40017 – Princess Anne

June 30, 2010

The story goes that, in 1974, when a mentally disturbed man with a pistol tried to kidnap the Queen of England’s daughter from her car, he shouted “come with me, I want two million pounds”.

“Not bloody likely” the princess replied ” and I don’t have two million”.

She then dived out of the other side of the vehicle and escaped unhurt.

Four other people were shot and injured in the kidnap attempt near Buckingham Palace.

Whatever the truth of this tale, it reflects quite nicely the public image of Princess Anne, now , in her sixties, titled The Princess Royal.

Intelligent, tough and self-disciplined, she is probably the hardest working member of Britain’s royal family. She is the patron of more than 200 charities and carries out about 700 royal engagements and public appearances every year.

Princess Anne is an outstanding horsewoman. She won two silver and one gold medal at the European Eventing Championships, and is the only member of the British Royal Family to have competed in the Olympic Games.

In 1971 she was voted the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.

Anne was educated at a private boarding school and began to undertake royal and official duties as a teenager in the late 1960s.

She married Mark Phillips, an army officer, on 14th November, 1973, and had two children, Peter in 1977 and Zara in 1981. At her own suggestion neither of her children bear titles.

Anne and Mark divorced in 1992, and she married Timothy Laurence, a naval officer and former member of the Royal Household, in December 1992.

The Princess Royal is known not to suffer fools gladly and like her father Prince Phillip she is prepared to speak her mind. Because of this she was once the most unpopular member of the Royal Family , earning the nickname Princess Sourpuss.

But over the years the enormous amount of work she has done for charities  – and her behaviour amid the misdemeanours of many of the other younger royals in the UK  – has earned her the admiration of the British people.