Princess Anne: Queen Elizabeth II's loyal daughter

·4-min read

Queen Elizabeth II's only daughter Princess Anne rarely lets her emotions show but the grief was etched on her face as she accompanied her mother's coffin.

With her elder brother King Charles III called away to duty, the queen's second child accompanied their mother's coffin on its journey through Scotland and back to London.

Anne, 72, was with Queen Elizabeth on Thursday when she passed away aged 96 after seven decades on the throne.

"I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest mother's life," Anne said in a statement Tuesday.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys. Witnessing the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys has been both humbling and uplifting.

"To my mother, The Queen, thank you."

Anne travelled with the cortege on the six-hour drive from Balmoral to Edinburgh on Sunday.

She curtseyed as soldiers carried the casket into the monarch's official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Anne stood guard at the coffin alongside her siblings at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on Monday.

And the princess flew with the casket from the Scottish capital to London on Tuesday.

Anne's role may now change depending on whether Charles, 73, pursues a slimmed-down monarchy. But he may find his closest sibling a rock of support as he adjusts to his new role.

Anne said she was "grateful for the support and understanding offered to my dear brother Charles as he accepts the added responsibilities of the monarch".

- Learning the hard way -

Anne has earned a reputation as the hardest-working royal, squeezing in a career as an Olympic horse rider alongside a lifetime of public engagements.

Cast much in the same plain-speaking mould as her late father Prince Philip, Anne is reported to have once described herself as "not everyone's idea of a fairy-tale princess".

"You learn the hard way," she said. "There isn't a school for royalty."

She never sought to please the press, saying she did not "do stunts" and once told photographers to "naff off".

In 1974, she was the target of a kidnap attempt when her car was ambushed. Two police officers, her chauffeur and a passer-by were shot and wounded.

An account released by the National Archives said assailant Ian Ball pointed his gun at Anne and said: "I want you to come with me for a day or two, because I want £2 million.

"Will you get out of the car?"

The princess replied curtly: "Not bloody likely -- and I haven't got £2 million."

Anne stuck to a mixture of classic chic and casual, keeping her voluminous, up-do hair style throughout her adult life.

She adopted a business-like demeanour that sometimes meant she came across as frosty, and resulted in her sharp, dry sense of humour often being mistaken.

- Gifted horse rider -

Born on August 15, 1950, Anne was taught at Buckingham Palace before beginning boarding school in 1963.

She inherited her mother's passion for horses and the young princess became a skilled equestrian.

Anne won the 1971 European Eventing Championship and the British public voted her that year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

"I certainly saw it as a way of proving that you had something that was not dependent on your family and it was down to you to succeed or fail," she said of her horse riding career.

She married equestrian Mark Phillips in 1972. The wedding was an international event watched by an estimated 500 million people.

Anne represented Britain at the Montreal 1976 Olympics, returning without a medal after a particularly nasty fall.

She became a member of the International Olympic Committee in 1988 and was on the organising committee for the London 2012 Games.

Anne and her army officer first husband had two children -- sports events managing director Peter and 2006 eventing world champion Zara.

Breaking with tradition, the couple decided Phillips should not accept a title so their children would be free to determine their own lives.

- Divorce and remarriage -

Anne was granted the title of Princess Royal, traditionally given to the monarch's eldest daughter, in 1987.

She split from Phillips in 1989 and the couple divorced in 1992.

Nine months later, Anne married naval commander Timothy Laurence, a former equerry to Queen Elizabeth.

Anne supports more than 300 charities, organisations and military regiments, including an association with Save the Children that has lasted more than 50 years.

She regularly tops the charts for conducting the most royal engagements, and writes her own speeches.