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Princess Anne has a message for her younger counterparts.
In a Vanity Fair cover story, the Queen's daughter speaks about her nearly 70 years as a royal. Though she was never Princess Margaret-level wild, Princess Anne has never been one to follow rules to a tee, earning the reputation as a "rebel" and becoming an unlikely style icon over the decades.
The interview, which took place a month after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced they would be giving up their royal titles, included hints of support for the younger generation of royals, though some publications have already taken a few of Princess Anne's comments out of context.
Her suggestion that "You may need to go back to basics" have been taken by some publications to mean that she is chiding younger royals for shaking up the royal traditions, but this recommendation was not with regards to any presumably scandalous turn from any of the younger royals to shirk their positions and titles.
Princess Anne was ahead of her time years ago when she had her two children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, and opted to not give them royal titles. "I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles," she told Vanity Fair. She strayed from making any solid political statements, but one could assume that she may support Meghan and Harry's decision to leave royal life behind. That "back to basics" comment was actually a suggestion regarding the approach to philanthropy, not living with or without royal titles.
"I don’t think this younger generation probably understands what I was doing in the past and it’s often true, isn’t it?" she said, at risk of sounding like the self-described “boring old fuddy-duddy at the back."
"You don’t necessarily look at the previous generation and say, ‘Oh, you did that?’ Or, ‘You went there?’ Nowadays, they’re much more looking for, ‘Oh let’s do it a new way.’ And I’m already at the stage, ‘Please do not reinvent that particular wheel. We’ve been there, done that. Some of these things don’t work. You may need to go back to basics,'" she went on.
In other words, Princess Anne is very happy with the way the royals have taken on acts of service in the past, which for her involves working with the Save the Children foundation for 50 years, and being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Could this be perceived as a snub towards Meghan and Harry's rebrand under the Archewell umbrella, which includes a non-profit rather than a foundation? Well, not exactly. It's just that she really values an on-the-ground approach to philanthropy. “It’s not just about, Can I get a tick in the box for doing this? No, it’s about serving," Princess Anne said. "It comes from an example from both my parents’ way of working and where they saw their role being. I mean, my father served. It was a more direct form of service, I suppose you could argue."