The bizarre rule that banned Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence's marriage in England

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence's marriage was not permitted to take place in England in 1992 for this interesting reason

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence's marriage
(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert / Contributor / Getty Images)

Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence's marriage has just reached a new milestone as the couple celebrated their thirty-year anniversary.

Thirty years ago today, on December 12, 1992, Princess Anne married Sir Timothy Laurence in Scotland. The couple had been dating for almost three years when they got engaged, but Anne's divorce from her first husband, Mark Phillips, was only completed in 1992. 

The couple had been separated for some time, but as her divorce from her first husband, and marriage to her second husband took place in the same year, some eyebrows were raised. This was particularly touched on in Princess Anne's portrayal in The Crown season five when one episode showed the Princess Royal getting upset after telling the Queen she intends to marry Timothy.

However, the Queen's alleged disapproval of the couple's marriage was not the reason that the Princess nearly didn't wed Timothy. 

In 1992, the Church of England did not allow remarriage after divorce if the former spouse was still alive. This meant that Princess Anne wasn't able to get married in England and was forced to cut around this rule by marrying her fiancee in Scotland. This was the first time that a child of the monarch was remarried after divorce and did go against the rules in place by the church at the time. As of 2002, the rules have now changed and become more open to people getting remarried after a divorce. 

Princess Anne

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Princess Anne and Timothy's wedding was small and took place at Crathie Kirk near the Balmoral estate. This is the church that the Royal Family frequents when they stay in Balmoral for extended periods. 

The couple kept the service relatively small and only invited 30 guests, most of whom were immediate members of the family. The couple then had a reception at Craigowan Lodge, a property located on the Balmoral estate and just one mile from the main castle. The Lodge is the property that the Queen and Prince Philip would often stay in ahead of their main stay at Balmoral Castle.

For her second wedding dress, Princess Anne opted for a shorter white midi dress which she layered a white jacket on top of. The Princess Royal also wore white flowers clipped into her hair and carried a small bouquet of heather. 

Princess Anne

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Princess Royal and Timothy have now been married for thirty years and reside happily in the Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire. 

The Princess' two children, Peter and Zara, also live close by with their children - Anne's grandchildren. Zara and Mike Tindall live with their three children, Mia, Lena, and Lucas on the estate. Similarly, Peter Phillips, Anne's eldest child, has a cottage on the estate. Peter has two daughters named Savannah and Isla with his ex-wife Autumn Kelly, who he divorced in 2021.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.