Princess Anne’s naval officer husband, Timothy Laurence, has been steadfastly by her side as she followed her mother Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin into St Giles’ cathedral in Edinburgh today.
The highest ranking military in the royal family, he is the rock upon whom Princess Anne, often dubbed the hardest-working royal, has built her life since her second marriage, to Timothy, in 1992.
His support has been admirable and earnest throughout the Royal Family’s mourning period and is expected to continue ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday, September 19.
But who is Timothy Laurence? When did he marry Anne? And why do so many admire the couple’s long-standing relationship?
Who Is Mark Phillips, Princess Anne’s First Husband?
Princess Anne, the Queen’s second child and only daughter, met Mark Phillips, a military officer and fellow champion equestrian, at a party for horse lovers in Mexico City.
They wed in 1973 at Westminster Abbey, with the Princess Royal the first of the Queen’s four children to get married. Two thousand guests were present, 500 million watched on TV, and the day was celebrated as a national holiday.
Over a twenty-year marriage, they survived an armed kidnapping attempt and had two children, businessman Peter Phillips, 42, and Olympic equestrian Zara Tindall, 41 (wife of Rugby World Cup winner Mike Tindall). Long before Megxit, they opted not to give their children royal titles.
Mark and Anne’s marriage broke apart amid tabloid rumours of infidelity.
Who Is Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne’s Second Husband?
Timothy, a Navy man through and through, made a name for himself when he commanded the patrol boat HMS Cygnet, apprehending IRA gun-runners off Northern Ireland.
He was then a second Navigating Officer of the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia before serving as the Queen’s equerry (Her Majesty’s military adviser and right-hand man) between 1986 and 1989.
That’s when he met Princess Anne — while she was still married to Phillips.
Their relationship became known in April 1989 when letters from the Commander were stolen from Anne’s briefcase and given to newspapers.
Four months later Anne announced her separation from Mark Phillips.
Timothy was born in Camberwell, and attended the New Beacon Preparatory School, Sevenoaks School, Kent, before going to University College, University of Durham, on a naval scholarship to study geography.
When Did Princess Anne And Timothy Laurence Get Married?
Anne and Timothy married in a private service in front of just 30 guests at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral on 12 December 1992.
They chose to marry in Scotland because at that time, the Church of England did not allow divorced people to remarry in its churches while their former spouse was still alive (a problem that Charles and Camilla would also have to navigate).
Anne, dressed in a simple white suit with white blossoms in her hair, and Timothy, in a Royal Navy uniform, emerged from the church to cheers from about 500 well wishers. Among the guests were the Queen, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Peter, then 15, and Zara, then 11. It was a high point in a turbulent year for the Royal Family, with Charles announcing his separation from Diana in the same week.
Are Princess Anne And Timothy Laurence Still Married?
The Royal Family’s ‘invisible man’ has been a quiet strength and stay to ‘the best Queen we’ll never have’.
They previously lived in a flat they leased in Dolphin Square in London, but now live between an apartment at St James’s Palace and the 700-acre Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire (five main bedrooms, four secondary bedrooms, four reception rooms, a library, a billiard room, and a conservatory, since you ask).
They Have The Longest Marriage Of All The Living British Royals
Commander Timothy — now a retired vice-admiral and a knight — enjoys tennis, golf, sailing and field sports, and both are ardent Scotland rugby fans (the Princess Royal is patron of the Scottish rugby team).
She is a discreet, dependable and desirable patron for the more than 300 charities, military organisations and associations that she supports.