Do we take Princess Anne for granted? This could be the shortest opinion piece in history—yes, we definitely take Princess Anne for granted.
Last week, she undertook 11 engagements that were painstakingly detailed by the Royal Family’s Twitter account, and for that…relatively little fanfare from the press and from royal watchers. Of course she’d be that busy, we reason, she’s Princess Anne. She’s never idle, she’s always out doing something. Her diary is always full.
As one of the busiest members of The Royal Family, Princess Anne is regularly at the top of the list when royal reporters tally a year-end count of royal engagements. Sometimes she’s second only to her older brother or her mother. She has, for her entire life, devoted herself to the charities, organisations, and causes she backs.
In an interview with Vanity Fair ahead of her 70th birthday last year, Princess Anne said that the reason why her schedule is so jam-packed is due to logistics: she lives at Gatcombe Park, outside of London, and tries to make each trip to the city as full as possible.
She once said: “I’m fortunate that the program that I make up is a direct result of being asked to do these things. It would be a pity if you didn’t try and do them.”
She also touched upon the way she approaches her royal work, and how it differs from the way the ‘younger generation’ approaches it: “I don’t think this younger generation probably understands what I was doing in the past and it’s often true, isn’t it? You don’t necessarily look at the previous generation and say, ‘Oh, you did that?’ Or, ‘You went there?’ Nowadays, they’re much more looking for, ‘Oh let’s do it a new way.’ And I’m already at the stage, ‘Please do not reinvent that particular wheel. We’ve been there, done that. Some of these things don’t work. You may need to go back to basics.’”
Princess Anne’s royal work involves a wide-ranging portfolio: she backs organisations and charities related to engineering, sports, sailing, equestrianism, and the military, to name a few, and has no interest in slowing down. “Most people would say we’re very lucky not to be in that situation [retirement] because you wouldn’t want to just stop. It is, to a large extent, the choice of the organizations you’re involved with and whether they feel you’re still relevant.”
When her father died last month, Princess Anne released a statement saying that Prince Philip had been her teacher, supporter and critic, and that it is “his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate.”
Rest assured, she is her father’s daughter when it comes to service and duty.