Princess Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence has admitted he was ‘surprised’ to discover the Royal Family’s homes are ‘full of laughter’ when he married into The Firm.
The Princess Royal’s second husband of almost 30 years made the remarks in a new ITV documentary about his wife ahead of her 70th birthday in August, which aired tonight.
Having attended many family occasions at the Queen’s Balmoral, Sandringham and Windsor Castle estates, Sir Tim, 65, said he was shocked by the amount of amusement shared at the events.
He also talked about the similarities between Anne and her 94-year-old mother – insisting his wife shares her ‘humour and fun’ with Her Majesty.
Speaking on the programme, he said: ‘One of the great surprises for me, when I first went to Balmoral and to Sandringham and Windsor was that these places are full of laughter.
‘The similarities with her (Princess Anne’s) father are much talked about, but what is less spoken about is the similarities with her mother, the Queen… the common theme is humour, fun.’
Anne’s son Peter Phillips, 42, who also featured on the documentary alongside his sister Zara Tindall, 39, praised Sir Tim and Anne’s relationship.
‘They both have an understanding of what being a part of the wider family means and what is required,’ he said, before adding: ‘He’s been a very strong support for [my mother].’
During his candid interview, Sir Tim also revealed the similarities and differences he shares with his wife.
‘We are both map and chart people. We like to know where we are and see where we are going,’ he explained. ‘We both follow, with great enthusiasm, the Scottish rugby team… as you may have noticed they don’t always win.’
However there is one sport that the pair don’t share a love for, and that’s horse riding, with Sir Tim confessing: ‘She grew up with horses, horses have been part of her life, it’s not something I share with her. Sadly I’ve never been bitten by the horse bug.’
Talking about Anne’s first marriage to Captain Mark Phillips, which ended in 1992, Sir Tim also joked: ‘It’s quite amusing that she married first an army officer and then a naval officer. So there must be something about the military that attracts her.’
Anne and Sir Tim, 65, who live together on the royal’s Gloucestershire estate Gatcombe Park, married on December 12 in 1992 at Crathie Kirk in Balmoral, Scotland.
The royal was followed for more than a year by film-makers for the documentary, which will feature unseen family footage and conversations with the princess herself, her children and her husband.
By Jessica Green For Mailonline
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.
Other more cynical viewers implied that the timing of the documentary would pull focus from Prince Andrew and his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
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.