She's famously low-key, but Princess Anne's 1973 wedding was anything but

 

By Monique Jessen
November 14, 2020 09:00 AM
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Princess Anne and Mark Phillips on their wedding day on Nov 14, 1973
| Credit: PA Images via Getty

Princess Anne married Mark Phillips on this day, 47 years ago.

On November 14, 1973, Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter married Mark Phillips, a lieutenant in the Army during a lavish wedding ceremony watched around the world.

As the first of the Queen and Prince Philip’s four children to marry, there was much fanfare around the day, which saw crowds line the streets around Westminster Abbey and was watched by an estimated 500 million people.

Wearing a high-necked Tudor-style dress with trumpet sleeves and a seven-foot train, the royal bride accessorized with a tiara of sentimental value – it was the exact same one worn by her mother on her own wedding day back in 1947. The Queen Mary Fringe tiara made in 1919 was once again worn by Anne’s niece Princess Beatrice for her recent July nuptials.

Princess Anne on her wedding day
| Credit: PA Images via Getty
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's wedding
| Credit: Popperfoto/Getty

With her brother Prince Edward as pageboy and cousin Lady Sarah-Armstrong Jones (daughter to Princess Margaret) by her side, the service and balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace was covered during an eight-hour BBC broadcast and the day was declared a national holiday.

The couple met at a horse-riding event in Mexico City in 1968 and their engagement was announced in May 1973. Following the official photocall in May when Anne showed off her sapphire and diamond engagement ring, the royal fiancée was asked if marriage could withstand the pressure of public duty, to which she famously quipped: “Can? It’s got to, hasn’t it?”

They went on to have two children, Peter, born in 1977 and Zara, in 1981 and settled at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, a Grade-II listed manor house set in 730 acres of parkland that was gifted to her by the Queen and where she still lives today.

Princess Anne with her children, Peter and Zara
| Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty

Amid reports of an affair with her personal bodyguard Sergeant Peter Cross and the discovery of love letters from naval officer Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence (the Queen’s former equerry), the couple divorced in April 1992, becoming the second royal couple to do so during the 20th century (the first was Margaret and Lord Snowdon). It later emerged that Phillips had also fathered a daughter during their almost 20-year marriage.

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Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence at their wedding in December 1992
| Credit: Shutterstock

In December 1992, Anne married Laurence, while Phillips married Hawaii-born U.S Olympic equestrian Sandy Pflueger in 1997, with whom he had a third daughter.