Princess Anne’s life in pictures as Princess Royal celebrates birthday

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Princess Anne is celebrating her 73rd birthday no doubt surrounded by her family, including her five grandchildren.

Since the age of 18, the Princess Royal has dedicated her life to her royal duties, evidenced by the fact that she frequently carries out the most royal engagements out of all the royals each year.

But the mother of two has a lifetime of firsts under her belt, from becoming the first royal to appear on TV to competing in the Olympics.

Here, takes a look back at Anne’s extraordinary life so far.

On August 15, 1950, the late Queen gave birth at Clarence House to Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise at 11:50am.

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The former Monarch and Prince Philip’s only daughter, who weighed exactly six pounds, was welcomed with a 21-gun salute at Hyde Park.

Two months later, she was baptised in the Music Room in Buckingham Palace by the Archbishop of York, Cyril Garbett.

When Anne was nine years old, she became a big sister, with the Royal Family welcoming Prince Andrew in 1960. Four years later, Anne gained another brother, Prince Edward, who was born in 1964.

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Anne studied at Benenden School, a boarding school in Kent, where she gained six GCE O-Levels and two A-Levels.

She began undertaking royal engagements at the age of 18 with her first being when she opened an educational and training centre in Shropshire in 1969.

A year later, she had a brief fling with Andrew Parker Bowles, Queen Camilla’s first husband.

In 1971, the then-21-year-old Princess won gold at the European Eventing Championships on her thoroughbred Doublet, given to her by the Queen. She later won silver in both team and individual disciplines at the same championships.

While at an equestrian circuit, Anne met Captain Mark Phillips, who is also a champion horseback rider.

They announced their engagement in 1973 and married that November at Westminster Abbey, a lavish wedding watched by 500 million people from around the world. Anne wore Queen Mary’s Fringe tiara on the big day, the very same one worn by her mother on her own wedding day.

Anne became the first member of the British Royal Family to compete in the Olympic Games in 1976, taking part as a member of the British Equestrian team, a talent her daughter has inherited.

She and Captain Phillips had two children, their son, Peter, was born in 1981 and their daughter Zara in 1981.

Their marriage was reportedly not a happy one with both rumoured to have had extramarital affairs which came to a head in 1985 when Captain Phillips fathered a child with an art teacher Heather Tonkin.

They eventually separated in 1989 before divorcing in 1992 following years of marital strain. That same year, Anne remarried Sir Timothy Laurence — who worked as an equerry to her mother — at a small ceremony of 30 people in Scotland.

In 1987, Anne became the first member of the Firm to compete on a TV quiz show, taking part in the popular BBC panel game A Question of Sport in celebration of the show’s 200th edition. Many fans particularly enjoyed the moment her teammate, footballer Emlyn Hughes, called her “mate”.

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Anne has had many firsts, unfortunately, not all of them can be worn with a badge of honour. In 2002, she and her husband pleaded guilty to one charge of having a dog dangerously out of control, for which she was fined £500. Her dog, an English bull terrier called Dotty, bit two children who were walking in Windsor Great Park that year.

The mother of two now has five grandchildren who she loves to have fun with as one source told the Daily Mail in 2016: “Anne loves to play games with them, the messier the better. Her influence on the little ones is clearly shown in the fact they’re country girls who love getting filthy and mucking about.”

The Princess Royal, who is involved in more than 300 charities, is regarded as the hardest working royal as she frequently carries out the most number of engagements. According to the Court Circular, the official registry of all royal visits and duties undertaken, Anne carried out 214 royal engagements last year.

Happy Birthday Princess Anne!

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