Princess Anne cautions younger royals against 'new ways' – as Harry and Meghan begin new life

TAUNTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 25:  Princess Anne, Princess Royal officially opens the UK Hydrographic Office headquarters on April 25, 2019 in Taunton, England. As the UKHO enters its next chapter and continues to be an important, data-led geospatial organisation for the UK, the new headquarters will provide a creative working environment for its 850 staff. The state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly building replaces the existing buildings on the site in Admiralty Way, Taunton. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
Princess Anne gave an interview ahead of her 70th birthday. (Getty Images)

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?

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MAY 18: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Princess Anne, Princess Royal, leave after the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston at St George's Chapel on May 18, 2019 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Frank Augstein - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Harry with Princess Anne at Lady Gabriella Windsor's wedding. (Getty Images)
Horse Racing - Royal Ascot - Ascot Racecourse, Ascot, Britain - June 20, 2019   Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne arrive by horse and carriage on ladies day   Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne arrive by horse and carriage on ladies day at Ascot. (Reuters)

“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.’”

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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.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Princess Anne, Princess Royal attend the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank at St. George's Chapel on October 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Owen Humphreys - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan talk to Anne during Eugenie's wedding. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne in the grounds of Sandringham, before the 1969 Royal Tour of Australia and New Zealand. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Princess Anne in the grounds of Sandringham in 1969. (Getty Images)

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.

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CHELTENHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Andrew Parker Bowles, Zara Tindall and Princess Anne, Princess Royal attend day 1 'Champion Day' of the Cheltenham Festival 2020 at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 10, 2020 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Anne is close to old flame Andrew Parker Bowles and her daughter Zara. (Getty Images)
Scotland's Stuart Hogg receives the Auld Alliance Trophy from Princess Anne,. The Princess Royal during the Guinness Six Nations match at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
Anne's duties include sporting occasions with the Scotland rugby team. (Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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STROUD, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 03: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Princess Anne, Princess Royal and granddaughters Isla Phillips, Mia Tindall and Savannah Phillips attend day 2 of the 2019 Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on August 3, 2019 in Stroud, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Princess Anne with Savannah, Isla and Mia in Gatscombe. (Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Princess Anne, Princess Royal presents Rosh Mahtani for Alighieri jewellery line with The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design during London Fashion Week February 2020 on February 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images for BFC)
Anne also covers fashion events at London Fashion Week. (Getty Images for BFC)

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.

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