Princess Anne opens up on why she didn't give her children titles and her love of horses in rare interview

By Heather Cichowski

Royals hardly ever part in personal interviews, and there are members of the Royal Family who are more private than others. So, it's quite a special treat for royal watchers to see that Princess Anne has opened up to Vanity Fair!

The Princess Royal appears on the cover of the magazine, gracing it with an elegant black-and-white portrait of her shot in 1969.

The Queen's daughter spoke to royal correspondent Katie Nicholl about her philanthropic work as well as her family, which includes children Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, for the May 2020 cover story.

MORE: Princess Anne pays tribute to late dog breeder in statement

Anne, who turns 70 on Aug. 15, explained her decision to not give Zara and Peter titles when they were born, which typically would have been offered by Her Majesty.

"I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles,” she said. “So I think that was probably the right thing to do.”

The Queen's only daughter showcased her fashion sense at a village fete in Great Somerford, Gloucestershire on June 21, 1975. Photo: © Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Anne, who is consistently named one of the hardest-working royals, provided rare insight on her life during a busy day of royal engagements in London, including a luncheon, the opening of a new biomedical imaging centre at University College London and her visit to the non-profit Camden Carers Centre.

She recalled her days as an equestrian and her passion for horses, which led her to be the first royal to compete in the Olympics. Anne was involved in the three-day equestrian event at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.

"I thought if I was going to do anything outside of the Royal Family, horses was likely to be the best way of doing it," Anne explained.

"But then you have to find the right horse at the right time. The original horse I rode was bred as a polo pony and should never have been an event horse, but it worked, so that was very satisfying. But I always knew it was going to be limited time."

Love of horses is consistent in the Royal Family. The Queen adores all things equine, and Anne's daughter Zara is also an Olympian and equestrian. Mia and Lena, Zara's daughters with Mike Tindall, are keen on horses, too.

"Certainly when they started their riding lives I was the extra hand," Anne divulged.

In March, Anne, Zara, Peter and a number of other British royals attended the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, the annual horse race which takes place at the Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire.

Anne, Zara and Archie McCoy, son of former jockey AP McCoy, looked like they had a fun time at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival! Photo: © Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images

Princess Charlotte has also reportedly expressed an interest in horses, and even was said to have wanted a pony for last Christmas!

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