The stunning black and white photo of The Princess Royal in her youth shows just how much she resembles her father when he was younger. Paired with the headline ‘Royal rebel’, the photograph shows a young Princess Anne with long, defined curls and a steely smile.
The May 2020 cover comes as the royal looks forward to her 70th birthday in August, with a rare sit-down interview in which the Queen’s only daughter shared stories of her childhood, her love of horse riding and what life is like in the world’s most famous family.
Taking after the Duke of Edinburgh in terms of both his looks and his work ethic, Princess Anne says she has no intention of retiring any time soon. Prince Philip continued to work until the ripe old age of 96 having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952, and it sounds like his daughter plans to follow in his footsteps.
“I don’t think retirement is quite the same [for me],” she said in the interview. “Most people would say we’re very lucky not to be in that situation because you wouldn’t want to just stop.
“It is, to a large extent, the choice of the organizations you’re involved with and whether they feel you’re still relevant.
READ MORE: Prince Philip’s incredible relationship with Princess Anne: ‘The son he wished he had!’
Princess Anne resembles young Prince Philip in magazine cover
The new Vanity Fair cover shows a young Princess Anne
“But I think both my father and my mother have, quite rightly, made decisions about, you know, ‘I can’t spend enough time doing this and we need to find somebody else to do it’ because it makes sense. I have to admit they continued being there for a lot longer than I had in mind, but we’ll see.”
As the magazine cover’s headline suggests, Princess Anne has clearly inherited her father’s rebellious streak too. The Queen’s husband is well known for being controversial, while Princess Anne is the only royal to have a criminal conviction (one of her dogs attacked two children in a park in 2002 – the Princess pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog that was out of control in a public area) and she was once banned from driving after repeatedly being caught speeding.
It’s been said before that the Duke has a very special bond with his daughter. In the 2002 Channel 4 documentary, The Real Princess Anne, the narrator commented: “She was much more a chip off the old block than her more sensitive brother.”
Royal biographer Penny Junor also stated that both father and daughter hate the press.
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However, despite this and her reputation for a busy and hectic schedule – Princess Anne is known to pack four or five engagements into a day’s itinerary – the royal interview took place at St. James’s Palace earlier this year.
In it she admitted her staff have to put up with her overfilled calendar.
“I make their lives more difficult in terms of the logistics, I’m afraid, but if I’m going to be in London, I don’t want to be hanging about.
“I’m fortunate that the program that I make up is a direct result of being asked to do these things. It would be a pity if you didn’t try and do them.”
Princess Anne talks of life as a royal in the rare interview
Though she’s known for her defiant nature and occasional sharp tongue, royal correspondent Katie Nicholl notes in the interview that “the Princess Royal is warm, engaging, and funny, with an impressive ability of disarming people,” likening her friendly attitude to Erin Doherty’s depiction of her in series three of The Crown.
However, the royal is said to have no interest in watching her life on screen and therefore hasn’t seen the series. In fact, she spoke in the interview about her dislike of screens in general.
“I find it very difficult to understand why anybody gets sucked into screens and devices,” she told Nicholl. “Life’s too short, frankly. There’s more entertaining things to be done.”
The cover shot may bear a strong resemblance to Prince Philip as a young man, but describing today’s Princess Royal in the Vanity Fair story, the journalist remarks how much she looks like her mother.
“A few wisps of gray fleck her chestnut hair, and her complexion is flawless like her mother the Queen’s. In fact, the similarity between mother and daughter is striking. She’s also wearing sensible court shoes, but her coltish legs and slender frame are the physique of a former athlete.”
In her youth, Princess Anne was a successful sportswoman. She was the first member of the Royal Family to compete in the Olympics, in Montreal 1976, and the winner of three European Championship medals, as well as being the first royal to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971.
Read the full feature in the May issue of Vanity Fair available via digital download and on newsstands Friday 17th April