Princess Anne reveals why she skipped university

Princess Royal explains the reason she didn't attend lectures like other members of the royal family

Princess Anne skipped university, Princess Royal visits the Valley Gardens in Saltburn-By-The-Sea to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Cleveland Way National Trail on July 19, 2019
(Image credit: Ian Forsyth / Stringer Getty)

Princess Anne has revealed the real reason she skipped university - and it involves Her Majesty the Queen.

Princess Royal failed to attend lectures as she left school aged 18 with average grades and did not pursue further academic goals.

Instead, Anne, now aged 70, who was recently told to de-clutter her home, decided to follow her mother, the Queen on her royal tours, and the real reason why a high education didn't appeal to the Princess has been revealed.

 Speaking in the documentary Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, she spilled, “So many of my contemporaries, when asked why they were going to university, would say, ‘Well basically because that’s what you do.’

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Anne continued to explain, “And I remember thinking really that doesn’t sound like a very good reason to go university, so I thought I would skip that.

“But I also thought that I might have the opportunity to travel with Her Majesty on her tours.

“I did Geography A-level so, for me, it made more sense," she added.

Royal Tours - Prince Charles and Princess Anne (United States 1970)

(Image credit: Doug Griffin / Contributor Getty)

Anne even once referred to the university as a "highly overrated pastime" in the 2002 Channel 4 documentary The Real Princess Anne. At the age of 13, she became the first princess ever to leave the palace to attend an ordinary school - Benenden School for girls in Kent.

According to the headmistress at the time, Anne was so nervous that she was physically sick along the way to school on her first day.

Former pupil, Penny Junor, who was in the year above Anne, told viewers, "I do remember we were all extremely excited about her arrival. Everyone I knew said 'Ooh what's she like' and I said, 'She's just like one of us'. I think Anne really enjoyed being normal - I think she enjoyed the companionship as well."

Despite not enrolling in higher education, Anne was made Chancellor of more than one university. In 1981, she was chosen by graduates of the University of London as its Chancellor after the Queen Mother retired. She is also the Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands and Harper Adams University in Shropshire.

In 2011, she was elected Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, a position that used to belong to her father, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is currently still in the hospital recovering from an infection.

As the second child and only daughter, Anne has been a working royal since entering the public sphere aged 18.

Selina Maycock
Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.

Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.

Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.

When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.