The Royal Week: A Scare for Princess Anne, an Even Slimmer Monarchy Hosts Japan’s State Visit and a Swiftie Selfie Goes Viral

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, seen here at Royal Ascot 2024, is continuing recovery at home after suffering injuries from a run-in with her horse. Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

Coming off a brilliant family showing at Trooping the Colour, the Royal Family was dealt an unexpected blow earlier this week when Princess Anne had a run-in with a horse at her Gatcombe Park home. Suffering from a concussion and minor injuries, the Princess Royal was released from the hospital after five nights, and is now continuing her recovery at home. Because of the unfortunate event, Anne was unable to attend the state dinner for the Emperor and Empress of Japan at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. And she was forced to cancel her planned weekend trip to Saint John’s, Nfld., for the province’s Memorial Day ceremonies. 

Queen Camilla, Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, Japan’s Empress Masako and King Charles III ahead of a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace, London, June 25, 2024. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/POOL/AFP/Getty Images

 

A stalwart and steady hand in today’s slimmer than slim monarchy, her presence is already missed. Anne’s not called “the hardest-working royal,” for nothing, and regularly tops the annual list of most royal engagements. Her 212 total in 2023 is just a drop in the bucket of the 20,000 functions she’s attended since her 18th birthday. And no doubt, Anne has been picking up extra shifts lately with the King on lighter-than-normal duties due to his cancer treatments and the Princess of Wales recuperating from chemotherapy. In fact, Anne’s never been a fan of a slimmed-down monarchy, telling the CBC last year “it doesn’t sound like a good idea.” But she’s also loyal, and did her part in the transition from her mother’s reign to her brother’s, “For the rest of us, it’s more a question of ‘Okay, we have to shift the way we support.’ And that’s what we need to do.” 

Right now, support must be shifted to Anne. Her husband Vice-Admiral Tim Laurence brought her “treats” from home when she was in the hospital and her daughter Zara visited as well. The word on her progress is she’s “doing fine, slow but sure” which could really double for the way that the princess has lived her life: slow and dependable, sure and reliable. 

Royal Week
Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and Zara Tindall (inset) leave Southmead Hospital in Bristol where the Princess Royal is being treated, June, 2024. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images

 

Anne was her mother’s comfort and stay after Prince Phillips’ death and was by her side during the Queen’s final illness – later  accompanying the coffin at every stop from Balmoral until its final resting place at Windsor Castle. 

The princess has raised Zara and her older brother Peter without royal titles, in a manner as close to normal as royal grandchildren could ever be, primed to succeed away from the spotlight. Her own Olympic career (competing in Montreal in 1976) as an equestrian was echoed by her daughter’s silver-medal-winning turn at the 2012 Games. Anne is also renowned for her no-nonsense signature hair style and penchant for rewearing clothes over the decades, all symbolic of the royal image for careful personal spending. 

HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal aboard Goodwill during the Mixed Three-Day Event Team Cross-Country at the XXI Olympic Summer Games, July 24, 1976, Olympic Equestrian Centre, Bromont, Québec, Canada. Photo:  Getty Images

 

Meanwhile, back at the palace, all the gold cutlery and the best tiaras were out for a state dinner in honour of the Emperor and Empress of Japan. From their guests arrival Tuesday until their departure Thursday, the royals were on-hand to show their excellencies Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako around London. The empress was initially somewhat hidden from view,  wearing a mask during a carriage ride with the Queen, but it was later revealed that she has an allergy to horses.

At the state banquet, the King and Queen took centre stage, supported by Prince William, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and, to the delight of royal watchers, Princess Margaret’s grandson, Sam Chatto. The 27-year-old ceramics artist, and son of Lady Sarah Chatto and husband Daniel, is 29th in line to the throne, but is rarely seen in public. 

A Royal carriage carrying Queen Camilla and Empress Masako of Japan during the ceremonial welcome for the start of the State Visit to Britain by the Japanese Emperor and Empress, June 25, 2024, London, England. Photo: Peter Nicholls/Getty Images

 

 On arrival and at the banquet, Camilla and the Empress Masako both wore white, leaving Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, to make the bolder fashion statement in a stunning green gown by Suzannah London. She paired it with the Lotus Flower Tiara, which originally belonged to the Queen Mother and is a favourite of the Princess of Wales. Royal jewelry, while large and awe-inspiring, is also a subtle way that royal women can silently signal loyalty and tribute. And as Sophie and Edward increasingly fill an important role in the royal lineup, the duchess’ tiara was a sweet nod to how Kate’s absense is felt.

Ms Julia Longbottom (L), Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh and H.E. Mr. Hirofumi Nakasone (R) make their way along the East Gallery to attend the State Banquet for Emperor Naruhito and his wife Empress Masako of Japan at Buckingham Palace, June 25, 2024, London, England. Photo: Aaron Chown – WPA Pool/Getty Images

 

Camilla also brought out the bling with the ruby Burmese tiara, pairing it, for the first time, with the King’s Family Order. This brooch – which features a portrait of the monarch and is pinned to ribbon – is bestowed upon the sovereign’s female family members. And this was the first time in Charles’ reign that the 200-year-old tradition has been displayed.

Royal Week
Queen Camilla wearing the treasured Royal Family Order brooch for the first time in the King’s reign. Insets, left: Princess Anne wearing the jewel in 1988, and inset right, Princess Diana in 1983. Photos: Getty Images

 

The state visit also had some political undertones, as the seating arrangements for the British politicians, who are in the midst of an election, drew attention. Labour leader Keir Starmer, who received his knighthood from Charles in 2014, was seated beside the King’s chief of staff. Meanwhile, current PM Conservative Rishi Sunak, was put beside a computer scientist from his hometown. The royals do not interfere in politics, but there’s no harm in reading the tea leaves of palace seating plans.

Speaking of grabbing a good seat, we’ve spent all week marvelling at the Wales family outing to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour show on June 21, Prince William’s 42 birthday. It’s a news story no one is ready to shake off, thanks to the viral footage of William dancing to the hits – yes, he’s got spot-on Dad moves – and the cuteness of Princess Charlotte and Prince George beaming backstage in a selfie shared by the pop star herself.  

 

Royal Week
Photo: taylorswift/instagram

 

Even Swift’s boyfriend, NFL star Travis Kelce made royal news when he and his brother Jason dished about the VIPs on their podcast New Heights. Travis said meeting members of the royal family was a delight, calling William “the coolest m*****f*****.” Then Jason, father of three girls himself, chimed in with his impressions of Princess Charlotte, calling her (another expletive) adorable: “I cannot express how much of a superstar she was.” The two football players also discussed the protocols in meeting HRHs, saying they didn’t know if they should bow, curtsey or shake hands, but decided that since the concert was not a formal event, they could just talk to them like regular folks. Hopefully, without the profanity. 

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