. As is true of her siblings, Princess Anne has long captivated the public — perhaps even more so because she is the queen's only daughter.

The princess has changed quite a lot over the decades. In her childhood, she had a reputation as being a bit headstrong. As she's grown older, though, Princess Anne has displayed a fierce strength that has served her well as one of the most prominent members of the royal family. The stunning transformation of the queen's only daughter is nothing short of a fairy tale.

Even as a child, the queen's only daughter understood the obligations of being royal

Growing up as the queen's only daughter was rather lonely for Princess Anne. She and her siblings were often left at home while their parents traveled. While many children would no doubt have found such a situation difficult and isolating, Anne understood even as a child that her parents had royal obligations to fulfill.

The media has sometimes portrayed the queen as distant and uncaring, but Anne denied this in the BBC1 documentary Queen And Country. "I simply don't believe there is any evidence whatsoever to suggest that she wasn't caring," said the Princess Royal (via the Daily Mail). "It just beggars belief."

Even though she didn't get to spend as much time with her mother as she would have liked, the royal didn't feel abandoned. Princess Anne defended her mother and explained that she and her siblings never had any doubts that Queen Elizabeth didn't care for them "exactly the same way as any other mother did."

Princess Anne was a tomboy growing up

Far from a prim and proper princess, the queen's only daughter, Princess Anne, was more of a tomboy who preferred the outdoors — at least when she was little. In the documentary The Real Princess Anne (via Express), family friend Countess Mountbatten of Burma revealed that the young princess "was always very full of life" and also "quite naughty." She provided a sharp contrast to the much more reserved Prince Charles. Her father, Prince Philip, once said of his daughter (via The Guardian), "If it doesn't fart or eat hay, she isn't interested," referring to her love of horses.

As Princess Anne grew older, she developed a reputation of being "sulky" and "bad-tempered" because of her independent spirit. She was often short with the press, disliking being questioned. Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch noted that Princess Anne was nicknamed "Her Royal Rudeness" by the press after telling reporters to "naff off."

Anne would eventually rehabilitate her image through her charity work, but it would be years before her work outweighed her "prickly temperament" in the eyes of the press.

The princess has always been a daddy's girl

Princess Anne is the only girl out of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's children, which may explain why the queen's only daughter is something of a daddy's girl. While she has spoken fondly of both of her parents, she seems to have a particularly close relationship with her father.

Royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith noted in Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, Prince Philip could be a rigid parent. The royal is known for being both blunt and sarcastic, and he was often that way with his children. Philip's parenting style was hard for Prince Charles, but Princess Anne felt she knew how to handle their father. Instead of buckling under his criticism, the "confident extrovert" would "push back," according to the biographer.

Prince Philip's demanding ways don't seem to have harmed his relationship with his daughter. Eileen Parker, the wife of a close friend of the prince, told the Daily Mail that he "always had more fun with Anne" who "is very like Prince Philip."

The queen's only daughter was a Girl Guide

Princess Anne spent her early childhood largely isolated from children her own age. According to the book Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family: A Glorious Illustrated History, the Princess Royal was tutored privately for much of her childhood. This prevented the queen's only daughter from making friends.

In order to help her socialize with children her own age, Anne's aunt, Princess Margaret, helped her join the Girl Guides, the British equivalent of the Girl Scouts. The Buckingham Palace Brownie Pack was formed, with weekly meetings taking place at the palace so that Princess Anne could socialize without having to be too much in the public eye.

In 1959, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported that the then-nine-year-old princess was learning how to knit and to tie different knots thanks to her pack, which was only a few months old at the time. The paper noted that not all of the members of Princess Anne's pack were "bluebloods," and that her new friends came from many walks of life.

Princess Anne was educated at an all-girls boarding school

Princess Anne wasn't just isolated from her parents growing up, she was separated from most of her family. In 1963, the queen's only daughter enrolled in Benenden School, an all-girls boarding school. In the documentary The Real Princess Anne (via the International Business Times), royal expert Penny Junor revealed that the school's headmistress claimed Princess Anne suffered from extreme nerves on her first day of school. She was so nervous that she reportedly became physically ill.

Nevertheless, Anne settled into school and ended up thriving in the company of other young girls. "I think Anne really enjoyed being normal," said Junor. "I think she enjoyed the companionship as well."

Anne may have found companionship among her classmates, but going to boarding school meant that she didn't get to know her siblings very well. Even in adulthood, Queen Elizabeth's children never grew particularly close to each other. A former royal aide told The Telegraph that the siblings had "very little contact" outside of family get-togethers, adding, "They didn't pick up the phone and chat to each other as some brothers and sisters do. It was all very distant."

Princess Anne skipped university to focus on her royal duties

Princess Anne seems to have been a dedicated student. Tatler noted that she completed six O-Levels and earned three A-Levels in English, History, and Politics. After completing her studies at Benenden School, the princess chose not to go on to university. Instead, she began to officially represent the royal family, throwing herself into her work. According to her profile on the royal family's website, Princess Anne's first official royal engagement was in 1969, when she was just 18 years old.

The following year, the queen's only daughter became the president of Save the Children — a title she retains as of this writing. Anne's life has been fully dedicated to public service. She "is involved with over 300 charities, organizations and military regiments in the UK and overseas," according to the royals' site, and has been "closely involved" in creating several charities.

The queen's only daughter had a relationship with the Duchess of Cornwall's ex

The queen's only daughter, Princess Anne, had a couple of relationships (at least that the public knew about) before getting married. The most notable, though, was with Andrew Parker Bowles, who would later go on to marry Camilla Shand, who, in turn, would go on to marry Prince Charles after Princess Diana, his first wife from whom he was divorced, died.

The complicated relationship was depicted on Netflix's The Crown, although the show embellished details to make the relationship more messy than it was in real life. Royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith told Vanity Fair that Camilla first met Prince Charles in the early 1970s, after she had been dating Bowles off and on for the past half decade. She said that Anne became involved with Bowles in June 1970, but the relationship quickly fell apart because Bowles was Catholic and they couldn't marry. The two remained friends, and Bowles would later become the godfather of Princess Anne's daughter, Zara.

Prince Charles first met Camilla in 1972 —  long after his sister and Bowles split up — but the relationship was short-lived. Camilla ended up marrying, and later divorcing, Bowles. After her first marriage ended, she reunited with Prince Charles.

Princess Anne had her fairy-tale wedding to Mark Phillips televised

On November 14, 1973, Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips in arguably one of the best royal weddings in history. Vogue noted that it was the first time in 50 years that a member of the royal family had married a commoner. The couple met through their shared love of horses. The former army captain had won an Olympic gold medal in 1972 as a member of the British equestrian team.

The couple's wedding was a lavish affair. The ceremony was held at Westminster Abbey and televised live, with an estimated 500 million viewers tuning in to see the princess get married.

The queen's only daughter wore a Tudor-style wedding dress with a full-length veil. She also paid homage to her mother by wearing the diamond-studded Queen Mary's Fringe tiara, which Queen Elizabeth also wore on her wedding day. After the ceremony, the couple made an appearance at Buckingham Palace's terrace where they waved to the people who turned out to catch a glimpse of the princess on her big day.

This is how the queen's only daughter foiled a kidnapping attempt

While Princess Anne grew up into a refined young woman, she remained outspoken and strong-minded. In 1974, not long after her wedding to Mark Phillips, Princess Anne thwarted an attempted kidnapping. According to BBC News, a young man with "mental health problems" named Ian Ball cornered Princess Anne in her car, asking her to "come with me for a day or two" as he wanted to collect a ransom of £2 million.

Rather than going along with his demands or waiting for someone to intervene, declassified papers released by the National Archives (via BBC News) report that the royal replied "bloody likely, and I haven't got £2 million." The queen's only daughter called the incident "infuriating," saying that she had no intention of getting out of the car and going with the man. Still, she kept her cool. "I nearly lost my temper with him, but I knew that if I did, I should hit him and he would shoot me," she said.

Ball was eventually apprehended by a police officer. He pled guilty to attempted murder and kidnapping and, under the Mental Health Act, "was imprisoned indefinitely."

Princess Anne was the first member of the royal family to compete in the Olympics

The queen's only daughter's tomboy ways paid off big time in the late '70s. A lifelong equestrian, Princess Anne had been passionate about horses since childhood and had quite a bit of success on the competition circuit. In 1976, she made history as the first member of the royal family to compete in the Olympics.

Her profile on the official website of the royal family noted that, while the princess didn't medal at the Olympics, she did rack up some pretty big awards over her equestrian career. In 1971, Princess Anne won a gold medal in the individual discipline in 1971's European Three-Day Event Championships. In 1975, she won a silver medal in individual and team disciplines.

Years later, Princess Anne's daughter, Zara Phillips, went on to become a champion equestrian. In 2012, she won a silver medal at the Olympics, as noted by People. Phillips had previously won a gold medal at the World Championships in 2006.

Princess Anne got a divorce

In April 1992, the Star-News reported that Princess Anne had filed for divorce from Mark Phillips. By that time, the couple had been separated for two and a half years. The outlet noted that the split made the queen's only daughter only the second royal to divorce their spouse in the 20th century — following her aunt, Princess Margaret — but she wouldn't be the last.

The year 1992 would end up going down in history as Queen Elizabeth's "annus horribilis," so-named because of all of the scandalous things that happened that year, as noted by Timeline. Five weeks before Princess Anne filed for divorce, her younger brother, Prince Andrew, separated from his wife, Sarah Ferguson. That summer, a book called Diana: Her True Story claimed that Princess Diana was trapped in a loveless marriage with Anne's older brother, Prince Charles, and revealed her eating disorder and struggles with depression to the world. Prince Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles also came to light later that year — the two would later get married. 

The turbulent year came to a close with Windsor Palace literally going up in flames that November.

The princess did her best to give her kids a normal childhood

While Princess Anne gracefully accepted her place in the royal family as the queen's only daughter, it seems that she wanted her children to have more freedom than she had growing up. When the princess married her first husband, Mark Phillips, he turned down the offer of a royal title from Queen Elizabeth. While only the descendants of the queen's male children are entitled to a royal title (thanks, patriarchy), Queen Elizabeth offered to give royal titles to Princess Anne's children. Again, the offer of royal titles was declined.

This allowed Princess Anne's children to grow up without as much pressure on them — something they are grateful for. "We were able to be more adventurous than say, [Prince] William," Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter and daughter of Princess Anne, Zara Tindall, told Hello! magazine. In an interview with The Times, Tindall also revealed that she felt "very lucky."

Tindall likewise decided to give her children a more normal upbringing as did her brother, Peter. In fact, not one of Princess Anne's grandchildren have royal titles.

This is why Princess Anne had her second wedding in Scotland

In 1992, not long after her divorce from Captain Mark Philips was finalized, Princess Anne married again. Her second husband, Timothy Laurence, was a commander in the Royal Navy at the time, as noted by Debrett's. The couple married on December 12 at Crathie Kirk in Scotland. While it seems like a romantic place to hold a destination wedding, the reason they were married in a Scottish church was because, per the rules of the Church of England, divorcées were not permitted to remarry in any of sect's churches.

Although the queen's only daughter remarried not long after finalizing her divorce, Princess Anne may have been with Laurence for quite some time before they were married. The Chicago Tribune claimed at the time of Princess Anne's separation from Phillips in 1989 that Laurence was one of a number of affairs the royal had while married to Phillips. Phillips was also allegedly engaged in a number of affairs.

Princess Anne dotes on her grandchildren

While Princess Anne has primarily dedicated herself to her royal duties, she is also very devoted to her family. She seems to adore her grandchildren, spending as much time with them as she can with her busy schedule.

Hello! noted that her four grandchildren, Mia Tindall, Lena Tindall, Savannah Phillips, and Isla Phillips are leading far more normal lives that the queen's only daughter did. While the press pays attention to them here and there, they have largely escaped the media circus that surrounds some of their cousins who are closer to the throne.

Princess Anne is regularly spotted with her grandchildren, notably at horsing events such as 2019's Gatcombe Festival of Eventing, where Princess Anne watched over her grandchildren. The International Business Times reported that Princess Anne was even seen taking a walk with her grandchildren at the event, calling the royal a "loving and doting grandmother to all four of her grandchildren."

The queen's only daughter is busier than her mother

Many may think that, as the head of the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II would be the busiest member of the royal family. Her children, however, are far busier. As a senior royal, the queen's only daughter, Princess Anne, is consistently one of the busiest members of the clan, based on the number of official royal engagements she takes part in.

The Princess Royal completes hundreds of engagements each year. The Telegraph noted that in 2019, she did 506 out of the families 3,567 official engagements that year. Prince Charles did 521, while the queen attended 295. The younger royals are less busy; Prince William was at 220 royal engagements while Kate Middleton was present at 116.

The number of engagements royals engage in each year varies from year to year. Vanity Fair noted that Princess Anne and Prince Charles have been taking on most of the workload since the 1990s, when their parents began to cut down on royal engagements. In 2017 and 2018, Princess Anne did more engagements than her brother, but Prince Charles was officially the busiest member of the family in 2016 and 2019.