Viewers have praised hardworking Princess Anne after getting a glimpse of her hectic schedule during tonight’s in-depth ITV documentary about the Queen’s daughter – with one branding her ‘the future queen that will never be’.
The Princess Royal, 69, who lives on her Gloucestershire estate Gatcombe Park with her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, 65, was followed for more than a year by the filmmakers behind Anne: The Princess Royal at 70.
Released ahead of the royal’s 70th birthday in August, the documentary features unseen family footage and conversations with the princess herself, her children and her husband.
Twitters users were keen to applaud Anne for her strong work ethic while watching the programme, in which the princess quipped: ‘Slow down? I thought I had slowed down.’
One fan tweeted: ‘Pleased #PrincessAnne is getting some positive publicity. For me, she should be next in line to the throne. She is intelligent, loyal, hard working and down to earth. A definite role model for future generations.’
Another said: ‘Watching HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal on ITV…. One of my favourite royals. Hard working, genuine, fun and family-oriented. Happy Birthday Your Royal Highness!’
A third added: ‘Princess Anne.. what a complete legend.. others could do worse than follow her lead,’ while another wrote: ‘Princess Anne is the future Queen that never will be, isn’t she? Let’s face it that woman is committed.’
Known as the ‘hardest working royal’, the Princess Royal has carried out around 500 public engagements a year for half a century.
But when asked if anyone has raised the question ahead of the princess’s 70th birthday on whether she should be slowing down, her daughter Zara Tindall, 39, said: ‘Good luck!’
‘Slow down? I thought I had slowed down,’ Anne replies when asked a similar question.
‘I think the thing that nags away is that after all this time, you should have learnt something. And I think that’s important – before you become irrelevant,’ Anne added.
Nick Power wrote: Absolutely loved #PrincessAnne on ITV. What a role model, hard working, down to earth and witty.’ He added: ‘The hardest working royal, the Queen must be so proud of The Princess Royal.’
Janet Bev added: ‘Just as we all thought, that the Princess Royal is so hardworking.’
Other more cynical viewers implied that the timing of the documentary would pull focus from Prince Andrew and his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Some also pointed out that Anne’s dedication and loyalty to the Firm – along with her decades of service – make her a role model for other family members.
During the programme, viewers are treated to an amusing moment between Princess Anne and her mother the Queen.
When Her Majesty, 94, took part in her first public video call last month to support the nation’s carers, it was Princess Anne who assisted her mother in getting set up on Webex.
Anne asks Her Majesty: ‘Can you see everybody? You should have six people on your screen.’
When the Queen replies: ‘Yes, well I can see four anyway,’ the princess is quick to remark: ‘Actually, you don’t need me. You know what I look like!’
The amusing clip left royal fans praising Anne for her humorous antics. One social media user wrote: ‘One is amused. Awesome,’ while another added: ‘Puts a smile to my face!’
A third said: ‘Brilliant. Princess Anne is great and it’s been lovely watching the Queen during lockdown. Can’t wait to watch this.’
At the start of the clip, which took place during National Carers’ Week, Anne is seen waiting for her mother to enter the call from Windsor Castle.
‘It’s Tom here,’ the Queen’s Assistant Private Secretary Tom Laing-Baker says as the pair tune in. ‘I’m just going to introduce Her Majesty The Queen.’
Anne is then heard saying: ‘Ah. Good morning at Windsor,’ before the Queen replies: ‘Good morning. I’m very glad to have been able to join you.’
The Queen joined the Princess Royal on the conference call in June with four carers living across the UK who have been responsible for looking after family during the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking from a sitting room at the castle, the monarch spent 20 minutes listening to the women about their experiences and asking questions about the pressures they face.
The documentary also sees Anne reveal her views about one of social media’s most popular platforms, Twitter, saying: ‘I wouldn’t go anywhere near it if you paid me frankly.’
Many royals, including Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry all have social media accounts but Princess Anne’s work is shared on the Queen’s Royal Family platforms.
Commenting on social media Anne says: ‘With online technology… being in touch is one thing but it’s not quite the same. The ability to meet people, that’s what makes the difference.
‘I mean, I know what Twitter is but I wouldn’t go anywhere near it if you paid me frankly. But that’s a slightly different issue.’
Elsewhere, Zara and brother Peter Phillips opened up about their mother’s relationship with their daughters in the documentary.
Zara, 39, shares Mia Grace, six, and Lena Elizabeth, two with husband Mike. Peter, 42, is father to Savannah, nine and Isla, eight, and the siblings said that their mother loves to have their daughters over for lunch on Sundays – joing it proves very convenient for them.
However, the Princess Royal, who will turn 70 on August 15, quipped that her family has yet to take her up on her offer of home-schooling and ‘outdoor learning’ for the children.