Princess Anne makes this caution to younger royals about ‘reinventing the wheel’

The Princess Royal calls herself the "fuddy-duddy at the back saying, 'don’t forget the basics’!"

Princess Anne

In a rare interview to mark her 70th birthday, Princess Anne has revealed some home truths about her role within the royal family - and what she really thinks about the younger royals.

Princess Anne's interview with Vanity Fair is shows what the royal really thinks about her role within the family.

Perhaps hinting at the recent tumultuous times within the Royal Family, which saw Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle leave ‘The Firm’ to carve out progressive new roles for themselves overseas, the Princess Royal describes herself“the boring old fuddy-duddy at the back saying ‘don’t forget the basics’.”

The interview actually took placeon the same day that it was announced publicly that Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, was separating from his Canadian-born wife, Autumn. Anne declined to comment on the news in the interview.

Princess Anne told interviewer Katie Nicholl, “I don’t think this younger generation probably understands what I was doing in the past and it’s often true, isn’t it?

MORE:Princess Anne’s reaction to being mistaken for her brother Prince Charles was hilarious

“You don’t necessarily look at the previous generation and say, ‘oh, you did that?’ or, ‘you went there?’

“Nowadays they’re much more looking for ‘oh, let’s do it a new way’. And I’m already at the stage [of] ‘please do not reinvent that particular wheel'.

"We’ve been there, done that. Some of these things don’t work. You may need to go back to basics.”

Anne has often been described as the hardest working royal, carrying out the most engagements per year of all the royals year after year. The royal represents more than 300 charities and military organisations. Last year alone, she carried out more than 500 engagements.

When speaking of whether she would soon retire, the Princess Royal was quick to dismiss the idea.

“I don’t think retirement is quite the same [for me],” she told Vanity Fair.

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“Most people would say we’re very lucky not to be in that situation because you wouldn’t want to just stop.”

So what would hardworking Anne be, if she hadn’t been a Princess? An engineer, actually!"

“The practicalities of how things work, I think, was always interesting as far as I was concerned," she explained in the interview. "But I think it was a little bit early in the sort of scheme of things to have gone down that route.”

Wishing you a very happy birthday, Anne!

Lauren Hughes
Lauren Hughes

Lauren is deputy editor at woman&home.com in the UK and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has worked on the woman&home brand for four years. Before woman&home Lauren worked across a variety of women's lifestyle titles, including GoodTo, Woman's Own, and Woman magazine. After starting out working for a local paper in Yorkshire, her journalism career took her to Bristol where she hunted out stories for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant.


Lauren loves helping people share their stories, bringing experiences to life online, honing her interview techniques with everyone from authors to celebrities, headteachers to local heroes. As well as having a good nose for a story, Lauren has a passion for the English language and years of experience optimizing digital content to reach the widest audience possible. During her time at w&h, Lauren has worked on big brand campaigns like the Amazing Women Awards and assisted in developing w&h expert-approved Buyer's Guides—the place to go if you're looking to splash out on an important purchase and want some trusted advice. In addition to her journalism career, Lauren also has a background in copywriting for prestigious brands such as Inhabit Hotel, eco-development K'in in Tulum, social enterprise The Goldfinger Factory and leading London architect Holland Harvey, using language in all its glorious forms, from detailed guidebooks to snappy social content. 


A big fan of adventure, Lauren is also a keen travel writer and loves sharing tips on where to find the best places to eat, drink, and be merry off the beaten track. Lauren has written a series of travel guides for London hotels and loves sharing her insights into a destination's cultural and culinary offerings. If you need a recommendation on any UK destination, she's more than happy to help. At the weekend, you'll usually find her hanging out with her pet cat (or anyone else's pet she can get her hands on), escaping to the countryside, or devouring a good book. 


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