When did Princess Anne get divorced?

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal and her husband Mark Phillips attend a garden fete at Great Somerford, Wiltshire, 21st June 1975. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Princess Anne and her husband Mark Phillips attend a garden fete in Wiltshire, 1975. (Getty Images)

Princess Anne's long-standing marriage to Sir Tim Laurence is well known: he was by her side every step of the way during the official mourning period for her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, recently. Anne's first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, is less familiar — particularly by young people — despite the fact that he is the father of her two children: Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall.

Glimpses of Anne and Mark's relationship have been recently resurrected in The Crown, Netflix's award-winning series about the House of Windsor.

Once, it was the stuff of scandalous, tabloid fodder: rumours of infidelity and separate lives abounded.

Princess Anne’s alleged affair with her personal protection officer was covered during season four but not all the details of the Princess Royal’s marriage were included in the show.

It’s likely that this time around at least some of the marital breakdown with Captain Mark Phillips will be dramatised onscreen, because it was a significant part of what the Queen called her ‘annus horribilis’ (horrible year) – 1992.

When and why Princess Anne got divorced in 10 points

British Royal Anne, Princess Royal, dressed in riding gear as she sits on horseback, lifting her fiance, British equestrian Captain Mark Phillips, with an unspecified man, also on horseback, at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead, an equestrian centre in West Sussex, England, July 1973. (Photo by McCarthy/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Anne on horseback with a friend laughing and attempting to lift her fiance Captain Mark Phillips, West Sussex, 1973. (Getty Images)

When did Princess Anne meet Mark Phillips? Princess Anne first met Mark Phillips in 1968, reportedly at an event in Mexico attended by horse lovers. Both Phillips and the Princess were competitive horse riders, so the shared interest was initially what brought them together.

Anne and Mark after announcing their engagement in 1973, Buckingham Palace (Getty Images)

When did they get engaged? The couple’s engagement was announced in May, 1973. In the years since they had met Anne had won BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award and Phillips had earned himself a gold medal at the Olympics in 1972, so far they seemed perfect for each other.

(Original Caption) LONDON: Princess Anne and Capt. Mark Phillips wave to cheering crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, Nov. 14th, after their wedding at Westminster Abbey.
Anne and Mark wave to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding, 1973. (Getty Images)

The Royal Wedding: The first of Queen Elizabeth’s children to get married, Anne’s marriage to Phillips was a big deal. The wedding took place on the 14th of November, 1973 at Westminster Abbey and was declared a bank holiday. Millions of people tuned in to watch on television.

Captain Mark Phillips and Princess Anne on the steps of the chapel at Windsor with their children, Zara and Peter Phillips. The Christmas Day Matins Service at St. George's Chapel is part of the traditional Royal Christmas holiday, which ends wit new year at Sandringham, Norfolk.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Mark and Anne on the steps of St. George's Chapel, Windsor with their children Peter and Zara on Christmas Day, in the 1980s. (Getty Images)

The Phillips family grows: Anne and Mark welcomed their first child, Peter, in 1977, and their second, Zara, in 1981. Mark hadn’t taken a title upon his marriage, so that meant both of their children wouldn’t have one either and would live as private citizens

Princess Anne, Captain Mark Phillips at the Planters International Cross Country Day at the Silvermere Equestrian Centre in Cobham, Surrey, 12th April 1980. They are there to compete in the event. Accompanying them is Anne's bodyguard Peter Cross of the Royal Protection Squad. (Photo by Geoff Bruce/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Princess Anne and Mark Phillips at the Silvermere Equestrian Centre, accompanied by bodyguard Peter Cross in 1980. (Getty Images)

Rumours abound: It wasn’t long before rumours about the couple’s marriage started circulating. Anne allegedly had an affair with her bodyguard Peter Cross in 1980. Cross sold his story to the newspapers after leaving the police force and divorcing his wife.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and her husband Mark Phillips out exercising their horses at the Crookham Horse Trials, circa 1980. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Princess Anne and her husband Mark Phillips out exercising their horses at the Crookham Horse Trials, circa 1980. (Getty Images)

Even in the face of adversity, Mark Phillips said the rumours of Anne’s affair were “rubbish and fantasy.” However, Cross talking to the press did serious damage to the public perception of the Princess Royal’s marriage.

Captain Mark Phillips, the husband of Princess Anne, in the pit lane ahead of the 1986 Australian Grand Prix at the Adelaide Street Circuit in Adelaide, Australia, 26th October 1986. (Photo by Bryn Colton/Getty Images)
Captain Mark Phillips at the Australian Grand Prix in 1986. (Getty Images)

Mark’s turn to be scrutinised, came in 1985 when he fathered a child – Felicity Tonkin – outside of his marriage. This was reportedly confirmed in 1991 by a paternity test. Phillips had indeed stepped out of his marriage with New Zealander, Heather Tonkin.

Princess Anne helping to launch the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Coram's Fields and the Harmsworth Memorial Playground in London. The playground, in the centre of London, was opened by the Queen Mother 50 years ago on the site of the Foundling Hospital, built by Captain Thomas Coram in the 1740s as a refuge for waifs and strays.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Princess Anne at an engagement celebrating Coram's Fields and Harmsworth Memorial Playground's Golden Jubilee in the mid-eighties, London. (Getty Images)

Distance doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder: Over time, people noticed that they spent much of their time apart. Anne was busy with her royal engagements and other duties and they often went abroad without each other, even notably during their 15th wedding anniversary.

Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips at the Royal Opera House in London.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Princess Anne and Mark Phillips at the Royal Opera House in London in the 1980s. (Getty Images)

Separation and scandal: In 1989, it was announced that they were separating, but would still live nearby one another. This came after The Sun revealed they had private letters addressed to Anne, the palace confirmed they were from Tim Laurence, the Queen’s Equerry.

STROUD, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 04: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Princess Anne, Princess Royal talks with husband Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence and ex-husband Mark Phillips as they attend the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on August 4, 2007 in Stroud, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Despite being divorced, Mark Phillips and Princess Anne still seem to get on well, pictured here with her second husband Tim Laurence, chatting at the Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe Park, August 2007. (Getty Images)

Annus Horribilis: In 1992, Mark and Anne officially divorced, and a few months later, Anne married Tim Laurence in Scotland. Although the divorce marked part of a difficult year for the Queen, Tim and Anne have been happily married ever since.