21 looks that prove Princess Anne is the Royal Family’s unexpected style icon

·Fashion and Shopping Writer, Yahoo Life UK
·7-min read
Princess Anne's fashion has developed over the years to make her one of the most stylish – yet often overlooked – members of the Royal Family. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne's fashion has developed over the years to make her one of the most stylish – yet often overlooked – members of the Royal Family. (Getty Images)

There is an air of relaxation and confidence around Princess Anne that comes with being the second child of the Queen; public occasions and a comfortable life, but none of the pressures of being next-in-line to the throne.

As such, Princess Anne’s style is slightly more liberated than some of the members of the Royal Family around her generation.

Although often overlooked for some of the younger royal women, such as the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex, the Queen’s only daughter is actually one of the Royal Family’s true arbiters of style.

And when actor Erin Doherty took on the role of Princess Anne for the third and fourth seasons of Netflix’s The Crown, the public were able to see why, with an intimate look into the royal’s wardrobe through the years.

Vibrant coat dresses and headscarves follow in the footsteps of her mother, the Queen, whilst her ‘off-duty’ outfits feature subtle style influences from her equestrian career.

Watch: Princess Anne celebrates her 72nd birthday

The mother-of-two is also known for recycling outfits, such as her floral-print dress worn both to the wedding of the Prince of Wales in 1981 and the wedding of Lady Rose Windsor in 2008.

Noted for wearing bold patterns, puff sleeves and vibrant pops of colour, Anne is also the patron of the UK Fashion and Textile Association, and one of the few women in the Royal Family to regularly still wear her military uniform.

The Princess Royal has a knack for being ahead of the curve when it comes to trends, too. From straight-leg jeans and cowboy boots in the Sixties, to cool and casual loose-fitting shirts with high-waisted jeans in the Seventies, some of the princess’ outfits wouldn’t look out of place in 2022 on Hailey Bieber or Kendall Jenner.

And who could forget her iconic sunglasses? The sporty style lenses are synonymous with the Princess Royal and wouldn’t look out of place on a Balenciaga billboard.

As she celebrates her 72nd birthday, we look back at Princess Anne’s iconic wardrobe over the years.

21 of Princess Anne's best style looks

1952

Princess Anne laughing with Prince Charles
Princess Anne with her brother Prince Charles on his fourth birthday. (Getty Images)

Even from a young age you could see Princess Anne's free spirit, seen here laughing in a portrait taken of her and her older brother Prince Charles, as part of his official fourth birthday portraits.

1952

Princess Anne with her brother Prince Charles and their mother the Queen in the grounds of Balmoral Castle, Scotland in 1952. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne with her brother Prince Charles and their mother the Queen in the grounds of Balmoral Castle, Scotland in 1952. (Getty Images)

Princess Anna and Prince Charles with their mother the Queen in matching double-breasted knitted cardigans and velvet trousers whilst in the ground of Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

1954

Prince Charles, helps Princess Anne, the Princess Royal down the stairs in Windsor, in 1960. (Getty Images)
Prince Charles, helps Princess Anne, the Princess Royal down the stairs in Windsor, in 1960. (Getty Images)

Matchy-match was the modus operandi for the Queen's two eldest, wearing matching white patent shoes and sock, with peach coloured double-breasted coats.

1962

Princess Anne on holiday in Anjou, near La Chapelle-sur-Oudon, in 1962. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne on holiday in Anjou, near La Chapelle-sur-Oudon, in 1962. (Getty Images)

As the princess grew up, her individual style started to flourish, seen here in a white cotton summer dress whilst on holiday in France

1967

Princess Anne at Windsor Great Park to watch her father, Prince Philip, play polo, in 1967. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne at Windsor Great Park to watch her father, Prince Philip, play polo, in 1967. (Getty Images)

During her teens, Princess Anne's style was more inspired by her connections to equestrianism and loose-fitting checked shirts tucked into jeans became a go-to outfit of choice.

1968

Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Windsor Great Park in 1968. (Getty Images)
Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Windsor Great Park in 1968. (Getty Images)

From the straight-leg jeans, to the cowboy boots peeping out, to the layered shirt, jumper and wool coat, this look wouldn't look out of place if the Princess Royal wore it today, 54 years later.

1969

Princess Anne at the opening ceremony of the new Police Cadet Training School in the early Seventies. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne at the opening ceremony of the new Police Cadet Training School in the early Seventies. (Getty Images)

Princess Anne was even able to make subtle nods to her equestrian side when attending public events, like this silk scarf tucked in to the buttoned-up collar of her coat.

1969

Princess Anne at the Bath and West Agricultural Show with members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in 1969. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne at the Bath and West Agricultural Show with members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in 1969. (Getty Images)

The Queen's only daughter can still take after her mother from time to time, here opting for her tactic of brightly coloured coat dresses.

1970

Princess Anne posing for official photos at Sandringham, Norfolk, aged 19. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne posing for official photos at Sandringham, Norfolk. (Getty Images)

The cropped double-breasted wool coat style was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, proving that the princess knows what she's doing when it comes to trends.

1971

Princess Anne at the Badminton Horse Trials in South Gloucestershire,1971. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne at the Badminton Horse Trials in South Gloucestershire,1971. (Getty Images)

A tucked in neck scarf became one of Anne's go-to styling tricks.

1971

Princess Anne on tour in Africa, in 1971. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne on tour in Africa, in 1971. (Getty Images)

But she also embraced the more feminine trends of the time, seen here in a patterned sleeveless A-line mini dress.

1973

Princess Anne in Berlin for the Queen's Birthday Parade, in 1973. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne in Berlin for the Queen's Birthday Parade, in 1973. (Getty Images)

This aquamarine outfit worn by Princess Anne in Berlin in 1973, became one of the key images for The Crown's costume department to get right.

1973

Princess Anne on her wedding day to her first husband Mark Phillips, with her younger brother Prince Edward, and cousin Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne on her wedding day to her first husband Mark Phillips, with her younger brother Prince Edward, and cousin Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones. (Getty Images)

Princess Anne's Tudor-style wedding dress with a princess line, trumpet sleeves and a seven-foot-long train featured almost every trend from the 1970s. The dress, created by Maureen Baker, the chief designer at Susan Smalls, sported white silk chiffon undersleeves edged with pearls and jewels.

1975

Princess Anne at a formal event in 1975. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne at a formal event in 1975. (Getty Images)

A classic look from the princess as her clashing prints are anchored by her smart hat and matching pearl-string necklace and earrings.

1976

Princess Anne, attends a formal event wearing long coat with fur details in 1976. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne, attends a formal event wearing long coat with fur details in 1976. (Getty Images)

Princess Anne wearing a form-fitting coat dress with furry sleeves and neckline, with a pill-box hat that has become a go-to millinery style. for many of the female royals.

1981

Princess Anne at the wedding of her sister-in-law whilst pregnant with Zara Tindall (neé Philips). (Getty Images)
Princess Anne at the wedding of her sister-in-law whilst pregnant with Zara Tindall (neé Philips). (Getty Images)

Even pregnant with her second child, the Princess Royal couldn't help but look chic, with this cream cape coat subtly hitting her baby bump.

1990

Princess Anne during a visit to Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia in 1990. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne during a visit to Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia in 1990. (Getty Images)

As aforementioned Princess Anne is a royal who moves with the times, seen here in a typically late Eighties, early Nineties skirt suit with puffed power sleeves.

2017

Princess Anne at the Commissioning Ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth at HM Naval Base in 2017. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne at the Commissioning Ceremony of HMS Queen Elizabeth at HM Naval Base in 2017. (Getty Images)

Princess Anne is one of the few female members of the Royal Family who still wears her military uniform to appropriate. public appearances.

2020

Princess Anne, making a speech as she hands out the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design presentation during London Fashion Week February 2020. (Getty Images)
Princess Anne, making a speech as she hands out the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design presentation during London Fashion Week February 2020. (Getty Images)

As patron of the UK Fashion and Textile Association, Princess Anne will often attend fashion shows and events on behalf of her mother, the Queen.

2022

Princess Anne at the Platinum Pageant on The Mall in celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, 2022. Getty Images)
Princess Anne at the Platinum Pageant on The Mall in celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, 2022. Getty Images)

The Princess Royal wore a cream and navy checked blazer for the Platinum Party in honour of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, but also wouldn't be seen without her silk neck scarf and brooch.