The Truth About King Charles & Princess Anne's Relationship

There is a lot of curiosity, secrecy, and intrigue when it comes to the royal family, in part because members like King Charles III and Princess Anne are relatively private. For instance, Queen Elizabeth's four children have all had a number of personal scandals, but very rarely are said scandals ever talked about or highlighted, and the royals would hardly ever comment on the matters themselves. Three out of four of the queen's children have gotten divorced, multiple have reportedly been involved in infidelity, and one of them has rather troubling accusations against him — it's fair to say that the siblings are not squeaky clean, so, as such, there's a lot of curiosity surrounding them.

Two of the siblings that garner the most interest are King Charles and Princess Anne, Elizabeth's two eldest children. They were both very young when Elizabeth took the throne, and, as such, they've been in the public eye their entire lives. For two of the hardest-working royals in the game, what is their relationship like? Do they get along? Do they have any common interests? While both are notoriously private people, we were able to get all the answers you're looking for. This is the truth about King Charles and Princess Anne's relationship.

King Charles and Princess Anne spent a lot of time together as kids

The environment in which you find yourself as a kid can really make all the difference to your childhood, and King Charles and Princess Anne had a fairly unique experience as children. As noted by Hello!, Charles and Anne "are only two years apart in age," so they were particularly close — in both years and proximity — as kids. 

Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne when Charles and Anne were toddlers, and as Hello! asserted, the two "relied on one another for company," especially when their parents traveled or spent long hours at royal events. Charles was even pictured helping his sister walk down the steps to greet Elizabeth and Prince Philip as they arrived back from a royal visit to Malta in 1954 — just one example of how two little royals learned to rely on one another.

As noted by Express, Charles and Anne really leaned on each other as kids, especially considering that their younger siblings — Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — were not born for another eight years. It's safe to say that despite being very different from each other, Anne and Charles learned how to get along.

The siblings' bond grew over gardening together

It turns out green thumbs run in the royal family line. In an interview with BBC Radio 4 (via Woman & Home), the former Prince of Wales revealed cherished memories of learning to garden with his sister Princess Anne when they were children. "My sister and I had a little vegetable patch in the back of some border somewhere," he said, regarding growing up in Buckingham Palace. "We had great fun trying to grow tomatoes rather unsuccessfully and things like that." Fortunately for the royal sprouts, they had Mr. Fred Nutbeam, the head gardener at Buckingham Palace, to mentor them. "He was splendid, and helped us a bit with the little garden we had," King Charles said. 

Their childhood hobby has grown into a strong passion for the king and Princess Royal in both their personal and political lives. According to Woman & Home, King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla run their own organic farm at Highgrove House, where they cultivate a wide range of products using biodynamic agricultural methods. The king is also an advocate for sustainable farming and environmental protection. 

Princess Anne reportedly fought her older brother when they were children

We love a bold little sister, and Princess Anne takes the cake where this is concerned. As noted by Express, Anne reportedly knew how to assert herself in any room from a young age and even got into it with her older brother when it was called for. Mabel Anderson, a former royal nanny, said that Charles was "never as boisterous or noisy as Princess Anne" who by far had the "much stronger, more extrovert personality." 

Anderson asserted that from an early age, Charles "seemed weighed down" with the understanding of his future as the king of Great Britain. Anne, however, was far more "playful" and oftentimes broke the rules. "It cannot have helped either that Anne was physically more robust than her brother," royal biographer Nicholas Courtney told the outlet, even revealing that Anne's boxing gloves once had to be taken away from her because she was about to do some damage to her older brother. "There are quarrels in every family, Princess Anne even admitting in retrospect that she and her brother 'fought like cats and dogs,'" he said. What is childhood without a little sibling rivalry, right?

Princess Anne and King Charles spent time apart when they went to different boarding schools

Princess Anne and King Charles certainly had different childhoods and expectations — one was the direct heir to the British throne, the other was a young girl in the 1950s — but Anne asserted herself from a very young age. As noted by Express, the siblings did spend a number of years away from each other while they attended different boarding schools, and while this may have contributed to their fairly distant relationship, this period of time in their lives did establish a rather amazing precedent for royal women. 

Anne was one of the first women to experience an education outside of the palace — her mother, Queen Elizabeth, and aunt, Princess Margaret, were both educated at home, but Anne had her sights set higher. While Charles attended the Gordonstoun school in Scotland, Anne attended the Benenden School in Kent. While they did spend time away from each other, Anne recalled to Vanity Fair that she wouldn't trade her experience for anything. "I had a governess and two friends and that was never going to be enough, really, so I was only too pleased to be sent off somewhere else," she said.

Princess Anne admitted that she understood that she would always come second to Charles

We've all heard the saying — an heir and a spare, and, unfortunately, her role as second to her brother was something that Princess Anne understood thoroughly. Anne has received a bit of flack in her time as a royal. As noted by Express, royal biographer Nicholas Courtney recalled that Anne had been "cited as being thoughtless" when compared to King Charles, as she would forget to say thank you or maintain royal decorum. But, perhaps, her slightly less "by the book" tendencies were because she knew that she would never be a ruler. 

As the second child, and a daughter, to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Anne more or less knew that she would always be overshadowed by Charles in a way, and she even spoke about it to the Observer in 1980. She revealed that she had "always accepted the role of being second in everything from quite an early age" and that "you adopt that position as part of that experience" (via Express).

King Charles still manages to behave like a goofy big brother to Princess Anne

For a family that truly embodies the stiff upper lip mentality, King Charles and Princess Anne have been able to keep part of their lives together jovial. As noted by Express, a video clip of Charles and Anne made the rounds on social media that showed the older brother creeping up on his younger sister and startling her. During an official royal event in 2018, Charles did the sneak attack that only older brothers really know how to do, and despite the fact that they were both in their 70s at the time, the moment was really cute to see. 

In the clip, Anne turned around and grinned at Charles, which was quite a rare thing to see from the otherwise stoic princess. Royal correspondent Charlie Proctor posted the video on Twitter, and some people took to the comments to express how lovely and normal the exchange was between the siblings. "Something only a big brother can do and live to tell about it," one person wrote, while another said, "It is heartwarming to see their playfulness." No matter how much time has passed, big brothers will always act like big brothers, even at royal events.

The royal siblings share this common interest

If you're a fan of the movie "What a Girl Wants," then you know that the posh English grandma told Amanda Bynes' character that British people only "show affection to dogs and horses." And, when it comes to the royals, this might happen to be true. As Hello! noted, one shared interest between King Charles and Princess Anne is their love of horses, albeit in different events. According to Polo Weekly, Charles was an avid polo player since his teenage years. Due to injuries, he retired from his polo career in 2015, but passed the passion for the horse-based sport to his sons.

Anne, on the other hand, made a name for herself in the equestrian world, and, as Biography noted, she picked up horseback riding at the young age of 11. She won gold at the 1971 European Championships and enjoyed a number of accolades for her riding. Not only do the siblings love horse-based sports and share that common love, but they are often considered the two hardest-working royals. Love to see it.

Fans want King Charles to keep his sister in the fold

While the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's departure from the royal family made headlines, it should be noted that, before he became king, King Charles started making moves to condense the royal family. Harry and Meghan seemed to be on the outs, as well as Prince Andrew's daughters, as Charles is all but determined to limit the royal purse to family members who actively work to secure and promote the monarchy. But, as he's been narrowing things down, fans of Princess Anne have called on him to maintain his sister's standing.

As noted by the Bristol Post, royalists became saddened when they learned that Charles had plans to focus the monarchy on Prince William and his family — an unfair move, in some eyes, given that Anne has consistently been one of the hardest-working royals. Royal editor Robert Jobson told Express that Princess Anne will most likely have "a leading role" in the family and that, despite her brother's attempt to cut people out, she will most likely survive the chopping block.

Charles reminisced about his childhood with Anne in this documentary

Royal family members aren't really the most personable people — they typically keep to themselves and have often refrained from being too emotional. But, in a rare occasion, King Charles reminisced about his childhood with Princess Anne and even shared some of his thoughts with his mother, Queen Elizabeth. As Hello! noted, Charles sat down for a portion of the 2016 BBC documentary "Elizabeth at 90: A Family Tribute" and watched old home videos of him playing with his sister. The siblings were running around Holkham Beach in Norfolk, which is located close to the Sandringham Estate.

In the video, the two young kids are seen in swimsuits and towels and are chasing each other through the weeds. "It was always such fun playing hide and seek in those dunes. I remember that so well, isn't that funny. Vividly," Charles said. Elizabeth then added, "And in those days you didn't mind the prickly grass." Charles even shared his thoughts on a photo of him and Anne, which showed them buried in the sand all the way up to their chins. "That I remember," Charles said of the photo. "It's such a good photograph, that one." Cue the nostalgic tears.

The royal siblings were brought together in grief after their father died

Sadness has a way of bringing people together — as awful as situations can be, moments of tragedy can unite even the most distant of family members, and that was certainly the case for King Charles and Princess Anne. As Town & Country noted, the royal siblings shared their grief when their father, Prince Philip, died. Sharing statements with the public one right after the other, both Charles and Anne expressed their sadness. "You know it's going to happen but you are never really ready," Anne wrote in her statement. "It is his example of a life well lived and service freely given that I most wanted to emulate." 

Charles and Anne even walked side by side during their father's funeral procession. People noted that women typically aren't part of a royal funeral procession, but Anne made it clear that she wanted to join her brother and the men in her family to pay her respects to her father for one last time. Charles and Anne kept close to one another throughout the walk behind Philip's casket, sharing their solemnity with the world.

Charles and Anne's body language has exposed truths about their relationship

You can tell a lot from body language — it's the means of communication that often highlights more truths than anything you can say or do, so it doesn't come as a surprise that the body language between King Charles and Princess Anne has been analyzed time and time again. Body language expert Judi James told Express that throughout the various events and appearances that Charles and Anne have made together, it's become increasingly clear that Anne has far more confidence than her older brother. "Charles has always shown signals that suggest self-pity and inner anguish," she said, whereas Anne has consistently shown physical signs of assertiveness and confidence. 

James went as far back as looking at both Charles and Anne's childhoods, asserting that while Charles was academically inclined and approached his life with the monarchy in mind, Anne adopted a far more athletic and "no-nonsense" approach to life. "Her body language signals with her brother Charles suggested — almost from birth — that she was the one who had been gifted all the confidence," James said.

Princess Anne fought to get the same title and respect as Charles

Many royal titles, honors, and medals are given to family members and British nobility. Princess Anne, while aware that her older brother would always carry more titles than she would, fought for her place at the table (so to speak). When Anne was invited to join the Order of the Garter — a chivalry order that dates back to Edward III in 1348 — she made sure that she would hold the same rank as then-Prince Charles.

Queen Elizabeth appointed Anne a Knight of the Garter, rather than a Lady of the Garter, in 1994. As such, Anne has used KG following her name since, and, thus, holds the same level of honor and rank as Charles. The princess' decision was also noted on the royal family's official Twitter and was met with some praise by Anne's fans. "Got to love her ... always her own way but in line with what's expected of her," a fan wrote. We love to see that she demanded the same respect as her brother. Talk about female empowerment!

Princess Anne and King Charles have very different opinions about this topic

Throughout his time as a public figure, King Charles has made it very clear that he is a friend to the environment. He's spoken at length about the importance of conservation and has even encouraged others to adopt a more plant-based diet. This is an area, however, where he and Princess Anne disagree. 

As noted by the Independent, Anne discussed her thoughts on topics such as veganism and climate change with Australian Women's Weekly, and she did not fall in line with her brother's point of view. "You can't have a world without livestock," she said. "They are a necessary and very constructive part of our expectation to feed ourselves," she said. She went on to say that she found "single-issue groups" very irritating. Charles, on the other hand, has been vocal about animal agriculture and its dangers to the planet. While attending a conference in Washington in 2011, he shared statistics about animal agriculture and then said, "There is plenty of evidence that the Earth cannot keep up with the demand."

Anne shared that she and Charles have had "rather short" talks about their differing points of view, but it definitely doesn't seem like a topic that they'll come to a consensus about anytime soon.

King Charles and Princess Anne experienced marital problems at the same time

Family members that go through thick and thin together typically bond, and while King Charles and Princess Anne aren't the closest of siblings, they did go through very difficult personal experiences at the same time — Anne even benefitted from the circumstances, to an extent. As noted by Express, Anne separated from her husband, Mark Phillips, in 1989. By 1992, they had filed for divorce, an absolutely no-no in the royal family. However, in the same year, King Charles and Princess Diana's relationship had erupted, and they, too, became officially separated.

Because her older brother's separation was such a huge point of public interest, Anne was more or less able to get away with her divorce and second marriage without a hitch. According to a Channel 4 documentary released in 2002, "While the world was fixated on Charles and Diana's failing marriage, Anne was managing her affairs with a minimum of fuss." It's not often that siblings can benefit from each other's downfalls, but that was certainly the case for Anne.

The two were at their mother's side when she passed away

According to Town & Country, both King Charles and Princess Anne were with their mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in Balmoral Castle when she passed away on September 8, 2022. The siblings were already in Scotland to attend the Braemar Highland Gathering — or the famous Highland Games — with the queen, who was the event's patron. "I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest mother's life," said Princess Anne in a statement (via Today). "I am also so grateful for the support and understanding offered to my dear brother Charles as he accepts the added responsibilities of The Monarch."

The two royals publicly mourned the loss of their mother in their own ways. As the queen's coffin entered the Palace of the Holyroodhouse in Scotland, Princess Anne gave an emotional curtsy in a show of respect (per Today). King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, returned to Scotland from London to lead the royal procession to St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh. The queen's funeral will take place on Monday, September 19 in London's Westminster Abbey before she reaches her final resting place in Windsor Castle. 

Princess Anne will be involved in King Charles' monarchy

As King Charles III ascends the throne after Queen Elizabeth II's passing, it is strongly speculated that Princess Anne will have a place in his monarchy. According to Vanity Fair, Princess Anne stood vigil alongside the king and her brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward at the Kings Vigil at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, which is historically attended only by male family members (Princess Anne did not stand vigil for her grandmother, the Queen Mother, for her funeral in 2002). A source close to King Charles III told Vanity Fair: "[The king] knows he has a loyal and faithful ally in the Princess Royal. She is committed to supporting the crown and devoting herself to the work of the monarchy. Charles absolutely plans to include her in his new streamlined monarchy."

While the Princess Royal intends to stay as active as possible (she attends up to 400 events a year as part of her royal duties), unfortunate gender politics still limit the possibilities of her role in King Charles' court. According to The New York Times, per a superannuated law on male royal primogeniture (the right of succession among firstborn children), the Princess Royal cannot, for example, have the title counselor of state, a designation that entitles members of the royal family to stand in for the king in certain duties and makes them members of the Privy Council.