Princess Anne spends second night in hospital with minor head injury

The Princess is seen wearing ceremonial clothes for Trooping the Colour this year
The Princess at Trooping the Colour, one of many royal engagements she has carried out this year - Justin Ng/Avalon

The Princess Royal spent a second night in hospital after suffering minor injuries to her head and concussion when it is believed she was kicked by a horse on her Gatcombe Park estate.

The Princess, a skilled horsewoman who competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, was walking on her Gloucestershire estate on Sunday evening when she was injured.

An air ambulance and other emergency services were sent to the estate and, after being treated at the scene, the Princess was transferred to Southmead Hospital in Bristol by road for tests, treatment and observation.

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, and Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, broke away from election campaigning to send the Princess their best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Monday: “The Princess Royal has sustained minor injuries and concussion following an incident on the Gatcombe Park estate yesterday evening.

“Her Royal Highness remains in Southmead Hospital, Bristol, as a precautionary measure for observation and is expected to make a full and swift recovery.

“The King has been kept closely informed and joins the whole royal family in sending his fondest love and well-wishes to the Princess for a speedy recovery.”

The Princess wearing a blue jacket and hat in 2019
The Princess is a keen horsewoman with a no-nonsense reputation - Mega

The 73-year-old is understood to be awake but, because of her concussion, precise details of the incident cannot be ascertained at this stage.

Although the exact cause of the injuries is unconfirmed, the Princess’s medical team have said her head injuries are consistent with a potential impact from a horse’s head or legs.

It is understood the Princess was walking within the protected perimeter of Gatcombe Park estate when the incident occurred, and no other individual is believed to have been involved.

Her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, who was on the estate at the time, went with her to hospital.

‘Comfortable condition’

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Her Royal Highness is recovering well, is in a comfortable condition and is being kept in hospital as a precautionary measure for further observation.”

The spokesman added: “Her Royal Highness is receiving appropriate expert care. No further details are being shared at this stage.

“Her Royal Highness will remain in Southmead Hospital unless or until her medical team advise otherwise.”

The Princess’s daughter, Zara Tindall, and son, Peter Phillips, were also on the estate at the time, but it is not known who raised the alarm.

The princess’s injury is the latest health upset to the hit the royal family this year, with both the King and the Princess of Wales diagnosed with and undergoing treatment for cancer, and the Duchess of York having skin cancer.

The Princess will now miss several engagements this week, including the banquet for the Japanese state visit on Tuesday and an overseas tour to Canada, which was due to start this weekend.

Japanese visit goes ahead

A Palace spokesman said: “On doctors’ advice, Her Royal Highness’s engagements for the week ahead will be postponed. Her Royal Highness sends her apologies to any who may be inconvenienced or disappointed as a result.

The Japanese state visit will go ahead as planned, though sadly Her Royal Highness will be unable to attend the state banquet tomorrow.”

The Princess is a key member of the King’s slimmed-down working monarchy, and has played an important role as she stepped up in support of Charles after his diagnosis.

Often dubbed the hardest-working royal, she is known for her no-nonsense approach and her commitment to royal duty.

At Trooping the Colour earlier this month, she was pictured expertly keeping her horse under control when it appeared agitated.

The Princess won the individual championship at Burghley in 1971 and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

In 1976, she took part in the Montreal Olympics as a three-day eventer with the British equestrian team.

The Princess survived an attempted kidnapping in 1974 when a gunman tried to abduct her and Captain Mark Phillips, her husband at the time, as they were driven along The Mall to Buckingham Palace.

She kept her cool, and when the gunman, Ian Ball, told her to “come with me for a day or two” because he wanted £2 million, she replied it was not “bloody likely, and I haven’t got £2 million”.