The tragedy here is that Anne is the most honest and down-to-earth member of the royal family. When she married Mark Phillips, it was considered unthinkable that he could remain middle-class Mark without a title to his name. But Princess Anne felt otherwise. She refused pointblank when the Queen offered to give him an earldom, as had been done for the commoner Tony Armstrong-Jones when he married Princess Margaret. Anne said it seemed rather pompous to her that Mark should be given a high falutin' title just because he was marrying a woman who was a princess by an accident of birth.
The same applied to Anne's children, Peter and Zara, who, at the time of writing, are the only members of The Family not to have titles. The Queen was insistent that they should be known as Prince Peter and Princess Zara, but Anne said no way. Her actual comment on this subject was: "They are not royal. The Queen just happens to be their grandmother."
Princess Anne is an original who likes to do it her way. She has no intention of copying Princess Diana's engaging but shrewd way of saying "Cheese" for press cameramen and refuses to behave like a performing. seal for them. She prefers to wear trousers, jumpers, and check shirts rather than flashy dresses, saying she would like to be judged by what she does, not by what she wears. Unlike Princess Di, Princess Anne does not have vast walk-in closets containing thousands of garments, and she does not have a private hairdresser who visits her every day. Neither does she have a manicurist in daily attendance, as can be seen from her often chipped and unpolished fingernails.
The hardest working member of the royal family, Anne hates trotting out much of the tripe written for her by Buckingham Palace. Tripe, because she has told friendly journalists that it's often "ridiculously pompous and even patronizing." She loathes pretentious people and also those who show off or crawl to her. She refuses to have the usual army of royal kitchen maids at her country home and keeps a small staff who help her by "mucking in" with the housework, with everybody wearing blue jeans. When competing at horse trials, she likes to drop her Princess title and asks to be known as plain Anne Phillips. In other words, we admit to having a sneaking regard for her.
Compare all that with the Queen's cousin, LORD LOUIS MOUNTBATTEN, he who was Mountbatten of Burma, Viceroy of India, Chief of the Defence Staff, and a truly brilliant but sneaky man who handled himself and manipulated everybody else so well that he was known as the shop steward of the British royal family. That is until 1979, when the Irish Republican Army blew his body to pieces while he was fishing on a small boat near his magnificent Classiebawn Castle in the Irish county of Sligo.
Mountbatten was not only the most crashing snob in royal history but also one of the naughtiest sex-wise. Yet he always managed to get away with it. Most senior British journalists knew that Mountbatten and his vastly rich wife, Edwina, spent most of their married life jumping in and out of other people's beds. It was also no secret that Mountbatten was a bisexual, which might explain why his wife searched for affection in the arms of well-known public figures such as Indian Prime Minister, Pandit Nehru.
Anyone wanting further details about Lord Louis can read The Mountbattens (Constable, 1989), written by Lord Lambton who is no amateur when it comes to sex scandals. He was a Cabinet Minister serving as Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Defence and was in charge of the Royal Air Force. In 1973 he was forced to resign after being secretly filmed in bed naked (and smoking pot) with London's then famous prostitute, Norma Levy.
Millionaire Tony, who now lives in happy exile in a sixteenth-century villa near Siena, Italy, discloses in his meticulously researched book that Mountbatten was not only a charlatan and a snob but also a pathological liar who disguised his ancestry ("pastry cooks, tailors, and pastors") in order to enhance his claims to royal status.
Not mentioned in Lambton's book are the latest and most astounding claims against Lord Mountbatten. Someone in British Intelligence is leaking rumors to authors and journalists that Mountbatten was a Soviet sympathizer who secretly helped the Russians during the Cold War. Equally incredible is the claim that Mountbatten was murdered on the orders of the KGB, as they feared he might have been intending to disclose his role as a Russian agent.
This rumor was ridiculed by some but in August 1989, top British journalist Richard Ingrams opened a new can of worms. In his weekly Observer column he stated that Mr. Alan Clark (now Britain's Minister of State for Defence) had told him the same story about Lord Lambton.
It's a strange world. Apart from Her Majesty the Queen, nobody in the royal family is safe from naughty disclosures these days. Except perhaps the Queen's gentle and sensitive bachelor son, PRINCE EDWARD, who was called a wimp by his angry father when he deserted the famously tough Royal Marines in 1987 because he found their assault coarse.
Being a great lover of the performing arts, Edward decided to learn his desired trade from the bottom up by taking a job as a tea boy working backstage at a London theater. But you can safely bet that in years to come he will end up laying them in the aisles as a famous impresario mounting some great stars in a spectacular musical.
At the moment however, central stage is being occupied by the astonishing antics of three of the prettiest young female royals. This unusual soap opera started in October 1989, when newspapers in Italy, France and Germany disclosed that Princess Margaret's unmarried daughter, twenty-six-year-old LADY SARAH ARMSTRONG, was living with her actor boyfriend Daniel Chatto who was described as "the illegitimate half-brother of the two famous movie stars, James and Edward Fox."
Major London newspapers disclosed this to the British public rather tactfully by saying Lady Sarah was "quietly and discreetly" living with Daniel. Sarah's father, Lord Snowdon, reacted by acidly telling a journalist: "Sarah is a student and Daniel is a 'resting' actor. How can they get married yet?"
Another shock for Buckingham Palace came when it was disclosed that twenty-six-year-old LADY HELEN WINDSOR, the unmarried daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, was also "quietly and discreetly" living with her art gallery boss, Tim Taylor.
As both girls are in line to the throne, these revelations caused severe embarrassment to the Queen because she likes to perpetuate Victorian values and cannot possibly be seen to condone any suggestion that her young relatives are "living in sin." She was horrified when she heard that foreign "paparazzi" cameramen were responsible for uncovering such naughty goings on. They had shadowed the two pretty young ladies night and day and had discovered they were keeping their bedroom slippers at the homes of their boyfriends.
But the biggest shock for the Queen came a few days later when her twenty-three-year-old unmarried cousin, MARINA OGILVY, created the most diabolical royal scandal by telling her parents (Princess Alexandra and businessman Sir Angus Ogilvy) that she was several months pregnant by her commercial photographer boyfriend, Paul Mowatt, aged twenty-four. Mum and Dad quite naturally suggested that a marriage should be speedily arranged so that the royal baby would not be born a royal bastard.
Being a fiercely independent girl, Marina said she didn't want a shotgun wedding and that she was determined to live with boyfriend Paul for a while to make sure they were right for each other. But as Paul did not have any money, Marina asked her millionaire father to buy her a house.
Both parents were appalled at the idea of a young lady royal living in sin while carrying a "love child" (only common people have bastards). So much so that they not only refused to buy her a house, they also threatened to cut her off from the family completely. And, as a little taster-to show they meant business-they stopped Marina's monthly pocket money of $420 and also instructed their lawyers to block her from touching any of the substantial funds being held in trust until her twenty-fifth birthday. To round all this off, Marina's boyfriend Paul was told that if he ever darkened a royal doorstep again, the police would be called and he would be arrested.
Marina was so incensed by all this that she went public and gave her story to a British tabloid newspaper. The very first royal in British history to do that! Suspecting that Buckingham Palace might arrange some kind of kidnap in an effort to suppress the story, the newspaper (Today) spirited Marina and her boyfriend off to a secret hideaway in Ireland. When the story hit Page One, Buckingham Palace leaked some viciously wounding stories to friendly newspapers. One was that Marina and her boyfriend Paul hit the bottle just a little too much because at least $750 worth of empty liquor bottles had been seen in the trash bins outside the love nest they were sharing.
That shaft was presumably aimed at Paul, to indicate he was a bad influence on sweet naive little Marina. But Marina did not escape the vitriol either. Another story leaked to the newspapers alleged that she was not quite right in the head, poor dear. She had earlier gone through a "personality change" you see. And this had worried her distraught family so much that they had thoughtfully placed her in a posh private clinic in Surrey, where she had spent some time having "psychiatric counselling. "
Being mightily displeased by the suggestion that she was off her rocker, Marina made an astounding counter attack by going on television and telling millions of viewers all her problems. The very first British royal to do that! During the program she cried her heart out and begged her parents to telephone her, saying: "I want you to stand by me and love me. I am your child. I want you to understand that this is what I want."
British newspapers had a field day. Some of them lashed out at Buckingham Palace for being "old-fashioned," whereas others said the Palace must not knuckle under to permissive attitudes. The papers were equally divided about Marina. Some described her as "a bewildered and rather naive young mother-to-be," while others portrayed her as "a vindictive and manipulative, Royal brat" who had betrayed her class.
When Marina's parents refused to weaken in the face of all this scandal, she played her trump card and caused another avalanche of bad publicity by writing a six-page letter to the Queen. Starting it with "Dear Cousin Lilibet" (Queen Elizabeth's family nickname) shrewd little Marina begged Her Majesty: "Please help me to save my unborn child." She rounded this off nicely by alleging that her parents had tried to trick her into having a secret abortion during "a routine check" with a top Harley Street doctor.
That did it. Her Majesty the Queen simply could not risk becoming embroiled in a highly religious controversy involving the royals in an alleged abortion attempt. So Princess Alexandra took some of the heat out of the explosive issue by denying she had wanted her daughter to have the unborn baby's life terminated. She said poor little Marina must be confused. In royal terms, that meant: "She's either mad, or a liar."
For some strange reason, Marina suddenly stopped shooting her pretty little mouth off in public. Cynics claim she was paid to shut it. But even then, she still put two fingers up many upper-class noses by moving into the modest terraced home of her boyfriend's parents who live in the relatively social backwater of suburban Kingston. This was a most unusual act for Marina when you know she is twenty-fifth in line to the English throne! Goodness gracious, whatever next?