The Princess Royal, the second child and only daughter of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, was born at Clarence House, London, on 15 August 1950, when her mother was Princess Elizabeth, heir presumptive to the throne. She was baptised Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise at Buckingham Palace on 21 October. She received the title Princess Royal from The Queen in June 1987; until then she was known as Princess Anne.
The Princess Royal’s work with the Save the Children UK, of which she has been President since 1970, has given her great insight into the needs of children worldwide. She has travelled extensively in support of the charity in many parts of the world.
The Princess Royal is President or Patron of some 320 organisations including, since 2011,the King’s Own Scottish Borderers Association. She is also Commandant-in-Chief of the St John Ambulance (Youth), Colonel-in-Chief of The King’s Royal Hussars, The Royal Corps of Signals, The Royal Logistic Corps and The Royal Army Veterinary Corps. She is also Colonel of The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) and Royal Colonel, The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, and Royal Colonel, 52nd Lowland, 6th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (TA), Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy, Commandant-in-Chief of The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (The Princess Royal’s Volunteers Corps), Honorary Air Commodore, Royal Air Force Brize Norton and Colonel in Chief of a number of Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Regiments. She was elected as Chancellor of the University of London in 1981 in succession to her grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and is a past Master of a number of City Livery Companies. Her Royal Highness became Chancellor of The University of Edinburgh in succession to her father in 2011 and was appointed the first Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands in the same year.
The Princess has ridden all her life and she soon proved herself an expert horsewoman. In September 1971 she won the individual European Three-Day Event Championship at Burghley, and was nominated Sportswoman of the Year by the Sports Writers’ Association. She was voted the BBC’s Sports Personality of 1971.
In 1973 The Princess was a member of the British team in the European Three-Day Event Championships at Kiev in the Soviet Union. Two years later, in the same contest in Germany, she won silver medals as an individual competitor and as a team member. The Princess also competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games as a member of the British Three-Day Event team.
In 1986 The Princess Royal succeeded her father as President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), a post which she has since relinquished. After five years as President of the British Olympic Association she was elected to the International Olympic Committee in 1988 and in 2006 she was appointed a Director of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. She has been President of the Riding for the Disabled Association since 1969 and the Royal Yachting Association since 1987. In 2005 she led the Team GB bid team in Singapore which resulted in London being awarded the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
The Princess has 2 children: Peter Phillips, who married Autumn Kelly in 2008, and Zara Phillips, MBE, who married Mike Tindall in 2011. Zara has followed her mother in a highly successful riding career; she was the Three Day Event European Champion in 2005, won the World Championships in 2006 and in 2012 won a silver medal as a member of the Great Britain Eventing Team at the London Olympics.
Her marriage to Captain Mark Phillips was dissolved in April 1992 and on 12 December the same year The Princess Royal married Commander (now Vice Admiral) Sir Tim Laurence, Royal Navy, at a private ceremony at Crathie Church, near Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
In 1974 The Princess Royal was appointed GCVO and in 1987 was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1994 The Queen appointed The Princess a Knight of the Most Noble Order of The Garter and she was invested in the Order of the Thistle in June 2001 in recognition of her extensive charity work in Scotland. Her Royal Highness’s programme of engagements is essentially in support of her many charities, and she also travels abroad extensively undertaking Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Olympic and Charitable engagements.