The Crown Season 3 is about to drop on Netflix, and it will show Prince Charles and Princess Anne in their teens and early 20s, apparently. Young Josh O’Connor looks like a perfect Charles, I haven’t seen enough of Erin Doherty to know if she will be a good Anne. The thing is, for people my age and younger, Princess Anne exists in the cultural zeitgeist as a horse-obsessed older broad who doesn’t give a sh-t about fashion or makeup. We don’t really think of Anne as a young beauty, or someone who had some possibly torrid love affairs in her youth. But she probably did have lots of love affairs, at least that’s what I think Richard Kay at the Daily Mail is trying to say. As we all know, royal reporters tend to use coded language, especially when it’s about a royal figure’s sex life. So as I was reading Kay’s piece, I just replaced “dance partner” and “riding companion” with “lover” every time. And damn, girl, Anne was GETTING SOME. Richard Kay truly listed them all:
Gerald Ward. The story begins with Gerald Ward, an Eton-educated ex-Cavalry officer, who later became Prince Harry’s godfather. They dated when Anne was in her late teens, after she left Benenden School and had just begun her public duties. Ward, a Berkshire landowner, was an all-round action man who enjoyed parachuting, scuba-diving and skiing, and was a veteran of the Cresta Run, a hair-raising toboggan track in the Swiss Alps. But romance with the Queen’s daughter did not flourish, and Ward, who died in 2008, went on to marry twice.
Sandy Harper. From the age of 19, her most frequent companion was polo player Sandy Harper, a man two years her senior whose father trained ponies for Lord Cowdray on his West Sussex estate. With his fashionably long hair, open-necked shirt and beads, Sandy was certainly not the conventional royal escort. The pair were regulars at the new discotheques springing up all over London’s West End, with Anne often spotted, chastely driving the two of them away at the end of the evening.
The Earl of Caithness. Another among the early runners and riders was the Earl of Caithness, whose late father was factor and land agent for the Queen’s Balmoral and Birkhall estates. And because the Earl was the same age as Prince Charles, he was often invited to parties and dances. It was noted that he was an attentive presence at Anne’s side during Charles’s 18th birthday party at Windsor Castle.
Other dance partners. Other well-born dancing partners included Ewen Cameron, now Baron Cameron of Dillington and a crossbench peer in the Lords. Anne visited the Old Harrrovian when he was at Oxford and was a guest at his 20th birthday party. Off and on she had also been enjoying the company of Brian Alexander, younger son of World War II hero Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis. Brian later ran the private Caribbean island of Mustique. ‘A dear, lovely man, but too wet,’ was Princess Margaret’s caustic observation.
Richard Meade. The most serious suitor in the young Princess’s life was Richard Meade, the dashing horseman who — after Cambridge and the Royal Hussars — went on to win three Olympic gold medals for eventing. (It was at a fancy dress party for his son, James, that Prince Harry was pictured in a Nazi uniform.) To onlookers, the suave Meade seemed to be favourite for the Princess’s hand. Blond, tall and handsome, he had the same firm chin and eyes alive with mischief as Anne’s father, Prince Philip.
Andrew Parker Bowles: For following a chance meeting at Royal Lodge, the Queen Mother’s home at Windsor, the then 20-year-old Anne came to know Andrew Parker Bowles, adjutant in the newly formed Blues and Royals regiment, a former ADC to the Governor-General in new Zealand, and a noted ladies’ man. Until this point, Anne’s boyfriends had been varied but predictable. Parker Bowles was infinitely more sophisticated and it helped that his father, Derek Parker Bowles, was a long-standing friend of the Queen Mother. At the time they met, Andrew was dating ex-deb Camilla but that did not prevent him enjoying the charms of other women, including Lady Caroline Percy, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, and Lady Amabel Lindsay, lively daughter of the Earl of Hardwicke. But it all fizzled out [with Anne] when Parker Bowles, a man described by one ex as ‘the greatest lover in London’, was posted to Germany.
[From The Daily Mail]
The bit about the “love triangle” between Andrew Parker Bowles, Camilla and Anne has been widely known/rumored for decades. I think it wasn’t really a love triangle as much as Andrew Parker Bowles chasing every skirt he saw, and Camilla was happy to turn a blind eye. Everyone in royal circles knew that Anne and Camilla both had eyes for Andrew Parker Bowles, and then Camilla “won” and then she continued to keep Charles around because… why not? Anyway, apparently the love triangle will feature quite heavily in The Crown. That should be good – I’m very interested in Princess Anne’s young adulthood, when she was out there slaying dudes constantly.
Photos courtesy of WENN and Avalon Red.