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Princess Anne's 'Dangerous Liaison' with Queen's Servant Was Revealed by Thief & Turned Into 29-Year Marriage

Esther NJeri
Jun 17, 2022
11:00 P.M.
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Princess Anne has never lived a charmed life, but unlike her fellow royals, she was never lucky in love at first. She finally found her charming prince following a scandal that shocked all of Britain.


Today Princess Anne lives a happily married life with the love of her life, Sir Timothy Lawrence. However, the road to marital bliss was that of rugged terrain. She had a few unsuccessful teenage romances with polo player Sandy Harper and Prince Harry's godfather Gerald Ward.

In her late teens and early 20s, the princess fell for avid rider and accomplished equestrian Richard Meade. However, the relationship also hit a brick wall. Reports say Prince Philip was behind the split as the twelve-year difference between Meade and Anne did not sit well with him.

Princess Anne, Princess Royal attends The Epsom Derby at Epsom Racecourse on June 4, 2022 in Epsom, England. | Source: Getty Images


In 1970, the princess dated Andrew Parker Bowles, who would later become Camilla's husband. The relationship ended because Bowles is Catholic and could not technically marry the princess.


The Princess' romance with Bowles failing may have seemed like the end of the road for her love life, but in 1973, she got engaged to Captain Mark Phillips. The two met due to their love for horses after being introduced at an event in Mexico City.

Princess Anne with Captain Mark Phillips just prior to their marriage on 22nd July 1973. | Source: Getty Images


On May 29, 1973, Phillips proposed to the princess with a diamond and sapphire ring. After announcing the engagement, they were asked:

"Do you think the marriage can withstand the enormous pressures of public duty and publicity that you have to endure?"

"Can? It's got to, hasn't it?" Anne answered. They married six months later in November at Westminster Abbey in a televised ceremony that attracted 500 million views. There were 1500 guests in attendance.

Princess Anne and Capt. Mark Phillips wave to cheering crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, Nov. 14th, after their wedding at Westminster Abbey. | Source: Getty Images


The happy couple welcomed their first child Peter Phillips in 1977, followed by daughter Zara Phillips Tindall in 1981. Following the birth of their children, the couple enjoyed another three years of marriage before things started falling apart.

By 1984, their marriage had dissipated so much that the couple would check into different hotels whenever they traveled.


In 1989, while still married to Phillip, Anne became the centerpiece of a scandal that shook all of Britain. It all began when The Sun revealed that it had anonymously received letters written by the princess.


Princess Anne And Tim Laurence Attend Church On Easter Sunday At Windsor Castle in April 2009 | Source: Getty Images

Stolen from the Palace, the letters were reportedly all written in the same black-ink handwriting. While the publication did not reveal the mysterious writer's identity or the contents of the stolen letters, the Palace issued a statement saying:


"The stolen letters were addressed to the Princess Royal by Commander Timothy Laurence, the Queen's Equerry."

Princess Anne, Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England | Source: Getty Images


Friends and neighbors bore witness to the budding relationship between Anne and Laurence, with one saying that the Equerry could not stop thinking about Anne since their first meeting in 1968. On the other hand, Anne treated Laurence like her confidant. A friend would say:

"Obviously, Tim and the princess were physically attracted to each other, but their friendship goes deeper than that. Tim has filled a loneliness in her life and given her a shoulder to cry on when she needed someone to tell her troubles to."

"He understands her tantrums and the bad publicity she attracts. But most of all, he cares for her in the way her husband does not." They added. Anne's romance became branded a "dangerous Liaison" by a 2002 Channel 4 documentary "The Real Princess Anne."


Princess Anne, Princess Royal attends the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Mr Thomas Kingston at St George's Chapel on May 18, 2019 in Windsor, England | Source: Getty Images

After the telling letters became public knowledge, Phillips and Anne swiftly separated but promised not to divorce. However, in 1991, their marriage took another massive blow when new developments revealed that Phillips had a 5-year-old illegitimate daughter, Felicity.


The revelations came to light after Heather Tonkin, an art teacher from New Zealand, told The Daily Express that while Phillips did not deny his child, he had not acknowledged her rightly, nor put his name on her birth certificate.

Initially, Phillips denied the accusations but soon after, new revelations stated that he had made a total of £6,000 per year to Tonkin under the guise of hiring her as a consultant for "equestrian matters."

Mark Phillips attends day 1 of the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on August 7, 2015 in Stroud, England. | Source: Getty Images


Tonkin also told how Phillips had asked her to terminate the pregnancy and that she had only come forward after the payments became irregular.

In a shocking turn of events, it also became apparent that Phillips agent John Erskine had threatened her, saying he would make her life miserable. Despite their promise not to divorce, Anne and Phillips's marriage ended officially in 1992 after 20 years together.


Now free from her unhappy marriage to Phillips, Anne and Laurence started dating officially but chose to keep their relationship low-key. They rarely appeared in photographs or in public together.


Princess Anne, Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence attend day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2021 in Ascot, England. | Source: Getty Images

The two took their romance a notch higher the same year Anne got divorced when Laurence proposed with a sapphire and diamond ring.


They married later that year but had to leave England and marry in Scotland as the Church of England did not allow divorcees to remarry. Only royal family members attended the event, where Anne's daughter, Zara, served as the bridesmaid.

Despite their difference in interests — Anne is a fan of horses, while Laurence is not — they bond over their shared love for rugby. They have been married for 29 years and look forward to celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

Timothy Laurence and Princess Anne, Princess Royal during Trooping the Color on June 2, 2022 in London, England | Source: Getty Images


Sometimes referred to as Anne's "invisible man," Laurence never carries out any royal engagements on his own, unlike other royal spouses such as Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.

However, he supports his wife at royal engagements and has been the princess' rock over the past three decades. While they have never revealed the secret to such a long and happy marriage, many suspect their shared sense of humor tops the list.

During a Founder's Day event at Chelsea Royal Hospital, Laurence made a joke stating that he and Anne were both supporters of the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. "I know that's a rather dangerous thing to say down here in Chelsea, so I may need an escort when I'm leaving." He added, leaving the attendees in stitches.