The world's fascination with royalty is stronger than ever. The center of all this attention is usually the British royal family, most specifically Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles’ descendants.
Princess Anne and Queen Elizabeth II attend 'Ladies Day' of Royal Ascot 2017
Oft-overlooked by the outside world is Princess Anne, one of the royal family's biggest assets. Here are some fascinating things about the second child and sole daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip:
She’s the most hardworking royal.
At 66, Princess Anne was picked out by the media as one of the busiest royals, attending an average of 500 engagements a year. 2016 was her busiest year yet, with a record total of 509 royal engagements. The Princess’ record even trumps all of Prince William, Duchess Kate, and Prince Harry combined.
She’s refreshingly down-to-earth.
The Princess has been known to take frequent trips but unlike her royal family members, she prefers the very public London Underground. Sarah of MumofThree World recounts, “So I wandered down to the bin and as I wandered back I saw a very familiar woman sat quietly and minding her own business just two rows behind me.” She continues, “It was Princess Anne. Definitely. At least 90 percent certain. On an actual train. Just like a normal person. Albeit in first class. But I’m in first class so it’s not like it’s a big deal or anything.”
And it's not the first time, the Princess is a regular rider:
She's unapologetically outspoken.
Like her father Prince Philip, the Princess Royal isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind. In 2001, she used her vote as one of Britain’s representatives for the International Olympic Committee to shun Beijing as the Olympic venue for the 2008 games. The Guardian reported that Princess Anne did it with reason, citing Beijing’s human rights track record and its occupation of Tibet.
She's a force of nature.
The Princess Royal suffered a bad chest infection and was taken to the hospital in September 2016. However, that didn't stop her from attending to her commitments. After a week of confinement, the Princess resumed work.
Princess Anne walks fast, drives fast; although not strange for a royal, as Queen Elizabeth II has been spotted driving. What separates Princess Anne is that she writes her own speeches and in true Princess Anne fashion, doesn't even use notes while delivering them.
She has a long list of accomplishments.
Princess Anne’s accomplishments go back far: When she was 9 years old, she managed to drive a small boat. The Princess Royal also started work early at 18, opening an educational and training center in Shropshire. In addition to this, she’s been president of Save The Children U.K. since 1970, through which she’s visited Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Bosnia, Herzegovina, and even the Philippines.
Princess Anne riding 'Collinwood' during the jumping event at the Horse Trials, Crookham, England, March 25th 1972
Aside from philanthropy, the Princess also entered the 1971 Olympic Games, becoming the first royal to compete. As an equestrienne, she’s won two silver medals (1976) and one gold medal (1971) in the Olympics.
She’s not one to mess with.
The aftermath of Ian Ball's attempt to kidnap Princess Anne. Ball's white Ford Escort is parked blocking the path of the Princess's Rolls Royce limousine.
In 1974, a kidnapping was attempted on the Princess Royal. The assailant blocked her car and shot her chauffeur, bodyguard, and a journalist that tried to intervene. After the kidnapper told her to get out of the car, to which she replied, “Not bloody likely!” and even considered hitting the man. Thankfully, other passersby came to her aid and the assailant was thwarted.
She's a modern woman.
Wedding day of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips in 1973
The royal married Queen Elizabeth II’s Personal Aide-de-Camp Captain Mark Phillips in 1973 and had children Peter and Zara Phillips. The relationship ended in 1992 with the couple claiming their relationship had been under strain for years. In the same year, the Princess married Timothy Laurence, a commander in the Royal Navy. In doing this, Princess Anne became the first royal divorcée to remarry since 1905.