The Princess Royal has been happily married to Sir Tim Laurence for nearly 30 years, but before that, she was married to Captain Mark Phillips. Today, we’ve got a look back at the official portraits from their royal engagement back in 1973.
Princess Anne and Mark Phillips were privately engaged over the Easter holidays in March 1973. A few months later, they officially announced their engagement to the world. On May 30, 1973, they posed together for the first time for photographers outside Buckingham Palace. Anne wore jewelry set with gold, diamonds, and pearls: her floral brooch, pinned at the neck of her blouse, and the stud portion of her modern Andrew Grima earrings.
During the photocall, Anne and Mark showed off her engagement ring. The Evening Standard reported, “Princess Anne’s engagement ring, a sapphire surrounded by diamonds, was designed to her own specifications” and made by Garrard. She told photographers, “You see, it’s pretty simple. A sapphire in the middle and a diamond on each side.” Phillips added, “We selected the ring together at the end of April.” (Interestingly, Anne’s second engagement ring was also set with a sapphire.)
The wedding date was set for November 14, 1973. A few weeks beforehand, Anne and Mark posed for official engagement portraits on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The photo above is the most casual of the images from the portrait session.
Inside the castle, Captain Phillips changed into uniform. Anne changed, too, first into an ensemble featuring a black and gold caftan and black silk trousers. She wore the full setting, stud and pendant, of her pearl, gold, and diamond Andrew Grima earrings. They posed for this portrait in the castle’s Crimson Drawing Room.
The most iconic images from the portrait session are probably these, which feature Anne in full diamond gala jewels and a romantic chiffon gown by Zandra Rhodes. The images, taken by Norman Parkinson, were published in British Vogue. In December 1973, Rubye Graham wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer that Parkinson himself “selected Zandra’s embroidered off-white chiffon gown with very full skirt and shawl-like bodice, which had actually been the wedding dress that ended Zandra’s last collection. The princess fell in love with the dress.”
Graham added, “Although Zandra did not do Anne’s wedding gown, the dress Anne wore in the Parkinson portrait has come to be known as the Princess Anne dress and Zandra is busy filling orders from around the world. The dress was recently enshrined in the windows at Fortnum and Mason, the London store that carries Zandra’s designs. Britishers queued up to see it.”
You’ll certainly recognize the jewelry worn in the elegant gala portraits. Princess Anne’s own diamond festoon tiara is nestled in her hair, placed much further back than she usually wears her tiaras. The tiara was a gift from Worldwide Shipping Group, presented to Anne after she christened one of their ships earlier in 1973. For the portraits, she paired the tiara with the necklace and earrings from the diamond suite given to her by her parents as an 18th-birthday present in 1968.
Anne also wore the same tiara, and the same necklace and earrings, for another posed portrait taken during the engagement sessions.
This image is the one that was used for the cover of the official souvenir programme for the royal wedding.
For her wedding day a few weeks later, Princess Anne borrowed an heirloom tiara: Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara, loaned to her by the Queen Mother. The tiara was previously worn by the Queen on her wedding day, and its diamonds were originally set in the tiara worn by Queen Mary for her wedding. You can learn much more about this popular British royal wedding tiara here!
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