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Why isn’t Zara Tindall a Princess?

Anne, Princess Royal; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Zara Tindall
Stephen Lock/ i-Images

One question which has been asked over the years is why Zara Tindall, like her brother, Peter Phillips, does not have a royal title, unlike their royal cousins. They are neither prince nor princess and don’t have the style of HRH in front of their names.

Their mother, Princess Anne, is the second child of Her Majesty The Queen and the late Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. However, only the male offspring of The Queen and Prince Phillip are entitled to pass on a royal title to their children. This is due to the 1917 Letters Patent issued by King George V, which limits the title of Prince(ss) to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sovereign’s sons, and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. This was amended in 2013 to include all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (i.e. the children of The Duke of Cambridge).

Princess Anne’s first husband and father to Peter and Zara is Captain Mark Phillips. Born in Gloucestershire in 1948 into a military family, Phillips himself enrolled in the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and served as Second Lieutenant with the army before working his way up the ranks to become acting Captain. He was promoted to the role of Captain in July of 1975.

Princess Anne and Phillips were married in November 1973 at Westminster Abbey. It is believed that Phillips declined a peerage from The Queen, which would have allowed his children to use courtesy titles, such as Lord/Lady. The reason being that they wanted their children’s lives to be as normal as possible and free from any public obligations that come along with a title.

Dickie Arbiter – Buckingham Palace former press secretary states, “It was a masterstroke of the Princess Royal when she decided not to give her children titles. Growing up as a commoner allowed Zara to thrive as her own woman, and there has never been pressure on her to conform. She has benefited from it in all sorts of ways.”

In 2015, during an interview with The Times, Zara stated, “I’m very lucky that both my parents decided to not use the title, and we grew up and did all the things that gave us the opportunity to do.”

About author

Susan is an Actress, Vocalist, Voice-over artist and Writer. She graduated from the University of Salford with a BA (HONS) Music Degree and spent some time travelling around Europe with various choirs, during which time she also performed in the opening ceremony of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games before pursuing her acting and writing career.