When many of us first think of Royal couples, we’ll usually think of Prince William and Kate Middleton, King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, or the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.
But one of the most enduring marriages within the Royal family that often escapes public attention is that of Princess Anne and her naval officer husband Commander Timothy Laurence.
With many people now taking an interest in the steadfast husband that supported his grieving wife on Monday as she followed her mother, the Queen’s coffin into St Giles' cathedral in Edinburgh, we take a closer look at the couple’s history together.
Who is Mark Phillips, Princess Anne’s first husband?
Prior to meeting Timothy, Princess Anne was married to Mark Phillips, a military officer and fellow horse lover, after they hit it off in Mexico City. Both champion equestrians in their own right, the two embarked on a relationship together before tying the knot in 1973.
Around 2000 guests were present at the ceremony, with millions of viewers tuning it at home on TV as the occasion was marked as a national holiday.
During the course of their twenty year marriage, they survived an armed kidnapping attempt and had two children together, businessman Peter Phillips, 42, and Olympic equestrian Zara Tindall, 41, who went on to marry rugby star Mike Tindall.
The pair parted ways after rumours began circulating in the papers of infidelity.
Who is Commander Timothy Laurence, her second husband?
Naval man Timothy was a career driven officer who first made a name for himself when he commanded the patrol boat HMS Cygnet, while apprehending IRA gun-runners off Northern Ireland.
Born in Camberwell, he studied at New Beacon Prep School and Sevenoaks School before reading Geography at University College, University of Durham, while on a naval scholarship.
After an impressive few years in the Navy, including on the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia, he then went on to serve as the Queen’s equerry (a special military adviser and right-hand man for the monarch) between 1986 and 1989 – it was while in this role that he first met the Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne.
The pair fell in love and began a relationship together, however Anne was still married to Mark at the time, with the couple’s relationship only becoming public after letters were stolen from Anne’s briefcase and leaked to the press.
Around four months after the letters were leaked in April 1989, Anne and Mark formally announced they were parting ways,
When did Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence get married?
The couple married in a far more intimate service by comparison to her previous wedding, with just 30 guests in attendance at the private ceremony held in December 1992.
The pair said ‘I do’ in Scotland, as the rules in place at the time meant that the Church of England would not allow divorcees to remarry in a church while their previous spouse was still alive.
Dressed for the occasion in a simple white suit, Anne wore several white blossoms in her hair as she walked down the aisle, with the pair emerging to the sound of cheers from 500 well wishers following the ceremony.
Among the guests in attendance were the Queen, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Peter, then 15, and Zara, then 11.
In the same week as the wedding, King Charles, then the Prince of Wales also announced his separation from Princess Diana, signalling a great period of change for the stability of the Royal family.
Are Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence still married?
Despite not often being in the public eye, the couple are still very much together, with Timothy most recently seen supporting his wife after the tragic news of her mother’s death last week.
The couple live happily together between an apartment at St James’s Palace and the 700-acre Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire.
Thanks to Anne’s continued commitment to serve as a working royal, the couple are frequently engaged in various charitable and publicly driven endeavours, with the Princess Royal alone acting as a patron for more than 300 charities, military organisations and associations.
They currently hold the longest marriage of any living royal couple.
This week, OK! celebrates the life of Her Majesty the Queen with a commemorative special in honour of Britain’s longest reigning monarch. Be sure to pick up your copy.
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