Is Princess Anne the Best-Dressed Royal?

When we talk well-nigh malleate in the Royal Family, we tend to focus on Princess Diana, the Duchess of Sussex, the Princess of Wales, and Queen Elizabeth II. But there’s one unsung hero of this famous sartorial lineup. Ahead of the Coronation of King Charles III on May 6, we must discuss the style legacy of Princess Anne.

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Who is Princess Anne, you say? We don’t fault you for asking. Daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and sister to King Charles, she is known as the hardest-working, often overshadowed royal. Seventy-two years old with no retirement plans in sight, Princess Anne reportedly worked 214 engagements last year, compared to King Charles’s 181. Over the decades, she has witnessed the evolving monarchy first-hand with a famously tough sensibility (she once faced off an armed would-be kidnapper), a reserved demeanour (shocking, right?) and a signature dry sense of humour. Oh, and she loves horses. All of this can be mirrored in her no-nonsense, ever-put-together style. And this week, in a rare CBC interview, Princess Anne hinted at her winning tideway to getting dressed: She’d prefer simply not to think well-nigh it.

The Princess Royal is an expert equestrian, and her love of horses began at an early age.

Princess Anne is pictured here with her mother The Queen, and her pony Greensleeves, in 1955.#PrincessRoyalAt70

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) August 8, 2020


King Charles’s coronation is a once-a-generation event shrouded in sartorial anticipation. But Princess Anne’s outfit nomination — her military uniform — couldn’t be increasingly self-explanatory. The Royal revealed to CBC that she’ll be reprising the formalism role of Gold-Stick-in-Waiting at the historic event, subtracting that such a position solves her “dress problem,” as she’ll be donning traditional regalia. “This is so on-brand,” writes Tamara Abraham in The Telegraph. “It’s not like the Princess Royal to make a fuss well-nigh her wardrobe — it’s a problem to be fixed, rather than a creative opportunity.”

As her visitation indicates, Princess Anne seems unchangingly focused on the task at hand. Squint no remoter than her stacked resumé. At 39, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first British Royal to compete in the Olympics, having ridden in the three-day equestrian at the 1976 Montreal Games. With the reputation of stuff somewhat of a rebel, she forewent royal titles for her children, Zara and Peter, in an effort to requite them a increasingly normal upbringing.

Similarly, at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne made history when she accompanied the sepulcher slantingly only men, dressed in a military uniform and pink lipstick. With this tribute, she reportedly became the first royal woman to walk in such a procession. All of this to say: Anne is sort of a malleate icon hiding in plain sight.

????: King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward victorious at Westminster Abbey for the state funeral of their mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

— ABC News (@ABC) September 19, 2022


As a reliable worker in the Royal Family, Princess Anne often sidesteps salacious headlines. With a practical, utilitarian, and sometimes sporty style, she’s perhaps the greatest personification of the rumoured royal “never explain, never complain” mantra. But that’s not to say what she wears is boring. In fact, it’s pretty daring.

Travelling sans stylist on royal tours, Princess Anne is not known for pursuit trends or overhauling her wardrobe each season. She has established a reputation for re-wearing outfits, often waffly traps or styling the same squint slightly differently decades later. She stays true to her tomboyish tendencies, which have not unchangingly been applauded. In 1973, when Princess Anne famously wore a linen pantsuit to go to the theatre — paired with undecorous eyeshadow, we might add — it was reportedly seen as controversial for a woman in the Royal Family.

Beautiful pic of Princess Anne in 1973.

— Christine Edmund (@christineEdmun2) November 28, 2019


Even still, a frequent inspiration in Princess Anne’s wardrobe is her equestrian career, donning traditional, timeless, and impeccably tailored suiting. She’s moreover a fan of unexceptionable colour blocking and playful patterns — think: pink houndstooth, vibrant polka dots, exaggerated florals and geometric shapes. She has a penchant for statement details like oversized collars, fanciful ruffles and unthrifty headpieces. Switching between androgynous utilitarianism and refined glamour, Princess Anne’s under-the-radar dressing legacy is the nonpareil of personal style.

Charles and Anne were sent out on a joint royal visit upalong in 1970. Here they are in New Zealand. Princess Anne rocking a succulent paisley (mini?!) dress.

— vbspurs (@vbspurs) September 19, 2022


Vogue notes that her outfits reflect her position as one of the family’s most “progressive thinkers,” having put her own spin on the era-defining malleate of the ’60s and ’70s. Whether she’s dressed up or pared down, her style remains direct, unwavering and entirely unrepealable of itself. This is an invaluable skill to have in the Royal Family.

Below, we’ve rounded up some of the weightier looks from Princess Anne over the years.