Princess Anne's hilarious reaction to attempted kidnapper revealed in book

Princess Anne is often reserved but she's fast becoming known as the Princess of sass

 Princess Anne, Princess Royal attends Ladies Day during Royal Ascot 2021 at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2021 in Ascot, England.
(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, is increasingly visible in her life as a working royal. However, there's a lot more to the composed and formal member of the royal family than meets the eye. According to a recent book she's pretty sassy too!

Princess Anne snagged a brand new royal role recently but according to information shared in a brand new book—she ought to be renamed the Princess of sass.

An altercation during an attempted kidnap is detailed in a new book, The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown, from Victoria to Diana. Investigations into the 1974 incident, which occurred while she and her then-husband Captain Mark Phillips were on their way back to Buckingham Palace, were kept confidential for 30 years.


The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown, from Victoria to Diana

The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown, from Victoria to Diana $30(£22) | Amazon 

For the first time, The Secret Royals uncovers the remarkable relationship between the Royal Family and the intelligence community, from the reign of Queen Victoria to the death of Princess Diana.

After Princess Anne's protection officer and driver were shot and wounded by Ian Ball, who was attempting to kidnap the royal for a ransom, he is reported to have said "I want £2M, will you get out of the car?"

Ian, an unemployed laborer who was suffering from mental illness, was trying to persuade her to get into his getaway car. To which the Princess Royal allegedly responded, "Not bloody likely, and I haven’t got £2M." 

She then argued with her would-be kidnapper for a period of time as he shot randomly at onlookers who tried to find out what on earth was going on. 

After time had passed, luck would have it that former heavy-weight boxer Ronald Russell was walking past and he promptly punched Ian in the back of the head. The hapless criminal then absconded into St James' Park where he was eventually apprehended by the police. 

Seemingly Anne's rage was less to do with the crime itself and more to do with a crime against fashion, as the failed kidnapper ripped her dress. After everything happened she reportedly said, "I lost my rag," over her garment being damaged.

The aftermath of Ian Ball's attempt to kidnap Princess Anne, on The Mall, London, 20th March 1974. Ball's white Ford Escort is parked blocking the path of the Princess's Princess IV limousine.

(Image credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Smithsonian, in reference to the event, said, "There were seven men in total who tried to stop Ian Ball, an unemployed laborer from north London, from kidnapping Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter."

"A tabloid journalist, a former boxer, two chauffeurs, and three policemen all faced off against Ball, but it was the princess herself, a force to be reckoned with in her own right, who kept Ball distracted from his goal."

Ronald was presented with a George Cross medal for his bravery and revealed years later that the Queen said to him, The medal is from the Queen of England, the thank you is from Anne’s mother."

Recently, a body language expert claimed that Princess Anne shows her real self with her grandchildren. However, this story and her excellent reaction when she was mistaken for Prince Charles make it seem like she shows her true self when being sassy!

Aoife Hanna


Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.

She's an Irish journalist and writer with over 1500 bylines and a background in creative writing, comedy and TV production.

Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the soon-to-be-published Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.