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Why Does Princess Anne Wear a Military Uniform?

Fact checked by Brain Bartell

why does Princess Anne wear a military uniform

Earlier this month, we saw the Royal Family gathered for the Queen’s birthday parade, also known as the Trooping the Color celebration. It was an incredible extravaganza with over 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians.

However, what caught most people’s eyes in the Royals Parade attendance was Princess Anne in military uniform. Many wondered, “Why does Princess Anne wear a military uniform?”

The short answer is because of her role as the Colonel of the Blues and Royals. For more details on how she came to presume this role, though, you would have to keep reading. So, go on!

A Bit of Background Context

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1. Who is Princess Anne?

Princess Anne is Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s second child and only daughter. She is 17th in line of succession. Anne has been Princess Royal since 1987.

She was born on August 15, 1950, in London, United Kingdom. As of writing this, she is 71 years old. Her full name is Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise.

Princess Anne is recognized as an icon of old-fashioned, good public service, as she has done more than 20 thousand engagements since she turned 18.

2. What is the Trooping the Color Celebration?

This is a ceremony for the Queen’s birthday. It is a 17-century-old tradition. There will be a big parade that showcases fanfare, military precision, and horsemanship. When watching the parade, you can expect the military band to perform, a lot of salutes, and even a gun salute towards the end.

You can watch this year’s Trooping the Color celebration in this video by ITV News.

Why Did Princess Anne Wear a Military Uniform to the Trooping the Color Celebration?

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As said above, Princess Anne wore a military uniform to the Trooping the Color celebration because she is the Colonel of the Blues and Royals.

1. What is “The Blues and Royals”?

The Blues and Royals is a cavalry regiment of the British Army. In some cases, it is referred to as the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons and had the nickname, “The Tin Bellies.” It has been active since March 29, 1969.

It has served in Northern Ireland, Germany, and Cyprus. It provided troops for the Falklands War of 1982 and a squadron in Bosnia between 1994 and 1995. And, more recently, the Blues and Royals regiment also participated in the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan.

2. Is Princess Anne the Colonel of the Blues and Royals? 

Princess Anne is the Colonel of the Regiment, which is a ceremonial title. She acts as a patron to the unit but does not have an operational role. Princess Anne is informed of all the important activities that the regiment undertakes and occasionally visits the operational units, though her key duty is maintaining a link between the Blues and Royals and the Royal Family.

  • Note: Princess Anne assumed this position in 1998.

So, what does this mean? How does it relate to her wearing a military uniform during the Queen’s birthday parade?

Per tradition, at any function where she comes as the Colonel of the Regiment, Princess Anne wears the regimental uniform with the full colonel rank insignia.

  • Fun Fact: As a member of the Royal Family, Princess Anne is also referred to as a Royal Colonel.

Going back to the opening question, “Why does Princess Anne wear a military uniform,” it was because of her title as the Colonel of the Blues and Royals Regiment that she wore the Royal military uniform at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Parade.

Here is a photo of Princess Anne at the parade in uniform:

You can also check out this photo series to get a glimpse of her wearing a military uniform on horseback at the parade here.

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As you can see, she also wears medals that she amassed during her service. Specifically, her uniform was adorned with:

  • The Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Platinum Jubilee Medals
    • The Silver Jubilee Medal – A commemorative medal that honors the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession.
    • The Gold Jubilee Medal – A commemorative medal that honors the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession.
    • The Diamond Jubilee Medal – A commemorative medal that honors the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession.
    • The Platinum Jubilee Medal – A commemorative medal that honors the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession.
  • The Most Noble Order of the Garter – An insignia to recognize those who have held public office, contributed to national life, or personally served the Sovereign. It looks like this:
  • The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle – An insignia to honor an order of chivalry, which is associated with Scotland. Here is what it looks like:
  • The Royal Victorian Order – It is awarded by the Queen for personal service or for service to the Monarchy. The Royal Victorian Order looks like this:

In comparison, here is a picture of young Queen Elizabeth’s military uniform:

And the general Blues and Royals uniform:

Now, the answer to the above question may lead you to another inquiry, “Did Princess Anne serve in the military?” Let’s answer that too!

Princess Anne has NOT served in the military.

Despite so, she holds many honorary military titles, such as:

  • The Admiral and Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy
  • The Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps
    • The Royal Army Veterinary Corps – An administrative and operational branch for animal provision, training, and care as part of the Army Medical Services.
  • The Royal Honorary Colonel of the University of London OTC
    • The University of London OTC – An Army Reserve unit that provides training and social, sports, and outdoor activity opportunities for students interested in getting to know military
  • The Commandant-in-Chief of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry
    • The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry – An all-female charity that provides nursing as well as intelligence work. It is also known as the Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps.
  • The Colonel-in-Chief of the King’s Royal Hussars
    • The King’s Royal Hussars – A Royal Armoured Corps regiment that is based in Tidworth. It is a part of the 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade.
  • The Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Corps of Signals
    • The Royal Corps of Signals – A combat support arms that provide communications and information systems for military operations.
  • The Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Brize Norton
    • The RAF Brize Norton – The largest Royal Air Force Station. It is currently home to 5,800 military personnel, 1,200 contractors, and 300 civilian staff.
  • The Commodore-in-Chief of HMNB Portsmouth
    • The HMNB Portsmouth – One of the three Royal Navy bases. It was built back in 1194 but still remains in use today.

Conclusion

Now, you know the answer to, “Why does Princess Anne wear a military uniform?” Hopefully, our article addressed your curiosity. If you found this informative and interesting, please leave a comment below. You are also welcome to leave other questions! We would love to hear from you. If your family or friends are also wondering about this matter, share our article with them!

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