The Princess Royal kept things light during a royal outing despite her brother King Charles' recent cancer diagnosis
On Thursday, the Princess Royal visited the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Center in London to celebrate the charity’s 35th anniversary and joked that the commemorative cake she was about to slice into simply had to be eaten.
“I hope you've all had a chance to see this cake because it really is stunning,” Princess Anne, 73, said before reporters.
“The instructions are that you will eat it if I cut it,” she continued, which prompted laughs in a video shared to X by Richard Palmer of the Daily Express. “Otherwise it's just legalized vandalism. So, enjoy the cake!"
As a lifelong equestrian and Vice Patron of the British Horse Society, the Princess Royal was in her element at the pony center, founded in 1989 to provide riding and equine therapy for children with special needs and physical disabilities. The inner-city community riding center has grown to home 22 horses and ponies as well as two donkeys and also provides adult riding instruction.
Princess Anne also still rides and trotted into the spotlight on King Charles’ coronation day to lead 6,000 armed services personnel through the streets of London after the crowning ceremony for her role as Gold-Stick-in-Waiting.
According to the Royal Diary and Court Circular of the royal family’s website, the pony center visit marked Princess Anne’s 10th engagement of the week. Royal correspondent Palmer explained to a commenter on X why it was a “rare opportunity” for the press to cover her trip to the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Center.
“The palace rarely arranges rotas for her engagements. Many of us accompanied her for pieces for her 70th birthday but there have been few opportunities since. To be fair, it’s partly about resources: more staff are needed if there is a big media rota (or pool abroad) with her,” he wrote on social media.
By count of published, official engagements, Princess Anne has been the “hardest working member” of the royal family for several years, and The Telegraph reported that she kept the crown in 2023. According to the newspaper’s tally using the Court Circular, the royal family’s official record of previous engagements, the Princess Royal conducted a whopping 457 engagements, surpassing her brother the King, who clocked 425 duties.
“She just gets on with it, often carrying out multiple engagements in one day,” Queen Elizabeth’s former press spokesman Dickie Arbiter told the paper of Princess Anne’s tireless dedication.
“Of course, much of what the King does is behind the scenes, in meetings and going through his red boxes, which doesn’t warrant a mention in the Court Circular,” Arbiter added.
The Daily Mail reported that the Princess Royal did not reference her brother’s health in a brief speech about the riding center’s anniversary and focused the tribute instead on the vision of its founder, Sister Mary Joy Langdon. The Mail reported that Anne “appeared grateful” when Sister Mary Joy told her, “We wish you and your family well at this time.”
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On Monday, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles, 75, was diagnosed with “a form of cancer” following treatment for a benign prostate enlargement. The 138-word statement specified that King Charles commenced treatment, would postpone public-facing duties and continue to work behind the scenes.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Queen Camilla attended her first official royal engagement since the palace announcement about the King’s health and gave a quick update at Salisbury Cathedral about how her husband was feeling.
"He is doing extremely well under the circumstances," Queen Camilla said, according to royal reporter Rebecca English. "He is very touched by all of the letters and messages the public have been sending from everywhere. That’s very cheering."
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