As the newly crowned King Charles made his way back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey, he was surrounded by the biggest military parade London had seen in seven decades. And riding at its head was his sister, The Princess Royal. It was a striking moment, the first time a woman had taken such a role in almost 1000 years of royal history. And it was a very public demonstration of the place Princess Anne holds in this new era. For since Charles III took the throne, she has played an increasingly central role in the Royal Family.
The Princess was with The King at Balmoral at the moment his reign began. The two siblings had been with their mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in the final hours of her life. When Her Late Majesty died, at 3.10pm on September 8th 2022, the Princess Royal was at her brother’s side. And as he left for London the following day, now Monarch, Anne was left to accompany their ‘darling mama’ on her final journey. She never left her side. Her devotion, including straight backed curtsies to the coffin on more than one occasion, was unmistakable.
Her Royal Highness was also at her brother’s side as they stood vigil for Elizabeth II, first in St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh and then at Westminster Hall in London. And as King Charles III walked behind the funeral procession on the final journey of the longest reigning Monarch in British history, it was Anne who stood with him.
Once official mourning was over, the Princess Royal returned to her hectic diary of royal duties but the focus of the family increasingly fell on her work. While Anne has long turned in several hundred engagements a year, often under the royal radar, there was more interest in what she was doing.
Furthermore, her brother was intent on placing more responsibilities on her shoulders. In the early part of his reign, he named her Senior Colonel of the Household Division while she also took on the role of Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, a few months later. The King took on the role of Colonel-in-Chief.
The Princess rode alongside The King at Trooping the Colour and took her place at the Order of the Garter ceremony as Charles III oversaw it as Sovereign for the first time. And as summer arrived and the Royal Family headed back to Balmoral, it was Anne who accompanied The King and Queen.
Princess Anne has never sought the limelight, carrying out her duties in a way that has won praise from many for her hard work and deep interest in the roles she performs. However, there’s little doubt that in the reign of her older brother, she is increasingly centre stage. And there’s little doubt, too, that His Majesty relies on and trusts his sister implicitly. She is a vital part of the court of King Charles III.
After leading the military parade at the Coronation, she took her place on the Buckingham Palace balcony to greet the crowds before joining the official photos. While his consort stood to one side, as is traditional, the position on the other side was reserved for Anne, cementing her position at the heart of this reign. On her birthday, August 15th, the Royal Family chose to celebrate with a special image taken on the day Charles III was crowned showing the strong bond between brother and sister.
It’s a bond that’s lasted over seventy years and which, as a new reign begins, has proved to be more important than ever.