Princess Anne branded ‘perfect’ spare after Harry expressed concern over role in Firm


Princess Anne managed to make a major contribution to the Firm despite her “peripheral” role in the line of succession, a royal author said.

Zara Tindall says her mother Princess Anne is her ‘role model’

Princess Anne has been described as the “perfect” spare by a leading royal biographer. Despite being the second child of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II, the Princess Royal became more and more distant from the throne following the birth of her brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, as at the time the male-preference primogeniture was regulating the line of succession.

Nevertheless, she managed to find her own position in the Firm and make a considerable contribution to both the country and the Crown over the decades, royal author Robert Hardman said.

Discussing the position and roles of spares in the Royal Family, Mr Hardman – author of Queen of Our Times – told The Times: “Anne is the spare emerita — she’s perfect.

“She became increasingly spare when her two younger brothers came along, but was quite happy with that situation.

“She never wanted any preferment — she saw the perils of royalty. She is an example of how, even if you are clearly earmarked for a peripheral role, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a contribution.”

Mr Hardman, who followed the Princess Royal around the country to create the ITV documentary marking Anne’s 70th birthday in 2020, added the Queen’s daughter saw the royal titles as “an unnecessary burden” for her children.

Princess Anne in a teal hat and outfit

Princess Anne was hailed for her supportive role in the Firm (Image: GETTY)

Princess Anne walking next to King Charles

Princess Anne is the only sister of King Charles (Image: GETTY)

In fact, she chose against the Queen bestowing upon either Peter Phillips or Zara Tindall any royal title.

Speaking about this choice, Princess Anne told Vanity Fair three years ago: “I think it was probably easier for [Zara and Peter], and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles. So I think that was probably the right thing to do.”

The feelings Anne harboured regarding the possible burden titles could have been for her children “did nothing to dim her sense of duty”, Mr Hardman added.

Rather, the Princess Royal has grown to regularly be counted as one of the hardest-working members of the Royal Family when considering the days worked and the number of engagements carried out in a year.

Discussing how Anne came to be such an efficient member of the Firm, the author added: “You need solid parental guidance — Anne was helped a lot by Prince Philip — and you mustn’t read too much of your press.

Princess Anne looking at King Charles

Princess Anne and King Charles walked side by side during the Queen’s funeral procession (Image: GETTY)

Five jaw-dropping moments from Prince Harry’s back-to-back weekend of interviews

Prince Harry has unloaded a host of new explosive allegations against the Royal Family.

Prince William, King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, all featured in his interviews with 60 Minutes and ITV.

The royal has embarked on media rounds as the world anticipates his book “Spare”.

From branding Queen Camilla as “dangerous” to the last time Harry spoke with Prince William, here are the top five moments from the Duke of Sussex’s interviews.

Princess Anne smiling

Princess Anne is one of the hardest-working members of the Firm (Image: GETTY)

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis waving

Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are the younger siblings of Prince George (Image: GETTY)

“It’s also wise not to take on too many charitable patronages: focus on where you can make a difference”

Since her early years as a working royal, Anne started being a hands-on patron with charities she backed.

Most notably, she has worked closely with Save the Children UK for more than five decades, travelling around the world with the organisation to see the help needed, support its initiatives and shine a light on its cause.

Mr Hardman’s comment on Anne comes after Prince Harry expressed in no uncertain terms his feelings about the role the second child in a family like his has in his view.

In his book, released on January 10 and titled Spare, the Duke wrote: “I was the shadow, the support, the Plan B. I was brought into the world in case something happened to Willy. I was summoned to provide back-up, distraction, diversion and, if necessary, a spare part. Kidney, perhaps. Blood transfusion. Speck of bone marrow.”

Copies of the book Spare

Prince Harry’s book was released on January 10 (Image: GETTY)

In a recent interview with the Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon, the Duke of Sussex also said he worries for the other “spares” in the Royal Family, openly referring to Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

He said: “As I know full well, within my family, if it’s not us, it’s going to be someone else.

“And though William and I have talked about it once or twice, and he has made it very clear to me that his kids are not my responsibility, I still feel a responsibility knowing that out of those three children, at least one will end up like me, the spare. And that hurts, that worries me.”

Unlike Princess Anne, Princess Charlotte did not slip down the line of succession following the birth of Louis, as in 2013 the Succession to the Crown Act replaced the male-preference primogeniture with absolute primogeniture.


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