Thursday, 14 May 2015

144 The Wedding of HRH The Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips

First  watched :  14  November  1973

This  wasn't  quite  the  first  televised  royal  wedding - that  was  Princess  Margaret's  back  in  1960  - but  it  was  the  first  of  my  lifetime  and  the  first  to  be  broadcast  in  colour. I  remember  getting  the  day  off  school  because  of  it  though  I could  have  sworn  it  was  a  Thursday  rather  than  a  Wednesday. I  guess  that's  because  most  of  my  one  day  holidays  were  for  Catholic  Holy  Days  of  Obligation  which  were  nearly  always  on  a  Thursday  ( such  as  today - Ascension  Day - now  I  come  to  think  of  it.)

I  guess  this  is  when  I  first  began  to  identify  the  individual  royals  and  became  aware  of  the  line  of  succession  with  Princess  Anne  taking  her  place  behind  the  three  boys.  I  don't  think  I  watched  too  much  of  the  ceremony  to  be  honest  but  I  certainly  recall  it  as  an  event.

Besides  being  a  telly  event  it  was  the  first  royal-commoner  marriage  for  some  time and  set  a  bit  of  a  precedent  in  that  way  as  all  three  of  her  brothers  would  follow  suit. Phillips  was  an  army  captain  and  Anne  met  him  during  the  Munich  Olympics  where  he  won  a  gold  medal  for  show-jumping  , a  year  after  the  BBC  toe-curlingly  made  her  Sports  Personality  of  the  Year.

The  marriage  seemed  to  go  reasonably  well  , producing  two  children, until  1985  when  Phillips  had  a  daughter  with  another  woman  as  proved  by  a  paternity  test  in  1991. The  couple  separated  in  1989  and  got  divorced  in  the  annus  horriblis   of   1992   although  this  was  little  noticed  amid  the  Squidgytape  and  toesucking  revelations. She  married  again  almost  immediately  to  a navy  commander  though  had  to  do  it  in  a  private  ceremony  in  Scotland  to  avoid  an  awkward  dilemma  for  the  Church  of  England.  I  don't  think  I  even  noticed  it  at  the  time. She  remains  the  most   respected  of  the  queen's  children  for  her  charitable  endeavours  despite  a   well-attested   grumpy  and   haughty  personality.  He, still  a  major  player  in  equestrian  circles,   remarried  somewhat  later  though  is  in  the  process  of  a  divorce  and  bonking  a  woman  25  years  younger.

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