The Princess Royal was born on 15th August 1950 at Clarence House in central London which adjoins St James's Palace and which became the home of her grandmother, the Queen Mother, from 1953 until her death in 2002.
Today, Anne - a former Olympian - is one of the more popular members of the Royal Family. She is also thought to be the most hardworking royal.
To celebrate the occasion a new photographic portrait of her has been produced, in which she poses in a striking red dress. She posed for the portrait at her home Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire last month just before she embarked on a ten day cruise in the Outer Hebrides with her mother, father and several other members of her family.
Anne, who usually tries to stay away the limelight as best she can, has said that she just wants to spend today with her family.
Next month she is to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace. The party will have 500 guests - every one a worker for the charities she supports.
The title of Princess Royal dates back to the 17th Century when Queen Henrietta Maria, the French wife of the ill-fated King Charles I of England and mother of the future King Charles II, wanted to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the King of France was styled "Madame Royale". Henrietta Maria (who probably helped to start the English Civil War by flagrantly and unapologetically practising her Catholicism in front of the Protestant English) was the daughter of the French king Henri IV.
Princess Anne is only the seventh person to be given the title since it was created in 1642. She was given it in 1987. The title is given only to the British monarch's eldest (or only) daughter.
Anne is a keen horsewoman. In 1971, at the age of 21, she won the individual title at the European Eventing Championship, and was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year that year. Her daughter, Zara Phillips, also a horsewoman, won the BBC Sports Personality of the year in 2006 for winning the World Championship in Aachen. She is currently the Eventing World Champion.
In the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Anne was a member of the British team, riding the Queen's horse, Goodwill.
Princess Anne is also a keen pharologist, which means she has an obession with lighthouses. Her ambition is to visit all of Scotland's 208 lighthouses, of which she has already visited many.
She is also the patron of Scotland's national rugby union team and often greets the team before matches.
Princess Anne also has a son, Peter Phillips, who is married to a Canadian woman named Autumn. Autumn is pregnant with the Queen's first great-grandchild, which is due in December.
Princess Anne at 60: Even more regal than Mum
By Laura Collins
15th August 2010
Those close to the Princess Royal knows that she would rather buy oats for her horses than splash out on a new frock.
Still as trim as she was decades ago, when needs must she proudly recycles dresses from bygone eras without needing to trouble a seamstress for adjustments.
So perhaps it isn’t surprising that, when persuaded that her 60th birthday portrait really was an occasion that merited a new dress, the no-nonsense Royal opted for something as close to home-made as possible.
Red letter day: Anne, right, poses for a formal birthday photograph, taken at Gatcombe by John Swannell. Left, her mother the Queen on her own 60th birthday in April 1986
Rather than commission a couture creation, she turned to one of her regular dressmakers who ran up this striking gown in a bold pillar- box red silk.
Here, Anne is pictured at home in Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire. The photograph was taken last month shortly before she and other family members embarked on a ten-day cruise around the Outer Hebrides.
That holiday, on board the Queen’s favourite ship, the Hebridean Princess, was all the celebration Anne really wanted to mark her 60th, which falls today. According to a friend, she would have spent the cruise happily spotting lighthouses.
Princess Anne's full title is: Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, The Princess Royal, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Dame Grand Cross and Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order, Dame Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.
‘She loves going on these cruises because it gives her a chance to bag some more lighthouses,’ the friend said. ‘She’s mad keen on them. She’s bagged pretty much half of Scotland’s 208 lighthouses and the prospect of another one or two constituted all the birthday treat she wanted.’
Anne has made it clear that she wants to spend today quietly with the family. The Mail on Sunday understands that the only event she has noted in her diary is a garden party at Buckingham Palace next month.
True to form, every one of the 500 guests will be workers for the charities she supports and invitations will carry a strict ‘no presents’ instruction.
One source said: ‘If it were up to Anne, she wouldn’t have so much as a cake, never mind candles.
‘She really dislikes fuss but she also knows very well that the official portrait is part of the job. And if there’s one thing Anne is, it’s hard-working. Plus, she looks terrific.’
Way back when: Princess Anne, aged 18, with her mother the Queen at the British Embassy reception in Vienna, Austria, during the State visit in May 1969
In fact, the solidly sensible Princess looks more regal than the Queen did when she was photographed by Prince Andrew on her 60th in 1986. Pictured at home in twin-set and tweeds, the monarch’s down-to-earth style is a marked contrast to her daughter’s choice of styling.
But then, as a source who knows the Princess Royal well points out: ‘Anne draws the line between public and private very firmly. This is an official portrait. This is Anne in official “royal” mode.’
Yesterday, fashion expert and stylist Karen Kay said: ‘This dress is a real departure for her. It’s very elegant, with the empire line and pleats. A lot of women shy away from showing their arms after a certain age but she’s got a fabulous figure and is very athletic so her arms are toned.
Modest: The Princess Royal would rather spend money on her horses than herself
‘Often women go for more subdued tones in later years but this deep, dark pillar-box red is wonderful with her pale skin.’
The picture was taken by fashion and society photographer John Swannell, who pictured the Princess on her 40th and 50th birthdays and is known for his flattering use of lighting. It’s made him the ‘go to’ man for many famous women of a certain age, including Jerry Hall, Helen Mirren and Joanna Lumley.
Swannell was commissioned to photograph the Queen Mother on her 100th birthday in 2000.
The necklace Anne is wearing was a gift from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and comes from Garrard.
Jewellery expert Vivienne Becker said: ‘It is exceptionally beautifully designed in the 18th Century style as a series of ribbon bows and drapes, with pendants hung with diamond drops. The earrings are also antique, late 19th
Century. Her brooch is Edwardian. These are all regal jewels with history, supremely feminine and worn in the style of great royal portraits.’
But if these betray both sentiment and a sense of history, then Anne’s hands speak of the practicality of this particular Princess. Unadorned save for her wedding band and engagement ring, they are those of a woman used to controlling half a ton of horse.
However regal her pose, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that behind the smile is an impatient desire to get up, get changed, get this birthday fuss over with and get on.
The title of "Princess Royal"
Henrietta Maria, the daughter of King Henri IV of France, the wife of King Charles I of England and the mother of King Charles II of England not only helped start the English Civil War but also coined the title of "Princess Royal".
Princess Anne is the seventh member of the Royal Family to be given the title of Princess Royal. The title dates back to the 17th Century when Queen Henrietta Maria, the French wife of King Charles I of England and mother of the future King Charles II, wanted to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the King of France was styled "Madame Royale". Henrietta Maria was the daughter of King Henri IV of France (meaning England's King Charles II was his grandson), the sister of King Louis XIII of France (King Charles II was his nephew) and the aunt of the Sun King, Louis XIV of France (King Charles II was his cousin).
In 1642, therefore, her and Charles I's daughter, Mary, became the first person to be given the title of Princess Royal. The style is granted by Royal Warrant.
Two women have been eligible to receive the title but were not given it: Princess Mary (the future Queen Mary II), the eldest daughter of King James II, did not receive the title as she was already Princess of Orange, and Princess Sophia Dorothea, the only daughter of King George I, as she was already Queen of Prussia.
Here are all the women who were given the title "Princess Royal":
1642-1660 − Princess Mary (1631–1660): eldest daughter of King Charles I (d. 1649); wife (1641) of William II, Prince of Orange (1626–1650)
1727-1759 − Princess Anne (1709–1759): eldest daughter of King George II (d. 1760); wife (1734) of William IV, Prince of Orange (1711–1751)
1789-1828 − Princess Charlotte (1766–1828 ): eldest daughter of King George III (d. 1820); wife (1797) of Frederick I, King of Württemberg (1754–1816)
1841-1901 − Princess Victoria (1840–1901): eldest daughter of Queen Victoria (d. 1901); heiress presumptive 1840-1841; wife (1858 ) of Frederick III, German Emperor and King of Prussia (1831–1888 )
1905-1931 − Princess Louise (1867–1931): eldest daughter of King Edward VII (d. 1910); wife (1889) of Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife (1849–1912)
1932-1965 − Princess Mary (1897–1965): only daughter of King George V (d. 1936); wife (1922) of Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood (1882–1947)
1987–Present − Princess Anne (born 1950): only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II; wife firstly (1973–1992) of Mark Phillips (born 1948 ) and secondly (1992) of Timothy Laurence (born 1955)