Princess Anne has warned younger members of the Royal Family against trying new things, telling them it’s best to stick to the basics, in an interview to mark her 70th birthday.
The comments may be seen as a swipe at her nephew Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who are starting their new lives in California, having stepped back from their roles as senior royals.
Anne, who is regarded as one of the hardest-working royals and frequently carries out the highest number of engagements of any senior royals, has become known for her no-nonsense attitude.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Anne called herself “the boring old fuddy-duddy at the back saying: ‘Don’t forget the basics’.”
She added: “I don’t think this younger generation probably understands what I was doing in the past and it’s often true, isn’t it?
“You don’t necessarily look at the previous generation and say: ‘Oh, you did that?’ Or: ‘You went there?’
“Nowadays, they’re much more looking for: ‘Oh, let’s do it a new way.’ And I’m already at the stage, ‘Please do not reinvent that particular wheel. We’ve been there, done that. Some of these things don’t work. You may need to go back to basics.’”
The interview was given before the coronavirus outbreak in the UK put an end to large gatherings and the engagements led by the royals, but after Harry and Meghan had made their plans to step back from their roles.
She did not mention any specific members of the family in the interview.
As senior royals, Harry and Meghan were carrying out duties and engagements as representatives of the Queen.
However, they decided they wanted to carve out a new path – only to find resistance from Buckingham Palace over how they could balance earning their own money and representing the Queen.
The couple no longer represent Her Majesty.
Anne, who is 14th in line to the throne and the only daughter of the Queen and Prince Philip, also spoke about her parents handing over some of the reins of their work as they get older.
She said: “I think both my father and my mother have, quite rightly, made decisions about, you know, ‘I can’t spend enough time doing this and we need to find somebody else to do it’, because it makes sense.
“I have to admit they continued being there for a lot longer than I had in mind, but we’ll see.”
Although Anne is the second oldest child of the Queen and Philip, she is bumped down the line by her brothers, and their children, as well as by Prince Harry’s son and Prince William’s children.
The Queen carried out more than 300 engagements and duties last year. She turns 94 next week.
Philip retired in 2017 and now spends most of his time in Sandringham. He and the Queen are currently both in Windsor Castle.
Anne has two children: Zara Tindall, who is married to former rugby player Mike Tindall, and Peter Phillips, who recently announced his divorce from his wife Autumn Phillips.
She has four grandchildren: Zara’s daughters Mia, six, and Lena, one, and Peter’s daughters Savannah, nine, and Isla, eight.
Despite Anne’s criticism of the methods of some of the royals, she was in her own way a trailblazer, opting not to give her children HRH titles when they were born.
Speaking to Vanity Fair about the decision, which means her children have not been in the limelight quite as much, she said: “I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles.
“So I think that was probably the right thing to do.”
Anne turns 70 on 15 August, and her mother is rumoured to be planning a party for her. Her brother Charles, also had a party for his 70th, held in Buckingham Palace.