Mark Phillips angered by Anne’s rumoured relationship with protection officer: ‘Hurtful’


Mark Phillips reportedly admitted he was hurt by the rumours but said he had to “take these things in your stride” as the significant other of a member of the Royal Family.

It has been reported that Mark found some rumours particularly “hurtful”. Mark was said to be angered by rumours that Anne had become become “overly familiar” with her royal protection officer, Peter Cross, who was subsequently transferred away from royal duties.

The Sun’s late royal reporter Harry Arnold previously said: “I was told from an amazing source he [Mr Cross] was having an affair with Princess Anne.

“I couldn’t use the word ‘affair’, so I invented the phrase that he became ‘over-familiar’ with Princess Anne.”

Princess Anne, Mark Phillips and Peter Cross in 1980

Anne was rumoured to be ‘over familiar’ with her protection officer, Peter Cross (Image: Getty Images / PA Images)

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

Anne and Mark were married in 1973 but divorced after 19 years of marriage in 1992 (Image: Getty Images)

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In 2020, the Daily Mail reported that, by 1980, Mark had become angered by rumours of the relationship.

The Sun reported that he had branded the allegations of an affair “rubbish and fantasy,” but added: “Nevertheless, they are hurtful. You’ve just got to be able to take these things in your stride.”

Then 37-year-old Mr Cross was married with two children; his “unusual” bond with the Princess Royal was noted by his wife, Linda.

She said: “He couldn’t resist women and they couldn’t resist him. Over the years of our marriage I had two of his girlfriends weeping on our front door.

“But with Princess Anne it was different. It was obvious he was playing with fire there and could get seriously burnt.”

Princess Anne, Mark Phillips and Peter Cross

Anne’s rumoured relationship with Peter Cross angered Mark Phillips (Image: Getty Images)

Mark also had an affair during his and Anne’s marriage and even had a secret child with another woman. In 1991, Heather Tonkin, an art teacher from New Zealand, told the Daily Express the former Army officer fathered her daughter Felicity five years before.

She said: “My ambition is to get Mark’s public acceptance of her and to be able to enter his name on her birth certificate.”

Mark initially denied the claim but it was soon revealed that he had been making payments ‒ a total of £6,000 per year ‒ to Ms Tonkin under the guise of hiring her as a consultant on “equestrian matters”.

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

Both Anne and Mark allegedly engaged in extramarital affairs (Image: Getty Images)

The same year Mark and Anne divorced, the Princess married her second husband Sir Timothy Laurence. Sir Timothy is a retired Royal Navy oficer who was equerry to the Queen.

The couple met while Anne was still married to her first husband, Mark. In 1989, The Sun published private letters between the Princess and Sir Timothy.

In a statement at the time, Buckingham Palace said: “The stolen letters were addressed to the Princess Royal by Commander Timothy Laurence, the Queen’s Equerry.

“We have nothing to say about the contents of personal letters sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend which were stolen and which are the subject of a police investigation.”

Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence

Anne and Timothy have been married since 1992 (Image: Getty Images)

Mark married equestrienne Sandy Pflueger in 1997, but they split in 2012. Their daughter, Stephanie, got married earlier this year, an event which saw Princess Anne and Mark reunite.

The Princess Royal watched her former husband walk his daughter down the aisle at St Mary The Virgin Church in Tetbury. Anne and Mark were joined by their two children and Stephanie’s half-siblings, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, as well as their grandchildren Savannah, 11, and Isla, ten, Mia, eight, and Lena, four, who all acted as Stephanie’s bridesmaids.

It has been reported that Mark is now dating Belgian equestrian Florence Standaert.


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