A no-fuss royal: Why Princess Anne’s profile could be on the rise


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The rain was pouring down, however Princess Anne carried on, making a speech and waving off the supply of an umbrella to protect her from the components.

Watching that unfold, as Anne visited Canadian Forces Base Borden north of Toronto throughout a personal go to a number of years in the past, Col. Andrew Downes was struck by her fortitude.

“She stood there in the rain and gave her speech. And I believed, wow, that is fairly stoic and fairly devoted,” Downes recalled in an interview this week.

Such sentiments are sometimes connected to Anne, the 72-year-old youthful sister of King Charles, who has lengthy been recognized for her no-fuss, down-to-royal-business perspective.

Often described as one in every of — if not the — hardest-working royals, there’s a sense her profile is rising as Charles shapes the monarchy going ahead from the demise of his mom, Queen Elizabeth, in September.

Princess Anne greets representatives of the Opportunity Bank in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda on Oct. 26. (Opportunity International UK/Reuters)

Charles has lengthy been thought to favour a slimmed-down core of working royals. Fate has additionally contributed to a shrinking roster of senior royals obtainable for public duties, with Prince Harry stepping again from the higher echelons of the household and Prince Andrew out of the public image after his fame sank like a stone over his friendship with the late convicted intercourse offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Indeed, that entire situation left one thing of a conundrum over simply which senior royals may be obtainable and allowed to face in for Charles if wanted for official duties.

That is being resolved proper now, as laws permitting Anne and her youthful brother, Prince Edward, to be added to the listing of those that can act as counsellors of state is working its approach by way of the U.Okay. Parliament (extra on that beneath).

“I believe she is going to be somebody who very a lot can characterize the King, and I believe folks would be completely happy for her to come back and go to as a result of such is her standing,” Craig Prescott, a constitutional knowledgeable at Bangor University in Wales, mentioned in an interview.

“I believe the counsellor of state [situation] reveals once more as the Royal Family has change into smaller, somebody like Anne finally ends up with maybe a bit of bit extra to do and reveals her standing inside the household.”

Princess Anne has visited Canada greater than 20 occasions. The first journey got here in 1970, when she accompanied Charles and their mother and father, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, as they visited the Northwest Territories and Manitoba. One significantly high-profile go to got here in 1976, when Anne competed for the British equestrian crew at the Montreal Olympics.

Princess Anne mingles with the crowd on May 4, 1971, as she formally opened the new Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island’s west coast. (Bill Croke/The Canadian Press)

While a few of Anne’s visits have been official and concerned extra public occasions, many have been non-public and concerned organizations or regiments for which she is patron or colonel-in-chief.

In that 2013 go to to Base Borden, she met Royal Canadian Medical Service (RCMS) personnel at the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre and introduced the Princess Royal’s banner in recognition of the service of RCMS members in Afghanistan over the earlier 11 years.

Downes, now a retired main basic, thought it was very “humble” of Anne to remain in the barracks throughout her time there. “I believe she’s a sensible particular person, and I do not assume she’s pretentious,” he mentioned. 

Downes additionally recalled a reception held for her. 

“She went round and spoke to everyone there, and I simply cannot think about how tiring that will need to have been,” Downes mentioned. “I got here away … with lots of respect for her and her type.”

Several peopel attend a flag-raising ceremony.
Princess Anne attends the British flag-raising ceremony held at the athletes village forward of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver on Feb. 11, 2010. (Getty Images)

Fast ahead to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, and Downes — by then the head of the RCMS, along with his function as surgeon basic and commander of the Health Services Group — was listening to from Anne once more.

“She contacted me really simply to see what was occurring,” Downes mentioned. “At that point in the U.Okay., the British army had been establishing area hospitals at numerous locations in London and so on, and she or he was curious to know if we had been doing one thing comparable right here.”

Anne additionally despatched a word on Buckingham Palace letterhead to the RCMS and members of the Canadian Health Services Group extending her gratitude for his or her “enduring dedication, professionalism and braveness.”

Downes sees such actions as a morale booster.

“I believe oftentimes folks do their job with out a lot recognition or they do not cease to … have any person give phrases of encouragement and issues like that,” he mentioned. 

Princess Anne watches as the coffin of her mom, Queen Elizabeth, is taken to a hearse because it departs St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh on Sept. 13. (Jacob King/The Associated Press)

While there isn’t a indication when Anne could return to Canada, she has made a number of journeys in the previous couple of months, together with visits to New York City, Uganda and the Falklands. There, she and her husband, Tim Laurence, marked the fortieth anniversary of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina over the south Atlantic islands.

That Falklands trip factors to the chance she is going to be taking on extra higher-profile actions. 

“Perhaps which may have been one thing that one other member of the Royal Family may need executed,” Prescott mentioned. “Had issues been completely different, it may need been applicable for Prince Andrew to have executed it,” he added, noting that Andrew served in the British Royal Navy throughout the 1982 battle. 

Whatever profile Anne does have going ahead, there may be little to counsel she is going to waver from her no-fuss strategy.

“When you consider the monarchy and you consider stability and continuity, actually on a day-to-day foundation, it’s folks like Princess Anne who … present that,” Prescott mentioned.

WATCH | Princess Anne talks about the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in 2016: 

Princess Anne speaks with the CBC’s Chris O’Neill Yates on the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel

More stand-ins for the King

Four people walk in line in for a remembrance ceremony.
King Charles, centre entrance, Prince Edward, rear left, Prince William, centre, and Princess Anne, proper, attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London on Nov. 13. (Isabel Infantes/Reuters)

The identical day King Charles marked his 74th birthday, he let it be recognized simply how he wished to resolve the constitutional conundrum that had arisen round who may stand in for him if he is not obtainable to hold out some official duties.

As issues stand underneath U.Okay. legislation, the counsellors of state who’re eligible to face in for the monarch if he is unwell or overseas are the monarch’s partner and the subsequent 4 relations in the line of succession who’re older than 21 (aside from the inheritor, who has to be 18).

Prince Harry and Prince Andrew are on that listing. But Harry stepped again from official duties and resides in California. Andrew additionally stepped again from public duties in the fallout after his disastrous interview over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.

Charles despatched a message to the House of Lords on Nov. 14 asking that the pool of counsellors of state be expanded to incorporate his sister, Princess Anne, and his brother, Prince Edward, each of whom held the function years in the past, earlier than they had been bumped down in the line of succession.

“They’re attempting to do that in the easiest method attainable, in a approach that causes as little controversy as attainable,” Prescott mentioned.

Discussion about formally dropping Andrew and Harry as counsellors of state didn’t go wherever — they are going to stay on the listing, however with a wider pool, Charles can have others to select from.

King Charles, left, and Princess Anne arrive at St. George’s Chapel inside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, on Sept. 19. (Justin Setteerfield/AFP/Getty Images)

The addition of Anne and Edward mirrors what occurred in 1953, when Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, grew to become a counsellor of state, Prescott mentioned.

The laws has been fast-tracked and made its approach by way of the House of Lords. Remaining phases are attributable to happen on Dec. 1 in the House of Commons.

While including Anne and Edward will take away the uncertainty that has hung over the subject, it would not totally resolve the query of making certain there’s a extensive sufficient pool of relations who can stand in for the monarch in the long run.

“If the monarchy continues to slim down with members of the Royal Family not conducting public duties and them not being changed by youthful royals … we [may] find yourself in a scenario maybe in 20 years’ time the place we simply have King William and Queen Catherine and their three youngsters and perhaps their spouses,” Prescott mentioned.

“Princess Anne will be in her 90s by that time … there will not be the Duke of Kent, there will not be the Duke of Gloucester, so we could need to revisit this in some unspecified time in the future in the future.”

A uncommon royal honour for a Canadian

The electronic mail landed in Margaret MacMillan’s inbox a number of weeks in the past marked “excessive precedence” and requested that she please name a quantity.

“I known as this quantity and it mentioned ‘Buckingham Palace,’ and I believed, what’s this about?” the Canadian creator and historian mentioned over Zoom the different day from London.

“And they put me by way of to the King’s non-public secretary, who advised me about it and I kind of babbled. And he mentioned, ‘Well, are you going to simply accept it?’ And I mentioned, ‘Yes.'”

That was “sure” to accepting an appointment to the Order of Merit, a private present from the monarch based by King Edward VII in 1902. It honours those that have made “exceptionally meritorious service to the Crown, in armed companies or in direction of the development of arts, literature and science.”

MacMillan was at Buckingham Palace on Thursday to obtain the award, and was amongst six new members of the Order who had been named by Charles earlier this month. The Order is restricted to 24 members, and the people appointed by Charles had been chosen by Queen Elizabeth in early September, shortly earlier than her demise.

A large group of people in a room with a large chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
King Charles, entrance row centre, sits with members of the Order of Merit at Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday. Among the members are Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan, again row second from left, and former prime minister Jean Chrétien, entrance row second from left. (Aaron Chown/AFP/Getty Images)

MacMillan’s first thought on studying of her appointment was “I do not consider it.”

“It’s fairly one thing. And then I kind of thought, that is unbelievable. I by no means would have anticipated this. And I believed again to my childhood [in Toronto] … which was a very long time in the past now. And I believed, you realize, who would have thought?

“And then … I went, in fact, instantly to Wikipedia” and checked out the listing of previous and current members of the Order, she mentioned. “And I had even a higher sense of disbelief, fairly frankly, as a result of, you realize, there’s been some wonderful folks over the years.”

Among them are Florence Nightingale, composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, former British prime minister Winston Churchill, poet T.S. Eliot and, extra lately, naturalist David Attenborough, industrial designer James Dyson and artist David Hockney.

MacMillan’s great-grandfather, former British prime minister David Lloyd George, was additionally a member of the Order — one thing she didn’t know till she regarded up the historical past of the Order after her nomination.

Four different Canadians have been or are members, together with three former prime ministers. 

Two people shake hands.
Gov. Gen, Julie Payette, proper, promotes MacMillan to Companion of the Order of Canada throughout a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on May 10, 2018. (David Kawai/The Canadian Press)

“Of course, Jean Chrétien is a member,” MacMillan mentioned. “So it is a rare group of individuals each in the previous and current.”

History has been at the coronary heart of MacMillan’s profession — as a professor in Canada (University of Toronto and Toronto Metropolitan University) and in the U.Okay. (Oxford), and as an acclaimed creator of titles together with Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. That e book gained the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction in 2003.

“I’ve all the time thought historical past is essential and … inasmuch as historical past is being acknowledged right here, I’m more than happy about it,” she mentioned. 

“The kind of questions we ask about the previous are sometimes affected by the current. How did we get right here and why have we obtained a conflict in Europe once more at a time when everybody thought that conflict was one thing that Europe would not do once more? Here we’re, and I believe historical past will assist give us some perspective. It will not give us a lot consolation, perhaps, however it should assist give us some perspective and a few hope.”

Knowing that her appointment would have been one in every of the final choices Queen Elizabeth made is “fairly transferring,” MacMillan mentioned.

“To assume that she really knew my identify and accepted my membership of the Order is fairly humbling.”

A person laughs while talking to another person in a large room with paintings on the walls.
King Charles, left, talks with artist David Hockney throughout a luncheon for members of the Order of Merit at Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday. (Aaron Chown/The Associated Press)

Media studies on the new appointees highlighted that the group becoming a member of the Order with MacMillan is extra ethnically various, with 4 of the six members from ethnic minorities. 

“I believe that is an excellent factor. It ought to replicate British society and the differing types of issues that folks in British society are doing,” she mentioned.

As a lot as MacMillan is humbled and honoured by her appointment, she additionally had a extra prosaic consideration about her go to to Buckingham Palace: Would she want a hat?

The reply was sure. 

“I imply, the British have hats, which you’ll be able to solely purchase right here and you’ll solely put on right here, and also you by no means put on them wherever else in the world. But anyway, I’ve obtained my hat. I’m going to have to seek out one other approach of carrying it someplace.”

Royally quotable

“We should acknowledge the wrongs which have formed our previous if we’re to unlock the energy of our frequent future.”

— King Charles, in a speech throughout the first state go to of his reign. Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, welcomed South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for the go to in London.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, left, speaks with King Charles throughout a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London on Tuesday. (Aaron Chown/Getty Images)

Royal reads

  1. The Prince of Wales has addressed the controversy surrounding his World Cup allegiances after Welsh followers criticized his go to to the England crew. [ITV]

  2. A man charged with breach of the peace after Prince Andrew was allegedly heckled as he walked behind the Queen’s coffin is not going to face courtroom, prosecutors have mentioned. [The Guardian]

  3. Camilla, the Queen Consort, says it was “a pleasure” to rehome Paddington Bears with youngsters at an east London nursery, after hundreds had been left in tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth. Camilla has additionally paid tribute to her “drastically missed” mother-in-law in her first speech in the function of Queen Consort. [BBC]

A person sits with a teddy bear on their lap as another person reads a story to children sitting in front of them.
Camilla, the Queen Consort, centre, attends a particular teddy bears picnic at a Barnardo’s Nursery in London on Thursday. Camilla delivered Paddington Bears and different cuddly toys that had been left as tributes to Queen Elizabeth at royal residences to youngsters supported by the charity. (Arthur Edwards/The Associated Press)

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