The Crown: How did Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence meet?

The Princess Royal has been married to her second husband since 1992

Kate Ng
Thursday 17 November 2022 16:06 GMT
The Crown Season 5 trailer

Netflix’s wildly popular royal drama,The Crown, has returned for a fifth season with a whole new cast.

As fans watch the next chapter of the British royal family’s lives unfold in the fictional drama, they bid goodbye to Erin Doherty as Princess Anne and welcome Claudia Harrison into the role.

The new season of The Crown focuses largely on how the late Queen Elizabeth II dealt with what she called her annus horriblis (Latin for “horrible year”), the year 1992.

Between the huge fire that gutted large parts of Buckingham Palace, and her son Charles and Princess Diana’s unfixable marriage problems, the Queen had her hands full of drama.

But by the end of the year, there was cause for celebration as Princess Anne married Sir Timothy Laurence, following her divorce from Captain Mark Phillips.

Anne and Timothy’s beginnings were considered scandalous despite rumours circulating that both Anne and Phillips had extramarital affairs while still married. However, Anne’s romance with Timothy was exposed in 1989 when love letters sent from him to her were stolen and her marriage came to an end shortly after.

Here’s everything you need to know about how Anne and Timothy’s relationship.

How did Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence meet?

Although it is not known exactly when Anne met Timothy, he has been in the orbit of the royal family for quite some time.

Timothy became an equerry to Queen Elizabeth II in 1986, having previously served in a Royal Navy. Two years later, he was made one of just three trustee on The Princess Anne’s Charities trust, an appointment that one source told People showed “Anne’s affection for him”.

Timothy Laurence and Princess Anne arrive at the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral on June 03, 2022 (Getty Images)

At the time, Anne was still married to her first husband Captain Mark Phillips, who she wed on 14 November 1973. They went on to have two children, Peter and Zara Phillips, before their marriage began to break down.

In 1985, Phillips fathered a child with another woman, Heather Tonkin, with a paternity test confirming his DNA in 1991. He also had several “semi-public affairs” with other women, as per reports, while Anne was rumoured to have had romances with an actor, Anthony Andrew, and her bodyguard, Peter Cross.

In the fourth season of The Crown, Anne and Cross’ relationship was alluded to during a scene where the princess spoke with her mother about her unhappiness in her marriage.

In a private conversation, the Queen (played by Olivia Colman) tells her daughter that Scotland Yard are considering reassigning Cross back to “desk duties”, to which Anne replies: “Don’t do that to me. You can’t. He’s the only thing that makes me happy.” However, Anne has never acknowledged the rumours of her relationship with Cross or Andrew publicly.

How did Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence’s relationship become public?

Towards the end of March 1989, it was reported that Anne and Timothy’s love letters had been stolen from her desk or briefcase. The contents were revealed to The Sun the following month.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and and her husband Sir Timothy Laurence are pictured during Cazoo Derby meeting at Epsom Racecourse on June 04, 2022 (Getty Images)

A source who claimed to have read the letters told People: “It’s quite clear that he is potty about her, but they are very boring and ramble on.

“They are the sort of letters 18 or 19-year-olds write to one another, thoughts about life and rather philosophical.”

After The Sun claimed it had obtained the stolen letters, the newspaper did not publish its contents or reveal the authors, but instead turned them over to Scotland Yard.

But it was Buckingham Palace that revealed that the letters belonged to Anne and Timothy. The palace said in a statement: “The stolen letters were addressed to the Princess Royal by Commander Timothy Laurence, the Queen’s Equerry. We have nothing to say about the contents of personal letters sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend which were stolen and which are the subject of a police investigation.”

Later that same year, in August, Anne and Phillips announced their separation. Anne filed for an uncontested divorce in 1992, the same year her brother Charles and Diana divorced.

When did Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence marry?

Commander Tim Laurence and Britain’s Princess Anne are seen in their car after their wedding at Crathie Church 12 December 1992 in Scotland (AFP via Getty Images)

Just a month after her divorce from Phillips, Anne confirmed her relationship with Timothy by attending the Royal Caledonian Ball and dancing together.

On 12 December, they tied the knot at Balmoral in Scotland. Zara and Peter attended the wedding and the late Duke of Edinburgh walked Anne down the aisle. Only about 30 guests were in attendance.

The couple have been together ever since.

The Crown season five is on Netflix now.

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