History

Princess Anne's wedding

14 November 1973

An estimated 500 million television viewers from around the world watched Princess Anne marry Captain Mark Phillips in Westminster Abbey. It was only the second time in more than 200 years that a member of the British Royal Family had married a commoner.


Photo: Princess Anne, The Princess Royal and Mark Phillips wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their wedding, 14 November, 1973. (Getty Images)

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More information about: Princess Anne's wedding

How the couple met

Princess Anne was born at Clarence House on 15 August 1950, the second child and only daughter of Princess Elizabeth (who was to become Queen several years later). She was educated at a boarding school in Kent.

She developed a keen interest in horses, won eventing titles and was the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971. Later, after her wedding, she competed at the Olympic Games in Montreal.

Mark Phillips attended Marlborough College and went on to join the Army, where he later reached the rank of captain. In 1972 he won a gold medal at the Munich Olympics in an equestrian event.

The pair met through their shared interest in horses, and their engagement was announced in May 1973.

The wedding day

A global television audience of an estimated 500 million watched the Westminster Abbey ceremony.

It was only the second time in more than 200 years that a member of the British Royal Family had married a commoner.

Princess Anne wore an embroidered Tudor-style wedding dress with a high collar and medieval sleeves. Lieutenant Phillips was in the full scarlet and blue uniform of his regiment, the Queen's Dragoon Guards.

Her younger brother, nine-year-old Prince Edward, was pageboy.

Crowds lined the streets on the wedding day, which had been declared a bank holiday. The pair honeymooned aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Life after the wedding

In 1974 the pair escaped a kidnap attempt in which four people were wounded. They were being driven down the Mall on their way back to Buckingham Palace after an event.

Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips had two children - Peter, born in 1977 and Zara in 1981. They divorced in April 1992. The same year, Princess Anne married Commander Timothy Laurence, formerly one of the Queen's equerries.

She received the title of Princess Royal from the Queen in 1987, and earned a reputation as carrying out the most engagements of any member of the Royal Family. Her charity work includes a role as president of the Save The Children Fund.

Captain Mark Phillips also remarried and had a daughter with his new wife, a former Olympic horse rider.

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