Princess Anne proves a chip off the old block with witty comments – and it’s a sign of how relaxed she feels doing her duties

She might be the Princess Royal, but she should be crowned the queen of the one-liner

Princess Anne witty
(Image credit: Joshua Sammer/Getty Images)

Princess Anne has proven she’s inherited the famously quick, sarcastic and biting wit for which both of her parents were renowned. While the late Queen Elizabeth II’s sharp wit was something of a well-known secret – with Her Majesty rarely liable to slip up her stoic demeanour in public – Prince Philip’s gaffes and quips are stuff of legend. Princess Anne’s recent engagement saw her make several quippy one-liners – even at slightly unconventional times – proving she can put people at ease and create a relaxed bond.

Princess Anne showcased her notoriously dry sense of humour while on a recent engagement, and her royal biographer explains it’s actually the Princess Royal’s way of showing affection and relaxation.

Princess Anne’s recent engagement included a visit to St James' Cemetery in Dover on the Kent coast, during which she was shown a selection of recently restored graves.

While taking a tour of the tombs – which honour soldiers who died in combat before the First World War – Anne was stopped and directed to Sergeant Major Wooden’s grave.

The Sergeant Major was undoubtedly heroic - being awarded the Victoria Cross for saving the life of a soldier during the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, during the Crimean War – but he had a rather tragic end.

Princess Anne was informed during her visit that the was a “bit of a drunkard” who accidentally shot himself in the head as he tried, and failed, to dislodge a painful tooth.

The sharp-thinking Princess didn’t miss a beat after being told the somewhat awkward story, remarking that he had actually taken the “ultimate painkiller.”

Princess Anne witty

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It wasn’t the only moment the Princess Royal managed to keep conversation going after an uncomfortable story.

Another soldier in the memorial site - Gunner Andrew McDowell - was blown apart by a cannon. The soldier had been sitting directly in the line of fire of the new 42-pound cannon, which someone had misheard an order and believed they had been told to fire up.

After the accidental firing, residents found his severed arm, but it was Anne who made a practical point about how he’s been honoured. Studying his recently restored grave, she commented, “It's almost adding insult to injury putting a gun on there, isn't it?”

Princess Anne witty Princess Anne takes her duties seriously, but she uses well-timed humour to show affection, according to a biographer who knows the Princess Royal

(Image credit: Getty Images)

These quips - while some might suggest seem flippant - are just Anne’s way of showing affection and fostering a good environment while committing to her duties, according to her official biographer.

Brian Hoey, who published HRH The Princess Anne in 1984, recalls attending various engagements with the royal.

Brian revealed that Princess Anne mostly shares jokes with people she likes. “When she made a joke about you, she said that as a term of affection. She would never make a joke about any stranger, only about somebody she was comfortable with.”

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.