Princess Anne gives a rare new interview to mark her 70th birthday, talks leadership, legacy & her family

The Princess Royal doesn't hold back in the candid new chat.
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She’s the only daughter of The Queen, who’s revered for her strong work ethic and stiff-upper lip.

And now, the Princess Royal has given a rare new interview with Vanity Fair ahead of her 70th birthday on the 15th of August.

To mark the milestone, Vanity Fair chose a stunning retro photo of Anne in her twenties to adorn their cover.

In the black-and-white cover shot, which was captured by Lord Snowden in 1969, Anne can be seen posing with her trademark voluminous quiff and striking pout under the cover line: Royal Rebel.

In the wide-ranging interview, Princess Anne opened up about leadership, legacy and her family.

Princess Anne weighs in on Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan leaving the royal family

Having worked for over 500 charities and military organisations for decades and showing no sign of slowing down, Anne knows a thing or two when it comes to representing the royal family in the public sphere.

The mother-of-two describes herself as “the boring old fuddy-duddy” of the family, “at the back saying, ‘Don’t forget the basics.'”

While Anne didn’t name Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan directly – the pair officially stepped down from their roles as senior royals in March – she did offer up her two cents on the younger generation of royals and her fears for their approach.

“I don’t think this younger generation probably understands what I was doing in the past and it’s often true, isn’t it? You don’t necessarily look at the previous generation and say, ‘Oh, you did that?’ Or, ‘You went there?'”

“Nowadays, they’re much more looking for, ‘Oh let’s do it a new way.’ And I’m already at the stage, ‘Please do not reinvent that particular wheel. We’ve been there, done that. Some of these things don’t work. You may need to go back to basics,'” Princess Anne explained.

The princess referenced her parents, The Queen and Prince Philip, as the ultimate role models when it comes to carrying out duty.

“It’s not just about, Can I get a tick in the box for doing this? No, it’s about serving… It comes from an example from both my parents’ way of working and where they saw their role being. I mean, my father served,” Anne told royal reporter Katie Nicholl in the chat, which was conducted a month after Harry and Meghan’s bombshell announcement in January.

“It was a more direct form of service, I suppose you could argue. And the Queen’s has been a lifelong service in a slightly different way, but they both have that perspective of service which is about working with people.”

Princess Anne has cautioned the younger generation of royals, telling them not to “forget the basics.”


Princess Anne on not giving her children royal titles

Anne famously rejected giving her two children Zara Tindall, 38, and Peter Phillips, 42, any formal royal titles.

“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. “So I think that was probably the right thing to do.”

Meanwhile, her daughter Zara seems to be a chip off the old block, having inherited her mother’s passion for horse riding, with both women competing at an Olympic level and landing the BBC Sports Personality of the year in 1971 and 2006.

“Her father had been a successful equestrian and won a lot more medals [than I] so you do slightly wonder if having two parents who’ve been in that situation helped,” Anne explained.

“Zara was always a natural and it was really a question of whether she felt that was something she really wanted to do, and she did and she was very thorough and applied herself to it. So she was quite rightly very successful.”

Like her mother did before her, Zara competed at the Olympics and even got a silver medal.


Princess Anne on being a grandmother

Anne is the proud grandmother to four little ones – Peter and Autumn Phillip’s daughters Savannah, nine, and Isla, eight and Zara and Mike Tindall’s daughters Mia, six, and Lena, one.

While she hasn’t had any of them over for a sleepover yet, citing the fact “they have so many friends in the area,” she loves letting them ride on her horses and playing outside with them.

“I find it very difficult to understand why anybody gets sucked into screens and devices. Life’s too short, frankly. There’s more entertaining things to be done. I suppose that puts me in the real dinosaur range.”

Anne loves playing outside with her grandchildren. Pictured: Mia Tindall.


Anne on being a thrifty fashionista

Anne is well-known for her sustainable approach to fashion and recycling outfits she’s had since the’ 80s.

The royal says she recycles her looks “because I’m quite mean.”

“I still try and buy materials and have them made up because I just think that’s more fun. It also helps to support those who still manufacture in this country. We mustn’t forget we’ve got those skills, and there are still places that do a fantastic job.”

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