Sure, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle get the lion’s share of the royal family’s press coverage these days. But, thanks to the upcoming season of The Crown, a new royal may be stepping back into the spotlight: Princess Anne.
Anne, who has achieved the distinction of being the hardest-working royal for not one, not two, but three years running, is a dutiful yet colorful figure in House Windsor. The second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth, Anne has been officially representing the monarchy since she was 18 years old. (But like most Windsor kids, she’s been in the public eye since 1950—the year she was born.) Similar to her mother, Queen Elizabeth, she’s a woman known for her quick wit—and like her aunt, Princess Margaret, a bit of sass too.
Need a refresher on Anne ahead of Erin Doherty’s upcoming portrayal on Netflix? We’ve got you covered. Here, eight anecdotes about the princess that paint a picture of her public and private persona—from her dark humor and blunt honesty to her dedication to duty.
1) In 1974, she foiled her own kidnapping attempt. When driving home from a charity event, Princess Anne’s car was stopped by a Ford Escort. An armed man jumped out, shooting her protection officer and chauffeur and a nearby journalist. (All recovered.)
So it was up to Anne to save herself. When the kidnapper asked her to get out of the car and demanded two million pounds in ransom, she simply and forcefully replied: “Bloody likely—and I haven’t got two million pounds.”
Anne recalled the incident with a dark sense of humor on a talk show in 1980. “He said I had to go with him—can’t remember why,” she joked as the audience laughed. “I said I didn’t think I wanted to go, thank you very much.”
She continued: “I was scrupulously polite. Because I thought it’s silly to be too rude.”
2) She competed in the 1976 Olympics. Princess Anne went to the Montreal Games as part of the British equestrian team. Her horse, Goodwill, was from her mother’s stable.
Years later, her daughter, Zara, would follow suit and win a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
3) The president of Namibia nominated her for a Nobel Peace Prize. In 1990, Princess Anne was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by President Kaunda of Zambia for her work for Save the Children, which advocates for youth rights around the world. She served as president of the charity from 1970 to 2017 and is now a patron.
4) She didn’t give her children titles so they could have a more normal life. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose not to give their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, any official royal designation when he was born. The reasoning? To give him a more private life.
They had a role model for that: Princess Anne and her first husband, Mark Phillips, refused titles for all their children, even though they could have had them. She thought they’d “be better off.”
“I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles,” she told Vanity Fair.
5) Here are her thoughts on The Crown: Upon learning that it took up to two hours for Erin Doherty to have her hair done on The Crown, she retorted: “How could you possibly take that long? I mean, it takes me 10 or 15 minutes.”
6) And on pregnancy: When a filmmaker reportedly asked her how she was doing while expecting her first child, Anne said she had a “very boring six months.”
7) Her sense of fashion, by the way, is delightful. In 2018, she donned a very on-trend pair of Adidas sport sunglasses, a style which had been seen on the runways that year. And while Kate Middleton often garners praise for her outfit repeating, she may want to hold her hat: Princess Anne is known for repeating outfits that are nearly 40—yes, 40—years old. In 2018, she wore an outfit she first donned at the 1980 Royal Ascot.