Princess Anne’s history-making moment that would’ve made Prince Philip proud

Princess Anne’s history-making moment happened at Westminster Abbey and it might’ve been especially meaningful for her father

Princess Anne’s history-making moment revealed. Seen here she's inspecting troops in Hyde Park
(Image credit: Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Princess Anne’s history-making moment back might not be known to everyone but it likely made her late father Prince Philip very proud.  

As one of the hardest-working royals the Princess Royal has continued to showcase her unwavering dedication since King Charles ascended the throne. From Princess Anne’s prestigious role restored to her to undertaking plenty of recent UK and overseas visits, her schedule and remit are as full as ever. Though it was during one of her off-duty moments that she once marked a historic milestone. Princess Anne’s history-making moment came in 1973 as she tied the knot with her first husband Captain Mark Phillips in a ceremony watched on TV by approximately 500 million.

Just like at her nephew Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding 38 years later, the Princess Royal got married at Westminster Abbey. And the surname she used when she signed the marriage register was incredibly significant- particularly for her father. 

The wedding of Princess Anne to Mark Phillips

(Image credit: Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

According to the Royal Family website, she signed it with the surname Mountbatten-Windsor. Although this might not sound important, this marked the first time where this particular name appeared on an official document. The surname Mountbatten comes from the Battenberg family and was the surname of the late Prince Philip.

His marriage to Queen Elizabeth marked the union of the Mountbatten and Windsor families. However, when she became monarch in 1952, it was her name of Windsor that was confirmed as the Royal Family surname. 

As revealed by the BBC, Prince Philip was reportedly not particularly thrilled by this decision and allegedly declared, “I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his children! I'm nothing but a bloody amoeba!"

command portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh

(Image credit: Bettmann via Getty)

A compromise was eventually reached in 1960 when it was determined in a declaration that the Queen’s descendants who didn’t hold the title of Prince or Princess or an HRH style could use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor. Given the Duke of Edinburgh’s supposed eagerness to pass his own surname on to his and the Queen’s children, Princess Anne’s history-making moment was perhaps very special to him. 

Not only did she use this surname Mountbatten-Windsor but she was also the one who set it down in print on an official document for the first time. Today the most famous members of the immediate and extended Royal Family to have the surname Mountbatten-Windsor are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children Archie and Lilibet.  

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor

(Image credit: Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

Lady Louise Windsor’s full name is technically Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor too. But whilst Princess Anne made history when she used the surname officially on her first wedding day as the Princess Royal and someone with an HRH title it’s not a name she uses regularly. She is understood to have had a close relationship with Prince Philip and in her statement following his death in 2021, she remarked upon his extraordinary "example".  

"My father has been my teacher, my supporter and my critic, but mostly it is his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate," she declared.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!