Princess Anne mucks in! ‘You can’t imagine Meghan or Kate doing that’

Jubilee: Princess Anne and Prince Edward arrive at St Paul's

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The Princess Royal attended the Epsom Derby on Saturday as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The Queen herself decided to pull out of the event, and will instead watch the races on TV. Her Majesty has been experiencing “episodic mobility issues” in recent months, and following her Trooping the Colour appearances, she admitted to feeling “some discomfort”. The Queen has missed the races — one of her favourite fixtures in the royal calendar — just twice before during her 70-year reign. 

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This time, however, she will leave the official aspect of the event to her daughter. 

Anne has long been praised for her dedication to service, with one royal expert claiming she has always been “a rule unto herself” in the world of working royals, and a neighbour recalling an incident when the royal mucked in and helped sort out the parking at a horse show. 

Robert Lacey, the Daily Beast contributor and royal historian who acts as a historical consultant for the popular Netflix series The Crown, has previously claimed that Anne, while she has carved out her individual approach to royal service, has also set a precedent for the modern royal work style. 

Mr Lacey told The Daily Beast that Anne “has always been a rule unto herself, and has very much helped set the modern, professional hard-working style”.

A neighbour of the Princess Royal added to this, telling the publication: “Anne’s pretty unconcerned about what people do or don’t think of her.

“I remember arriving at a horse show once and she was doing the parking. You can’t imagine Meghan or Kate doing that!”

Anne is joined by other members of the Royal Family at Saturday’s races, including her husband, Timothy Laurence, and daughter, Zara Tindall.

The Royal Derby is being broadcast live on ITV, with the big race set to start at 4.30pm. 

Phil White, London regional director for The Jockey Club, spoke about the monarch’s absence on Friday, saying: “It is a rare occasion that the Queen is unable to join us at Epsom Downs but we are delighted she plans to enjoy Derby Day on television.

“We have big plans to celebrate Her Majesty’s contribution to horse racing and the nation, and these will continue in full tomorrow.

“The Derby is a unique race and we are looking forward to welcoming people in their thousands to help us create a spectacular carnival atmosphere.”

Her passion for horses and horse racing was referenced during Friday’s Service of Thanksgiving for the monarch and her service. 

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In his sermon, The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell compared the monarch’s well-known love of horse racing to her long reign; he thanked Her Majesty for “staying the course” and suggested her reign “reflects the distance of Aintree more than the sprints of Epsom”.

His comparison received laughs from the likes of Zara and Mike Tindall, who often attend the Grand National, and a giggle from Sophie, Countess of Wessex. 

Princess Anne even revealed her amusement, letting a grin slip out before raising her eyebrow as the joke played out. 

Soon after the service, Anne rushed to Scotland to carry out further Platinum Jubilee celebrations; she was joined by her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, on a visit to Edinburgh Zoo. 

Her packed schedule once again points to the well-known and respected work ethic of the princess. 

Princess Anne is likely to be warmly welcomed at the races as an avid horse racing fan herself. 

As the daughter of the Queen, who nurtured her own lifelong love affair with horses, and Prince Philip, who excelled at polo, it is surprising that Anne became intimately acquainted with equines by toddlerhood.

She became a respected equestrian, winning one gold medal in 1971 and two silver medals in 1975 at the European Eventing Championships.

In 1976, she made history by becoming the first member of the Royal Family to have competed in the Olympic Games.

Anne joined her older brother, Prince Charles and nephew, Prince William to take the salute as they rode on horseback during Trooping the Colour as colonels of the Welsh Guards, the Irish Guards and the Blues and Royals.

It was the first time the three senior royals had carried out the duty, as it had previously been taken by the Queen. 

However, Her Majesty delegated the task to the trusted members of her family, and instead watched from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, alongside her cousin, the Duke of Kent.

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