Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips have opened up about their mother’s relationship with their daughters in a sneak peek ahead of ITV’s much awaited documentary on the Princess Royal airing tonight.
Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, airing tonight at 9pm, offers a complete portrait of the Queen’s only daughter’s life through interviews with her children, friends, husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy James Hamilton Laurence and Anne herself, talking from her country residence of Gatcombe Park.
Zara, 39, shares Mia Grace, six, and Lena Elizabeth, two with husband Mike. Peter, 42, is father to Savannah, nine and Isla, eight, and the siblings said that their mother loves to have their daughters over for lunch on Sundays – joing it proves very convenient for them.
However, the Princess Royal, who will turn 70 on August 15, quipped that her family has yet to take her up on her offer of home-schooling and ‘outdoor learning’ for the children.
Peter Phillips, 42, is Princess Anne’s oldest child and the father of Savannah, nine and Isla, eight (pictured at the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in 2018)
Zara Tindall, 39, who married Mike Tindall in 2011, is mother to Mia Grace, six and Lena Elizabeth, two (pictured at Gatcombe Park in 2018)
Princess Anne’s children, who do not hold royal titles and work for a living, said they liked to make the most of living close to their mother’s by leaving their daughters to her supervision once in a while.
‘She loves seeing them ride, she loves having them around for Sunday lunches,’ Peter said.
‘Doing all the sorts of stuff we used to do as kids; she now takes them to do this sort of things,’ he added.
‘We quite like leaving them on Sundays. We’ll say “We’ll pick them up later, bye”,’ Zara joked.
The two siblings, who both work for a living and do not hold titles, joked they liked to leave their kids to their mothers on Sunday to catch a break from parenthood
And while the four girls love to visit her, Princess Anne joked her offers to help them with their home-work during covid-19 had fallen on deaf ears.
The family has resumed visit after lockdown rules were eased in June and July.
‘They face the same challenges as everybody else in terms of home-schooling. And I think that’s a challenge wherever you are,’ she said.
‘I offered them some outdoor learning but so far it hasn’t been taken up on,’ she smiled.
Peter Phillips said Anne loved to look after her granddaughters and do ‘the sort of stuff’ she would with her own children when they were young
‘When I was small, we had to pick things and then press them and identify them. And I don’t think anybody does that anymore and I was thinking “Oh, it might be a good idea if we started doing that again”,’ she said.
‘But so far I haven’t seen a hide nor hair of them for that suggestion,’ she added.
Anne was taught at home by Catherine Peebles, a governess who also held classes for her brother the Prince of Wales, but the princess asked the Queen to go to school and in 1963 was sent to Benenden a boarding School for girls in Kent.
Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips have opened up about their mother’s relationship with their respective daughters in a sneak peek ahead of ITV’s much awaited documentary on the Princess Royal airing tonight at 9pm ahead of her 70th birthday
An old school friend of Anne’s, Sandra de Laszlo, told the story of their secret trips to the chippy.
She said: ‘There was a really lovely security officer and we did lead him a bit of a dance. It was rather fun to break out of school and go to the fish and chip shop and try to escape this loyal detective who was supposed to be looking after her.
‘And, anyway we did that a few times. She was a very normal teenager. She was sensible and fun.’
Anne was followed for more than a year by film-makers for the documentary, which will feature unseen family footage and conversations with the princess herself, her children and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.
The princess also discusses the attempted armed kidnap she endured in 1974, and those closest to her speak about the highs and lows of her life.
The Princess royal quipped her offers to home-school her granddaughters and do some ‘outdoor learning’ had fallen on deaf ears
Anne’s children famously do not have the title princess or prince like their cousins, and work for a living.
Zara said in the documentary: ‘I think it made us fight harder as well, to try and be as successful as we could be.’
She added laughing: ‘So I definitely, you know I’m very, we’re very grateful to her not giving us a title anyway.’
Her mother said: ‘As a member of the royal family, living with that sort of pressure is, is hard and the expectations that come with it is hard.