Princess Anne’s very forward-thinking reason for not accepting titles for Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips

The Princess Royal once shared how knowing 'where they sit' within the Royal Family helped her make this huge decision about her children...

Princess Anne's very forward-thinking reason revealed, seen here side-by-side with Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips at different occasions
(Image credit: Future// Image 1: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images// Image 2: Photo by Antony Jones/Getty Images For Tusk)

Princess Anne’s very forward-thinking reason for not accepting titles for Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips was once revealed by the senior royal.

When the Princess Royal welcomed her children Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, it’s understood that the late Queen offered to bestow titles upon them. However, Princess Anne declined this generous offer making them the only ones amongst the Queen’s grandchildren not to have titles. And it seems she very much had the future in her sights when she made this life-changing decision. 

Opening up about her choice on the 2020 documentary, Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, she discussed the “expectations” that accompany being royal and how “understanding” where her children sit within the Royal Family was key…

Princess Anne With Tim Laurence And Peter Phillips, Zara Phillips

(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

“As a member of the Royal Family living with that sort of pressure is hard,” Princess Anne confessed to viewers. “And the expectations that come with it is hard and that might have been at the bottom of the list, that it may be less difficult for you.”

It was then that Princess Anne’s very forward-thinking reason for not accepting titles for her children was revealed. And it seems that their future roles within the Royal Family were a huge consideration for the Princess Royal, more so than minimizing the potential pressures.

Princess Anne continued, “But, actually, understanding where they sit within the family and what happens next, it made much more sense.” 

When King Charles III ascended to the throne, Peter and Zara rose up one place in the royal line of succession. However, they are still only 17th and 20th respectively, behind Princess Anne, her brothers and their children and grandchildren.

Princess Anne with her children Peter and Zara and Queen Elizabeth II at the Windsor Horse Show

(Image credit: Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)

For anyone wondering why Princess Anne is 16th in line to the throne despite being the Queen’s second child, this is because she was born when the now-changed law prioritized male heirs over female ones. 

In light of this the choice for Zara and Peter to remain title-less could be seen as one of Princess Anne’s very forward-thinking decisions. Her remarks seem to suggest that her knowledge that her children wouldn’t be working royals inspired her to decide it was better to decline titles for them from the outset, allowing them to live more ordinary lives. 

This definitely seems to have been appreciated by Peter and Zara who got candid on the documentary themselves about their experience growing up without titles.

Peter Phillips and Zara Phillips during the annual Chelsea Flower show

(Image credit: Photo by Eamonn McCormack/WireImage via Getty)

“We were always brought up on the understanding that we were going to have to go to work,” explained Peter. “We were going to have to go out and earn our living, regardless of the fact of who our grandmother was or who our mother was.”

Zara then expressed gratitude for the way Princess Anne had inspired them to “fight harder” to forge their own way in the world. 

“I think it made us fight harder as well. To try and be as successful as we could be. So I definitely, you know, we’re very grateful to not give us a title anyway," she powerfully 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!