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British RoyalsFeaturesHistoryPrincess Anne and Family

Anne at 70: her royal titles

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As the only daughter of the Queen, Princess Anne was always in line for an historic title. But before she became Princess Royal, she was known by different styles and not all of them are that well known. As the princess marks her 70th birthday, Royal Central looks at the titles that have been used by Anne.

The princess has been an HRH since birth. She arrived at 11.50am on August 15th 1950, delivered at Clarence House, then the London home of her parents. But while her mother was heir to the throne and a monarch in waiting, like many women in the 1950s, she was at that point still known by her husband’s name. Princess Elizabeth was then the Duchess of Edinburgh and her newborn daughter would first be known as HRH Princess Anne of Edinburgh.

All that changed less than four years later. The early and somewhat unexpected death of King George VI on February 6th 1952 turned Elizabeth into Queen and brought many changes for her young family. As well as leaving her home at Clarence House, Anne also assumed a new title. She was now the daughter of the Monarch and her royal style reflected that. From February 6th 1952, she was known as HRH The Princess Anne.

In November 1973, Anne became the first of the Queen’s children to marry. Her groom, Captain Mark Phillips, with the support of the princess, declined an offer of a title from the Queen. Following the wedding on November 14th 1973, the bride was known as HRH The Princess Anne, Mrs Mark Phillips.

However, speculation continued as to when her title might become truly historic. The eldest daughter of a Monarch can be created Princess Royal, a title first introduced in 1642 by the ill fated King Charles I. It can only be held by one woman at a time and when Anne’s mother became Queen, it still belonged to another royal. King George V’s daughter, Princess Mary, had been created Princess Royal in 1932. Her death, in 1965, technically meant that Anne could be given the title at any point from then. But it wasn’t until she was well established in her own very distinct royal role that she joined this rather select group of women.

On June 13th 1987, it was announced that Princess Anne had been given the title of Princess Royal. A short statement confirmed that ”The Queen has been graciously pleased to declare that Her Majesty’s daughter, The Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, Mrs. Mark Phillips, should henceforth bear the style and title of Princess Royal.”

She has held it for 33 years although several women have used it for longer. However, it’s a title that Anne has made her own.

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About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.