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Princess Anne triumphed after ‘Princess Sourpuss’ mockery by going ‘for the long haul’

Princess Anne 'set a new trend' with her 'micro wedding'

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Princess Anne is today one of the most beloved members of the Royal Family. But the Princess Royal faced harsh criticism during her first years as a working member of the Firm because of a struggle over her public image and role, a royal commentator said.

Royal expert Ian Lloyd, author of The Duke: 100 Chapters in the Life of Prince Philip, told Express.co.uk: “In the early 1970s, when Princess Anne was about 20, they tried to make her the fairytale princess, they were trying to replicate Princess Margaret from the 1950s – Margaret was a very beautiful fairytale princess.

“They tried to do that with Anne, they put her in crinoline and had these photographs taken in dreamy shots and basically she wasn’t having it, she was not your kind of fairytale princess.

“So it was quite frustrating at the beginning.

“I remember they went to America in a tour with Charles and she got the title Princess Sourpuss because it was supposed to be a charm offensive but she hated every minute and she hated the press coverage and it just flopped.”

The Queen’s only daughter accompanied Prince Charles to Washington in 1970 for a two-day visit which also included a meeting with US President Richard Nixon.

But the press at the time reacted negatively to the princess’ apparent standoffish attitude towards the media and her decision not to give interviews.

However, Mr Lloyd noted, while facing bad press the Princess Royal worked behind the scenes on projects she cared about including Save the Children, an organisation with which she has now been associated for more than five decades.

He said: “It is very fascinating how she changed her image, because she went for the long haul.” 

In the early 1980s, she was followed by the press pack during a visit to Africa during which the public was given the chance to see Anne’s no-nonsense day-to-day work to support children.

Mr Lloyd said: “It was in her 30s when people realised she was getting a Land Rover to go around locations in Africa and it suddenly became clear she didn’t have to be a fairytale princess, she didn’t have to wear a tiara and look gorgeous, she could just roll up her sleeves, wear a pair of trousers and a shirt, jump on her Land Rover and go see the next village.

“It suited her, so it was a matter of finding the right job and she did.

“She gained a reputation for that and she is very, very popular now.”

According to the most recent data released by YouGov for its rolling popularity poll, Princess Anne is the fifth most popular member of the Royal Family.

She comes behind the Queen, the late Prince Philip, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

Among the 1327 UK adults polled in the third quarter of 2021, a total of 54 percent said to like the Princess Royal.

The 71-year-old is particularly beloved by Baby Boomers, with 72 percent of the people born prior to 1964 saying they like her.

Princess Anne appears to be liked by the British public not just for her no-nonsense approach but also for constantly ranking among the hardest-working members of her family.

Earlier this month, it emerged Anne and Prince Charles were competing for the crown of member of the Royal Family who has completed the largest number of official engagements in 2021.

By December 12, Anne had carried out a staggering 368 official engagements while her brother had completed 360 royal duties.

Engagements carried out by the Princess Royal included events with Save the Children, of which she is the patron, and the International Olympic Committee, of which she is a member.

Moreover, she also led more than a dozen investiture ceremonies at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle on behalf of the Queen.

Speaking about the royal’s commitment to this type of engagement, a palace source told the Telegraph that Anne “enjoys investitures and meeting the recipients”.

Ian Lloyd The Duke: A Life in 100 Chapters, the History Press, is now available in paperback. 

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