The Truth About Princess Anne's Husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence

Commonly known as the Princess Royal, Princess Anne is the first and only daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Phillip. Born in 1950, Anne has proven herself committed to performing her royal duties without fail. But while the princess prefers to live most of her life away from the spotlight, her marriage to Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence has come under the public lens a few times through the years.

Per People, the pair tied the knot in 1992, and have since enjoyed a blissful marriage. Also extremely content to stay out of the limelight, Laurence shares a lot of things in common with his wife — case in point, their love of the Scottish rugby team. Yet, a lot of differences remain, one of which is the princess' love for horses. "She grew up with horses, horses have been part of her life, it's not something I share with her. Sadly I've never been bitten by the horse bug," Laurence said in 2020 (via Daily Mail).

But if there were any doubts as to how well the couple gets along, Princess Anne's son Peter Phillips confirmed during her 70th birthday celebration that "they both have an understanding of what being a part of the wider family means and what is required." But outside of being Princess Anne's husband, who is Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence? 

Sir Timothy Laurence was in the Royal Navy

Born in March 1955 to naval officer Commander Guy Stewart Laurence and his wife Barbara Alison Laurence, Sir Timothy was the youngest of the couple's two sons (per Town & Country). Following in his father's footsteps, a young Timothy took up an interest in the navy, eventually landing a naval scholarship to study geography at Durham University.

After graduation, Timothy joined the Royal Navy in 1973 and worked his way up. Four years later, in 1977, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Though the details remain unclear, Timothy reportedly met Princess Anne while serving as a navigating officer on Royal Yacht Britannia (a yacht belonging to the royal family) between 1980 to 1982, per Gloucestershire Live.

In the years that followed, Timothy rose in ranks, eventually getting promoted to Captain in 1995, according to Town & Country. He also served on many ships and commanded a few, including the HMS Cumberland and HMS Boxer. In the '90s, Timothy transitioned to working with the U.K. government, serving in many capacities for the Ministry of Defence — first as an assistant to the defense minister, and then as assistant chief of defense staff. On July 5, 2004, Laurence was promoted to rear admiral and assistant chief of the defense staff (via Gloucestershire Live) and in 2007 he earned the title of Vice Admiral (per Town & Country). In August 2010, he retired from the navy and now focuses primarily on charitable interests.

Princess Anne is Sir Timothy Laurence's first and only marriage

Sir Timothy Laurence has been Princess Anne's husband for two decades, but this is actually not her first marriage. According to Brides, the princess royal met Mark Phillips, an army officer with whom she bonded over their shared love for horse-riding, in 1968. In May 1973, the pair got engaged, getting married only a few months later in November, per Town & Country.

Anne and Phillip's marriage was, however, not a very happy one, with People reporting at the time that both the princess and her husband had extra-marital affairs. By 1985, their alleged issues were no longer rumors, as Phillips fathered a child with a New Zealand teacher (per Town & Country). The couple separated four years later, eventually divorcing in 1992. That same year, Princess Anne got married to Sir Laurence — his first and only marriage.

Given the Church of England's refusal to allow divorcees remarry, Princess Anne and Laurence had their wedding at a church in Scotland, followed by a celebration with the royal family at Craigowan Lodge on the Balmoral estate, per the BBC. The intimate ceremony was attended by a number of Anne's family members, including Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, as well as Anne's two kids from her marriage to Phillips, Zara and Peter. 

He is not a working royal but holds a special place in the royal family

Upon his marriage to Princess Anne, Sir Timothy Laurence did not receive peerage, because according to Express, men who marry royal women rarely get royal titles. Instead, in 2011, Queen Elizabeth II named him Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO). However, since he carries no royal title, Laurence does not perform royal duties but makes sure to support his wife who, per The Guardian, is considered one of the most hardworking royals.

Through the years, Laurence has joined Princess Anne as she goes about her many royal duties. This, apparently, earned him favor with Queen Elizabeth, who never failed to show it. During Trooping the Colour, part of the queen's birthday celebrations which also coincided with the Platinum Jubilee, Laurence was granted special permission to appear alongside the family on the famous Buckingham Palace balcony, per Town & Country. Ahead of the occasion, the palace announced that only working royals would be allowed on the balcony. Exceptions were made for Laurence, however, as well as some of the queen's great-grandchildren. "The Queen is happy [for him] to attend as a frequent attendee and support to the Princess Royal on official engagements," a royal source confirmed in a statement (via Express).

Sir Timothy Laurence was a strong support system for his wife following the queen's death

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne was faced with the task of following her mother's coffin from Balmoral, to her final resting place at Windsor Castle. For the princess, this was an honor. "It has been an honor and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys," she wrote in a tribute to her mother. And while Princess Anne played an important role in ensuring the late monarch was buried according to royal tradition, she has leaned on her husband Sir Timothy Laurence for strength and support amid what has no doubt been a difficult period.

Per Daily Mail, Laurence was with his wife when she accompanied the queen's coffin from Balmoral to Edinburgh. Alongside other members of the royal family, he also viewed floral tributes left for the queen outside of her Balmoral residence. According to the Mirror, Laurence joined his wife, King Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince Williams, as well as Prince William and Prince Harry to walk in a procession behind the queen's coffin. Even in the toughest times, Princess Anne can clearly count on Sir Laurence for strength!

He was once caught in a scandal caused by letters he wrote to Princess Anne

In the late '80s, Sir Timothy Laurence was appointed as an equerry to the queen. It was reportedly during this period he developed a close relationship with Princess Anne, who, at the time, was still married to Captain Mark Phillips, according to Express. It was not until April 1989, when letters addressed to the princess written by Laurence were stolen and sent to a British newspaper, that the public caught wind of the pair's friendship (per People).

Though the content of the letters was not revealed to the public, an insider confirmed to People they were romantic in nature. "It's quite clear that he is potty about her, but they are very boring and ramble on," the source added. "They are the sort of letters 18- or 19-year-olds write to one another, thoughts about life and rather philosophical."

In response to the scandal, Buckingham Palace (via Wales Online) released a statement confirming that the letters were indeed stolen, adding that the issue had become "the subject of a police investigation." Despite fingerprinting over 500 people, per Express, the identity of the person who stole the letters and sent them to the press has remained unsolved to date.