Why Princess Anne is the hottest royal of them all

There’s a moment in Absolutely Fabulous, where Jennifer Saunders’ larger-than-life fashion PR Edina Monsoon despairs that Princess Anne is about to attend her calamitous fashion show. “What we need is a princess followed by the press and a designer dress on the back!” Edina yells. “She’s not someone who looks like she’s running on her own,” sneers Joanna Lumley’s iconic Patsy.

Jokes about you darlings darlings, because twenty years later Princess Anne she of horse fairs in rural Gloucestershire and House of Bruar tweeds, who is much more comfortable watching dressage than a Dior couture show is an accidental style icon. For years she was a fashion punchline, but she stuck to her guns in a show of unwavering consistency and it paid off.

Princess Anne’s particular USP doesn’t give away one iota. The 71-year-old is always unerringly herself, whether in an old Barbour pulled from the back of the ‘Landy, or stiff silk floral affairs, that distinctive plume of combed hair, not caring a fig for filiform grey. Who has time to stroll with the Garnier when there is a domain to exploit and horses to ride? Upon learning that The Crown’s hair department would be spending two hours perfecting her on-screen counterpart’s ‘do’, she said, “How could it take so long?” I mean, it takes me 10 minutes. She’s practical, unfussy, likes to dress up but is never slavishly “edgy” – Diana had Versace on the speed dial, Anne had her old jeans. Quietly and distinctly, the Princess Royal has perfected a look that is entirely her own and – rather brilliantly – top catwalk theaters in Paris and Milan have taken notice. Stay away from Anna Wintour, there’s a new Anne in town.

Shades of Balenciaga

Luz W. German