Princess Anne: How costumes from The Crown compare to what the royal really wore

Royal's striking fashion sense is a real focal point of the series 

Sarah Young
Saturday 15 August 2020 08:00 BST

When you think about royal style icons Princess Diana, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are all likely to register highly on your sartorial radar. But for too long, another member of the royal family has remained underappreciated in the fashion stakes: Princess Anne.

It was perhaps the third season of The Crown that really woke up the world to the Princess Royal’s wardrobe. Kicking off in the mid-sixties along with a new cast, including Olivia Colman as Elizabeth and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, the series explored the coming of age of the Queen’s only daughter.

Erin Doherty, who portrays Anne in the series bears a striking resemblance to the royal, and her on-screen wardrobe also works as a perfect homage to her timeless style, which was often considered risqué in comparison to her other family members.

Ingrid Seward, the editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, once wrote: “Princess Anne, as a teenager, enjoyed dressing daringly, choosing to wear very short skirts, much to the chagrin of her grandmother, the Queen Mother.”

Princess Anne recently admitted to watching episodes of the hit Netflix show, saying she found the series, "quite interesting". The Princess Royal referred to an interview with Erin Doherty who portrays Anne in The Crown, in which Doherty commented that it could take as long as two hours for the stylists on set to perfect her Princess Anne hairstyle. Princess Anne joked about the comments, stating in an interview with upcoming ITV documentary, Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, "How could you possibly take that long? I mean it takes me 10 or 15 minutes.”

So, hair aside, just how accurately did the series represent Princess Anne’s wardrobe?

Speaking about how fashion was used in the series to show the royal as “the more independent one in the family”, costume lead Amy Roberts said, as the youngest family member, Anne delivered the ultimate sixties silhouette with everything from mini skirts to polo necks.

“I don't think she represented the wild sixties. But the mini-skirts — the short skirts — that she wore, represented the Sixties in a kind of posh-girl way,” Roberts previously told Fashionista.

“There's a little shot of her [in episode six], when she visits her brother, when he's performing the play and she's in the audience. She's got Sixties baker boy cap on, but there's nothing extreme about her. It's sort of sensible. It's getting that balance of that youthful brashness, but still she's a princess.”

Here, we take a look at some of Princess Anne’s best looks from the series and how they were designed to match real-life moments, down to the colour and the detail.

Statement millinery

(Getty / Des Willie / Netflix)
(Getty / Des Willie / Netflix)

Princess Anne attended the investiture of her brother, Prince Charles, as Prince of Wales at Caernarvon Castle, in Wales 1969.

For the occasion, the royal opted for an aqua blue skirt suit with a bejewelled brooch and large turquoise pillbox designed by John Boyd.

The outfit was recreated for an episode of The Crown in great detail, from the addition of a contrasting yellow blouse peeking through Anne’s jacket to the white ruffles and giant circle of turquoise that decorated the royal’s hat.

Balloon sleeves and retro prints

(Getty / Des Willie / Netflix)
(Getty / Des Willie / Netflix)

This photograph of Princess Anne and her then-fiance Captain Mark Phillips attending the London premiere of the film Jesus Christ Superstar in 1973, appears to have inspired a similar version in the third series of The Crown.

While the original dress featured a ruffled high neck, balloon sleeves and a colourful floral print, the one worn by Doherty was given a much shorter hem and an oversized pointed collar.

Boat necks and bright colours

(Rex / Des Willie / Netflix)
(Rex / Des Willie / Netflix)

During her early twenties, Princess Anne used fashion to make bold statements and often opted for bright colours.

In The Crown, the royal can be seen wearing a number of vivid colours, from duck egg blue, to canary yellow and scarlet red. The use of bright colours was often tempered with more polished silhouettes such as long sleeves, pleated skirts and boat neck collars, many of which are making their way back into fashion right now.

The skirt suit

(Rex / Des Willie / Netflix)
(Rex / Des Willie / Netflix)

Over the years, Princess Anne has developed a signature look that involves a statement hat with a tailored skirt suit.

In one episode of The Crown, we see the first real signs of the signature ensemble as she dresses in a blush pink jacket that is decorated with floral embroidery and pearl buttons. The ensemble echoes a number of the royal’s real outfits that saw her defy traditional ideas of royal style.

Speaking of the pink floral skirt suit she wore while portraying Princess Anne in the hit series, Doherty said that Princess Anne’s outfit choices made her feel “bangin’”.

“There was this pink suit that was just gorgeous,” she told Harpers Bazaar. ”I'm a suit girl, and Anne just rocks it. I just felt bangin'! I was like, this is great.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in