Anne, Princess Royal just might be the unsung hero of the royal family. She’s certainly one of the hardest-working, based on the number of engagements she attends every year. In 2022, for instance, Princess Anne had 214 engagements — at least 33 more than any other member of the royal family. Oh, and she’s a bit of a fashion icon as well. So even though she might be a little overlooked, the Princess Royal has lived the most incredible life — and these rare photos allowed us to highlight all aspects of it.
1. Going for gold on horseback
If there’s one topic with which the Princess Royal is most associated, it’s horses. She obviously loves them and has been riding since a very young age. This picture shows her on a horse named Purple Star at the Eridge Horse Trials in 1968. But Anne's most famous equestrian partner was Doublet. This thoroughbred cross gelding once belonged to her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, and Anne rode Doublet to gold-medal glory at the European eventing championship in 1971.
2. No one else could pull of this hat
Anne was never afraid to take fashion risks. While attending a fashion show in Brisbane, Australia, in 1970 she opted for a large hat with a decorative bug on it. It looked terrific, plus that artificial insect may have helped to distract the public from Princess Anne's slip-up during this royal visit. While she was in Sydney, you see, the Princess Royal reportedly complained about the "bloody wind" — and many old-fashioned Australians were shocked to hear such language from a royal family member!
3. A colorful moment for the future King
Here’s an occasion where three royal women color-coordinated to great effect. When attending the investiture of Anne’s brother, the future King Charles III, as Prince of Wales in 1969, she, Princess Margaret, and the Queen Mother all wore brightly-colored outfits and hats. Charles' brothers — Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — were not at the engagement, reportedly because they were two young. This event — and these incredible outfits — were memorably recreated during season three of The Crown.
4. Shining at the wedding of Charles and Diana
The wedding of Charles and Lady Diana was a massive occasion, and it merited a massive hat. Anne chose this incredible yellow creation, plus a white floral dress by Maureen Baker. Society magazine Country Life commented, "Princess Anne's dress was one of the prettiest she has worn in public. The yellow silk cap trimmed with yellow and white flowers by John Boyd was also one of the most attractive in church." And the practical princess wore the exact same outfit 27 years later at the wedding of Lady Rose Windsor.