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.