ICON | Princess Anne

photos via The Daily Mail, Angela San Cartier

By proving herself an expert horsewoman, it emerges that the princess was able to escape aspects of royalty that oppressed her, and against which she rebelled, when she was younger. She became the BBC’s sports personality of 1971 and competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games in the British three-day event team. “It was a way of proving that you had something that was not dependent on your family, a way of being judged on what you did rather than having even more assumptions made ...” She adds: “I like being professional. I’m annoyed at not doing things properly.”

There is dramatic film footage of her serious fall at Montreal, when, as Inverdale puts it, her horse Goodwill, seemed to go one way as he accelerated towards a fence, and she went the other. Though briefly concussed, she showed typical sangfroid and got back in the saddle but says she has no memory of competing the course – or even starting it. Today’s health and safety rules would never have allowed her to continue, she says wryly. “It’s a bit pathetic.” —an excerpt from The Telegraph's In Praise of the Princess Royal: Anne at 60

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