Princess Anne reveals why she skipped university

Princess Royal explains the reason she didn't attend lectures like other members of the royal family

Princess Anne skipped university, Princess Royal visits the Valley Gardens in Saltburn-By-The-Sea to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Cleveland Way National Trail on July 19, 2019
(Image credit: Ian Forsyth / Stringer Getty)

Princess Anne has revealed the real reason she skipped university - and it involves Her Majesty the Queen.

Princess Royal failed to attend lectures as she left school aged 18 with average grades and did not pursue further academic goals.

Instead, Anne, now aged 70, who was recently told to de-clutter her home, decided to follow her mother, the Queen on her royal tours, and the real reason why a high education didn't appeal to the Princess has been revealed.

 Speaking in the documentary Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, she spilled, “So many of my contemporaries, when asked why they were going to university, would say, ‘Well basically because that’s what you do.’

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Anne continued to explain, “And I remember thinking really that doesn’t sound like a very good reason to go university, so I thought I would skip that.

“But I also thought that I might have the opportunity to travel with Her Majesty on her tours.

“I did Geography A-level so, for me, it made more sense," she added.

Royal Tours - Prince Charles and Princess Anne (United States 1970)

(Image credit: Doug Griffin / Contributor Getty)

Anne even once referred to the university as a "highly overrated pastime" in the 2002 Channel 4 documentary The Real Princess Anne. At the age of 13, she became the first princess ever to leave the palace to attend an ordinary school - Benenden School for girls in Kent.

According to the headmistress at the time, Anne was so nervous that she was physically sick along the way to school on her first day.

Former pupil, Penny Junor, who was in the year above Anne, told viewers, "I do remember we were all extremely excited about her arrival. Everyone I knew said 'Ooh what's she like' and I said, 'She's just like one of us'. I think Anne really enjoyed being normal - I think she enjoyed the companionship as well."

Despite not enrolling in higher education, Anne was made Chancellor of more than one university. In 1981, she was chosen by graduates of the University of London as its Chancellor after the Queen Mother retired. She is also the Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands and Harper Adams University in Shropshire.

In 2011, she was elected Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, a position that used to belong to her father, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is currently still in the hospital recovering from an infection.

As the second child and only daughter, Anne has been a working royal since entering the public sphere aged 18.

Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 15 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She has covered all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand.