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Not only was Prince Harry seated in the third row, well away from his father and brother at Westminster Abbey Saturday. His line of vision at King Charles’ coronation appeared to be blocked by an aggressively vertical red feather sprouting forth from his aunt Princess Anne’s military hat.
Pictures from the Coronation show the Princess Royal alternately smiling and striding, as well she might clad in the most impressive of regalia of the day as Charles’ official bodyguard.
Anne, Colonel of the Blues and Royals since 1998, was wearing her regimental uniform with the dark green Thistle Mantle, and the Thistle Collar, Garter Sash, Garter Star, Thistle Star, GCVO Star, full sized medals, KCVO Star and Companion of the Order of the Bath neck decoration. Hello! reported that the Thistle cloak is made “from deep green silk velvet with a lining of white taffeta, and features a hand embroidered gold badge and garter blue velvet hood.”
“I have a role as the Colonel of the Blues and Royals in the Household Cavalry regiment as Gold Stick,” Anne told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in a recent interview. “And Gold Stick was the original close protection officer. So that is a role I was asked if I’d like to do for this coronation, so I said yes. Not least of all, it solves my dress problem.”
After the coronation service, the Princess Royal remained on swaggering form on horseback, as “Gold-Stick-in-Waiting” leading 6,000 members of the armed forces from the Abbey, down the Mall to Buckingham Palace—an especially powerful image of leadership as it was on the Mall one night in 1974 that Anne was the subject of an attempted kidnapping.
A man called Ian Ball told Anne he intended to kidnap her and hold her for ransom. He asked her to get out of her car (having shot and wounded four men, including her personal police officer, who were trying to protect her).
“Not bloody likely,” was Anne’s alleged reply.
“It was all so infuriating; I kept saying I didn’t want to get out of the car, and I was not going to get out of the car,” she later told officers. “I nearly lost my temper with him, but I knew that if I did, I should hit him and he would shoot me.”
For a long time, Anne was most famous for telling press photographers to “naff off” in the early 1980s, even though some photographers say her actual choice of wording was the f-word.
Anne, Princess Royal, takes part in a procession following coronation ceremony for Britain’s King Charles III and Queen Camilla in London Saturday, May 6, 2023.
Jon Super/Pool via REUTERS
While the role of Charles’ bodyguard was ceremonial, it also echoes the relationship between Charles and Anne, experts say.
“She is the person the king has known longest,’ royal commentator Wesley Kerr OBE told Tatler. “She can be relied on for complete discretion and unconditional love. Anne is wise, intelligent, incredibly plugged into the modern United Kingdom. She understands completely who and what has shaped him and is eager for him to succeed: for the sake of their beloved mum and dad and for country and Commonwealth.”
However, the famously no-nonsense, hard-working Anne, is none too keen on Charles’ plans for a slimmed-down monarchy, telling the CBC it was originally proposed “when there were a few more people around,” i.e. a few more working royals.
She added: “It doesn’t sound like a good idea from where I’m standing, I would say. I’m not quite sure what else we can do.” In the interview, Anne was also asked how she thought her brother would act as king. She replied: “You know what you’re getting because he’s been practicing for a bit, and I don’t think he’ll change.”
And neither, one senses, will Princess Anne.
Source : The Daily Beast