The Princess Royal is famously “horse mad”, having grown up riding and gone on to compete at national and international level. She won the European Eventing Championship in 1971 and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award that year too. Anne even met her first husband Mark Phillips, who won a gold medal at the Olympics in the team evening, at a party for horse enthusiasts.
During their early courtship, Anne used to drive around with Mark in her horse box to keep their relationship a secret from the press.
Anne shares her love of horses with her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who is also a keen watcher of horse racing.
The princess passed on her love of horses to her children, too, particularly Zara Tindall who followed in her mother’s footsteps to win the World Eventing Championship in 2006.
Anne also hosts the Festival of British Eventing at her home at Gatcombe Park each year.
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Princess Anne and her husband Tim Laurence
Princess Anne competed in three day eventing
Prince Philip once said of his daughter: “If it doesn’t fart or eat hay, she isn’t interested.”
It is curious, therefore, that Anne’s husband should not be too fond of horses, given Anne’s near obsession-like passion.
In the ITV documentary ‘Anne: The Princess Royal at 70’, Tim said: “She grew up with horses, horses have been part of her life.
“It’s not something I share with her. Sadly, I’ve never been bitten by the horse bug.”
Anne and her ex-husband Mark Phillips first connected over their shared love of horses
However, the royal couple do have plenty of other things in common ‒ their love for history and duty, for one thing.
They also share a love of sport, albeit not equestrian ones for Tim.
He told ITV: “We both follow with great enthusiasm the Scottish rugby team.
“As you may have noticed, they dont always win.”
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Anne and Tim watch Scotland play France in the Six Nations
Commenting on their similar outlooks on life, Tim noted: “We are both map and chart people.
“We like to know where we are and see where we’re going.
Tim, who is a naval Vice Admiral, has been married to Anne for nearly 30 years now and they make for a powerful team.
However, he is not a loud or attention-grabbing person, but rather quiet and has not been interviewed in such depth before.
Anne’s son Peter Phillips said: “They both have an understanding of what being a part of the wider family means and what is required, and through the last 25 years plus that they’ve been together, he’s been a very strong support for her.”
Tim reflected on what he has noticed about Anne and the Royal Family since he first married Anne in 1992.
Anne is often compared to the Duke of Edinburgh, as they are both confident, strong-willed people, whereas Charles is more sensitive like the Queen.
However, Tim felt Anne has similarities with both her parents.
He said: “Similarities with her father are much talked about.
“What is less spoken about is the similarities with her mother, the Queen. The common theme is humour, fun.
“One of the great surprises when I first went to Balmoral and Sandrigham and Windsor was that these places are full of laughter.”