As the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne’s romantic life has been under a microscope since she was young, despite the fact that the princess lives a relatively private life away from the constant scrutiny that often follows a member of the Royal Family. Today, the princess is happily married to her husband of nearly 30 years, Sir Timothy Laurence, but the road to wedded bliss was not always a fairytale. Who is Princess Anne’s husband, and what was her romantic journey like before they met? Discover the relationship timeline of Princess Anne, from her first flames to the love triangle shown on The Crown to her happily ever after.
- Princess Anne's first husband was Captain Mark Phillips, whom she wed on November 14, 1973.
- The Princess Royal and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips birthed two children, Peter and Zara Phillips.
- After divorcing her first husband in 1992, Princess Anne married her current husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, on December 12, 1992.
Anne’s teenage loves, per Mirror, included Gerald Ward, who went on to become Prince Harry’s godfather, and Sandy Harper, a polo player. Anne was also linked to the Earl of Caithness, who was the same age as her brother Charles, and Brian Alexander. None of these relationships lasted long enough to be significant.
The princess, an avid rider and accomplished equestrian, fell for Olympic equestrian Richard Meade when she was in her late teens or early twenties, but the romance was not to be. The Daily Express reported that Prince Philip may have been behind the split because he disapproved of the 12-year age difference between his royal daughter and Meade.
Andrew Parker Bowles
The complicated relationships between Anne, her brother Prince Charles, his future wife Camilla Shand, and her first husband Andrew Parker Bowles was a centerpiece of The Crown season three, though it turns out it wasn’t quite as dramatic as TV would have it seem.
As noted by Elle, Princess Anne briefly dated Andrew Parker Bowles in 1970 before he married Camilla in 1973. The relationship wasn’t serious, partially due to the fact that Parker Bowles is Catholic and could not technically marry the princess. The two remain friends to this day; Parker Bowles is the godfather of Princess Anne’s daughter Zara, and we all know what happened with Charles and Camilla!
Captain Mark Phillips
1968: Meeting in Mexico City
Princess Anne and Captain Phillips met because of their love of horses; both were accomplished equestrians. They were introduced at an event in Mexico City and began dating shortly thereafter.
May 29, 1973: A Marriage Proposal
Captain Phillips proposed to the princess with a sapphire and diamond engagement ring. After announcing their engagement, the pair were asked, “Do you think the marriage can withstand the enormous pressures of public duty and publicity that you have to endure?” To which Anne replied, “Can? It’s got to, hasn’t it?”
November 14, 1973: A Royal Wedding
Princess Anne was the first of her royal siblings to get married, and she tied the knot with Captain Phillips at Westminster Abbey in a televised ceremony watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world—500 million, to be exact. (No pressure, right?) Approximately 1,500 guests attended the nuptials.
The bride wore a simple yet impactful white high-necked gown with long trumpet sleeves and a seven-foot train. Perched atop her updo was the same tiara her mother Queen Elizabeth wore at her wedding in 1947. She carried a bouquet of white roses and wore large diamond cluster earrings.
1977-1981: Welcoming Two Royal Babies
Princess Anne and Captain Phillips had two children together. They welcomed their son Peter Phillips in 1977 and daughter Zara Phillips Tindall in 1981.
Princess Anne and Captain Phillips separated in 1989. It was discovered that Captain Phillips had a child as a result of an extramarital affair in 1985.
The two officially divorced in 1992 after nearly 20 years of marriage.
Sir Timothy Laurence
1986: First Meeting
This is where things get scandalous for our dear princess. Anne and her second husband, naval officer Sir Timothy Laurence, were romantically linked before her divorce from Captain Phillips, and it was a headline-grabbing scandal indeed.
According to People, the two began exchanging letters while the princess was still married, and rumors of an extramarital relationship swirled around the royal, especially after the letters were stolen from a briefcase and the world was made aware of their existence.
“Buckingham Palace has confirmed that one of the Queen’s equerries, Comdr. Timothy Laurence, 34, has written four intimate letters to Anne,” the magazine reported at the time. Buckingham Palace also issued a statement addressing the controversy and rumors, saying, “The stolen letters were addressed to the Princess Royal by Commander Timothy Laurence, the Queen’s Equerry. We have nothing to say about the contents of personal letters sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend which were stolen and which are the subject of a police investigation.”
The two lovers kept their relationship private and low-key and were rarely photographed or seen together. When he proposed, Sir Laurence gave Anne a cabochon sapphire and diamond engagement ring.
December 12, 1992: An Intimate Royal Wedding
Sir Laurence and Princess Anne were married in late 1992, but the pair had to marry in Scotland since the Church of England did not allow remarriages after divorce. The princess wore a simple, elegant white suit and added a small spray of flowers to her hair in lieu of a veil. Only the Royal Family was in attendance, with Princess Anne’s daughter Zara serving as bridesmaid.
Unlike his wife (and most of her prior loves), Sir Laurence isn’t a fan of horses, though the couple shares an interest in rugby. “She grew up with horses, horses have been part of her life, it's not something I share with her,” he said in the documentary Anne: The Princess Royal at 70. “Sadly I've never been bitten by the horse bug.”
The two make their home in a few places, including their primary residence, a country estate in Gatcombe Park.