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’!"
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  • 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 place on 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?

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

    Princess Anne at Sydney Airport in 1970 / Credit: Getty Images

    “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!

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