The Untold Truth Of Princess Anne

Most of us probably know Princess Anne as the infamously blunt and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II; she's also known for her no-nonsense approach to public life in general. Her portrayal by Erin Doherty in Netflix's The Crown gave Anne a new surge of popularity and a whole new generation of fans. 

You probably already know the basics about Anne, but here they are again just in case. She was born in 1950 in London just before the Queen's coronation, and she became an avid horsewoman in her youth. In 1973, Anne married Captain Mark Phillips in Westminster Abbey; with Phillips, she had two children, Peter and Zara Tindall. In 1992, Anne divorced Phillips and remarried Timothy Laurence. These days, Anne is known as one of the busiest royals in the family, with an active interest in charity work (via Britannica).

Nevertheless, there are probably a few things you didn't know about the princess — even if you're a devoted watcher of The Crown. Ready to find out a little more? Here is the untold truth of Princess Anne.

Princess Anne doesn't mind recycling her outfits

Most royals — especially those of the female persuasion — find themselves under the constant scrutiny of a rather fashion-obsessed press. Kate Middleton, for instance, is always having her outfits analyzed and evaluated by journalists and tabloids alike. For Princess Anne, it's no different. However, unlike some of the other royals who make it a point to showcase a brand new outfit for just about every outing, Anne doesn't seem to mind recycling a few pieces.

As the Daily Mail reported, Anne doesn't just re-wear a few pieces from time to time — she'll recycle entire outfits without batting an eyelash, "right down to her jewelry and accessories." For example, in 2015, the princess wore a coat and dress paired with a hat — an outfit she'd worn on four different occasions in the past. Apparently, Anne's fashion is all thanks to her live-in dresser, Veronica Cain, who's been with her since the '90s. It's nice to see this royal take a more frugal, easy-going approach to clothing.

Princess Anne isn't a Lady -- she's a Knight

Unsurprisingly, the royal family has plenty of traditional titles to pass around. One of them is the Order of the Garter, which was created by King Edward III and was inspired by King Arthur's legendary Knights of the Round Table. The sitting monarch is able to appoint both men and women to this order, making them either Knights or Ladies of the Garter. To that end, in 1994, Princess Anne was appointed to the order. However, as the royal Twitter account noted, instead of becoming a lady, she requested to become a knight.

As Royal Exhibitions explained, this distinction was made because Ladies of the Garter didn't have the same status as their male counterparts. While Knights became "companions," Ladies did not. By choosing to become a Knight of the Garter, Anne "is held in the same rank as her brothers." It's pretty cool to see how Anne doesn't mind changing some ancient traditions in order to make things a little more modern!

Princess Anne was an Olympian

Not only does Princess Anne represent her country as a member of the royal family, she also represented England at the 1976 Montreal Olympics as a horsewoman. This marked the first time a member of the royal family competed in the games. Anne rode Goodwill, the Queen's horse, during the event. As she told The Horse Rider's Journal, "There was a very good chance that we might have been selected for Munich in '72, but in fact, that didn't work out. So getting to Montreal and actually getting to ride was satisfying." While Anne didn't win a medal, she's certainly proven herself at other horse riding competitions, winning a gold medal at the European Championships (via Grazia).

Anne was always determined to make a name for herself outside of her royal status. And as she explained it, riding was the best way to do so. "I thought if I was going to do anything outside of the royal family, horses was likely to be the best way of doing it," she continued. Eventually, Anne's daughter, Zara Tindall, followed in her footsteps and rode at the 2012 Olympics (via Hello! magazine).

Princess Anne chose not to give her kids titles

Princess Anne had two children with her first husband, Peter and Zara Tindall. But when they were born, they didn't automatically get titles as titles are passed down through men (via People). The Queen offered to give them titles anyway, but Anne declined the offer. As Zara later told The Times, she was glad to be a "commoner" anyway. "I'm very lucky that both my parents decided to not use the title and we grew up and did all the things that gave us the opportunity to do," she mused.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Anne explained her decision. "I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles," she shared. "So I think that was probably the right thing to do." Most people seem to agree. As former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter said, "It was a master stroke of the Princess Royal when she decided not to give her children titles. Growing up as a commoner allowed Zara to thrive as her own woman, and there has never been pressure on her to conform" (via Express).

Princess Anne might have had a cold relationship with Princess Diana

Princess Anne was the only woman of her generation in the royal family until Princess Diana arrived on the scene. And as some sources tell it, Anne and Diana didn't exactly get along. According to Ingrid Seward, author of the biography of Anne's brother, entitled Prince Edward, "Anne was indifferent to Diana from the very beginning." By the sound of things, the two women didn't have much in common. Apparently, Anne treated her with "withering disdain" and called her "a silly girl." Ouch.

Shortly before Diana and Prince Charles' marriage, Diana reportedly confronted Anne during Acot week. As Seward shared, Diana approached Anne and tried to chat with her while she was tending to her young children. "When she was struggling with two small children she had no time for it at all," she wrote. "She looked up at Diana — and looked straight through her." Apparently, Diana "fled" (via Express). While it's impossible to know how much of this is true, it's not hard to imagine that these two very different women didn't always have the best chemistry.

Princess Anne was nominated for a Nobel Prize

Princess Anne is often lauded for her royal undertakings; in particular, she's especially adept at involving herself in charity work. In fact, in 1990, her work for the Save the Children Fund earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. As the foundation's president said in an interview for the BBC at the time, "She loves people. She has extended that love to working for helpless children in many parts of the world. That is love in action" (via Deseret).

According to the Save the Children website, Anne has been a patron of the organization since 1970. She remains involved to this day, and even took part in a special fundraiser to help children affected by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Of her work, she said, "I am proud of my long association with Save the Children, and I am honoured to succeed Her Majesty as its Patron."

Princess Anne was almost kidnapped

One of the most shocking things that happened in royal history didn't actually make it into The Crown, believe it or not. In 1974, Princess Anne was almost kidnapped! As People explained, Anne was in a car returning to the Palace with her husband when a car blocked them. The driver of this other car, Ian Ball, fired shots that injured her private detective and her chauffeur. He then climbed into the princess's car and told her to get out. She reportedly fired back, "Not bloody likely."

Anne later recalled the attempted kidnapping in an interview with Michael Parkinson. "We had this discussion about where or where not we were going to go," she recalled. "I was scrupulously polite because I thought it was silly to be too rude at that stage and we had a fairly low-key discussion about the fact that I wasn't going to go anywhere, and wouldn't it all be much better if he just went away and we'd all forget about it." It's clearly a good thing that Anne was so level-headed!

Many people were shocked by Princess Anne's humble home

When most of us imagine a royal home, we imagine something incredibly grand — something like Buckingham Palace. However, as it turns out, Princess Anne doesn't exactly live like you'd think a princess would. In 2021, photos were released of her home and people were shocked by just how normal it looked.

The photo, which was posted on the royal family's Instagram page, showed a cozy, somewhat outdated-looking family room, filled with old ornaments, prints, books and trinkets collected over the years. There's even a dog bed in the corner!

Royal fans were surprised by the low-key photo. In fact, some people even made fun of Anne for what they saw as pretty abysmal interior design taste. As the New York Post reported, one person wrote, "... and I was worried about my clutter," while another wrote, "She needs a new sofa." Of course, some people saw it as a sign of Anne's famously down-to-earth attitude. "I love that their home looks like an actual home and not something that was set up," another fan added.

Does Princess Anne watch The Crown?

The hit Netflix series The Crown follows a somewhat imagined version of the royal family's private and public lives. And while most royals claim that they don't watch the show, Princess Anne revealed in 2020 that she had watched the show. In a documentary called Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, she said that she found the early season (which followed her mother as she took the throne) to be "quite interesting."

However, Anne did have a few thoughts on the young Erin Doherty, who played her as a young woman. Doherty had previously claimed that Anne's famous beehive hairstyle took the production team hours to perfect each day before filming. To that end, Anne said that she'd seen the interview, "and I'm thinking, 'How could you possibly take that long? I mean it takes me 10 or 15 minutes'" (via the Independent). It sounds like only Anne has managed to nail this hairstyle!

Princess Anne went viral during the Trump's visit in 2019

Princess Anne usually keeps a pretty low profile. However, in 2019, she made headlines when one funny moment was caught on camera and went viral. During a visit from then-President Donald Trump, the Queen, Prince Charles, and Camilla Parker-Bowles were seen greeting the Trumps. However, when the Queen gestured to Anne to come and greet him, she laughed and shrugged her shoulders.

Many people saw this defiant moment as pretty iconic. As one Twitter user wrote, "The Queen chastising Princess Anne for not greeting Trump and Anne not giving a single s*** is the mood we all need to take into today." And as Time wrote, "While Princess Anne's refusal has been widely taken as a snub of the Trumps, it does not appear that she violated any royal protocol." And as a royal commentator told The Sun, it looks like she wasn't expected to take part in the greeting. Either way — we have to admit it's a pretty hilarious video!

Princess Anne had several affairs during her lifetime

Princess Anne has been married twice, but during her first marriage to Captain Mark Phillips, Anne had two affairs. Her first affair was with Sergeant Peter Cross, a bodyguard; the affair is briefly mentioned in The Crown. According to Express, the affair did happen in real-life and Cross was actually removed from her protection detail — but the affair reportedly continued anyway. Cross eventually sold the story of the affair to News of the World in 1984 after the tryst came to an end.

Anne's second affair was with Timothy Laurence, who later became her husband. The relationship became public when private love letters were sold to the press. In the documentary The Real Princess Anne, Detective Chief Superintendent Roy Ramm, who investigated the affair, said, "They were upfront about it, they were not ashamed of their relationship." He added, "They were clearly disturbed by the fact it had been revealed in the way it had, but they were completely open and Commander Laurence's only concern was trying to protect his princess" (via Express). It sounds like Anne was characteristically blunt and to-the-point about her affairs — and we can't say we're too surprised!

Princess Anne pled guilty to this criminal offense

You probably wouldn't expect many members of the royal family to have criminal records — but Princess Anne was indeed involved in a criminal case: in 2002, the princess pleaded guilty to a charge related to her dog. According to The Guardian, her young dog Dotty had bitten two children in a local park.

After pleading guilty, Anne paid a £500 fine with additional charges. A dog psychologist said that Dotty was "an utterly placid, playful dog" and wouldn't need to be put down. However, the judge told Anne that the pooch would need more training.

In 2004, the same dog trainer was brought in to train another one of Anne's dogs, Florence, after she reportedly bit a maid in the knee and attacked one of the Queen's corgis. At first, Florence had been mistaken for Dotty, the same dog from the 2002 attack, in which case Dotty would have been put down (via BBC). Sounds like Anne has a few unruly dogs!

Princess Anne says this is her favorite meal

The royals are known for having their favorite foods. The Queen, for instance, reportedly loves chocolate and salmon, while her late husband, Prince Philip, was more of a foodie and chef (via Hello!). He was even mistaken for a gardener when rooting around the kitchen for a late night snack!

In 2020, Princess Anne guest edited Country Life magazine and included a recipe for her favorite dish: deviled pheasant. As John Williams, the executive chef of The Ritz in London, told the publication, "It's a very simple recipe. Basically, a couple of whole pheasants are poached, then taken off the bone, shredded and kept warm in the poaching juices." Add some whipped cream, spices, and mango chutney and pop in the oven for ten minutes and voila!

While the dish certainly looks fit for a royal, it doesn't look that difficult to make — and with Anne's own recipe, we can all start eating like royalty — that is if we can find any pheasant!

Princess Anne is having a huge resurgence in popularity

When Princess Anne (played by Erin Doherty) was introduced on The Crown in the show's third season, many fans were shocked by her spiky, blunt personality. After all, most young people today aren't too familiar with her story. As Vogue reported at the time, her appearance on the show gave Anne a huge boost in popularity. In fact, many people began to think she was actually "the coolest royal."

As the show's creator Peter Morgan said, "So many people asked me, after she first appeared, to put more of her in there. Anne's often overlooked. But Erin's portrayal means that everybody has fallen in love with her." He added, "Searches about her on Google went through the roof, she's now one of the most popular royals."

Some royal fans disagreed with Morgan's assessment, claiming that Anne was popular with or without the show. One reportedly wrote on Twitter, "The Crown may have helped a little but she didn't need much of it!" (via Express). It's safe to say that Anne has always had a legion of dedicated fans, even if The Crown did help to introduce even more people to her incredible life.