On 13 June 1987 Princess Anne, only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was given the title of ‘Princess Royal’.
In her role as Princess Royal, Princess Anne supports the Queen’s role as sovereign and carries out official duties on her behalf. In fact, the Princess Royal she is one of the busiest members of the royal family performing hundreds of engagements each year, many of which relate to the over 200 charities she is involved with.
Princess Anne’s full title is:
Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Princess Royal, Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Extra Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Dame Grand Cross and Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.
History of the Princess Royal Title
The title was first used in 1642 when eleven-year-old Princess Mary, daughter of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, was made ‘Princess Royal’. Her mother, Henrietta Maria, was the daughter of French King Henri IV and decided to import and adapt the tradition of bestowing the title of ‘Madame Royale’ on the eldest daughters of the Kings of France.
You may wonder; why was our current Queen never styled as the Princess Royal? The reason for this is that the holders of the style retain it for life and so a princess cannot receive the style during the lifetime of another Princess Royal. As The Queen’s aunt Mary held the title from 1932-1965 it was not available during the period of time where Her Majesty was the eldest daughter of the living king.
There have also been several instances where the title was not used because the woman who was eligible was already titled. An example is Princess Sophia Dorothea, the only daughter of King George I, who was already Queen in Prussia and so did not receive the style of Princess Royal when it became available to her.
Since the title was first granted to Princess Mary there have been seven further Princess Royals, but only six of them are considered legitimate.
Princess Louisa Maria, daughter of deposed James II & VII, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, unofficially held the title from 1692-1712. However, as her father was not the reigning monarch during this time (having lost his crown in the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689), she was not James’s eldest living daughter at any point in her life and the title was bestowed on her by the Jacobites we do not include her in the official list below.
The Princesses Royal
- Princess Mary held the title from 1642 until her death in 1660.
- Princess Anne, the second child and eldest daughter of King George II and Caroline of Ansbach held the title from 1727-1759.
- Princess Charlotte, the first daughter and fourth child of King George III and Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz’s fifteen children held the title from 1789-1828.
- Princess Victoria, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha’s nine children held the title from 1841-1901. At sixty years as the Princess Royal, Princess Victoria has the distinction of having held the title for longer than any other woman.
- Princess Louise, the eldest daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra’s six children held the title from 1905 until 1931.
- Princess Mary, the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary of Teck held the title from 1932-1965.
- Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip has held the title since 1987.