Princess Royal

This article is about the British Royal title. For the current holder, see Anne, Princess Royal.
Princess Royal
HRH The Princess Anne, Princess Royal
HRH The Princess Anne

since 13 June 1987
Style Her Royal Highness
Residence St James's Palace
Appointer Monarch of the United Kingdom
Term length Life tenure (or until succession to the Throne)
Inaugural holder Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange

Princess Royal is a style customarily (but not automatically) awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter.[1] The holder retains the style for life, or until she succeeds to the Throne (although to date no Princess Royal has ever done so). No princess can receive the title of Princess Royal whilst it is being held by another. Queen Elizabeth II never held the title as her aunt, Princess Mary, was in possession of the title.

The Princess Mary (1631-1660), the inaugural holder (1642-1660) of the title Princess Royal

There have been seven Princesses Royal. Princess Anne is the current Princess Royal.[2]

The title Princess Royal came into existence when Queen Henrietta Maria (1609–1669), daughter of Henry IV, King of France, and wife of King Charles I (1600–1649), wanted to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the King of France was styled "Madame Royale".[3] Thus Princess Mary (born 1631), the daughter of Henrietta Maria and Charles, became the first Princess Royal in 1642.

Princess Mary (later Queen Mary II) (1662–1694), eldest daughter of King James II & VII, and Princess Sophia Dorothea (1687–1757), only daughter of King George I, were eligible for this honour but did not receive it. At the time she became eligible for the title, Princess Mary was already Princess of Orange, while Sophia Dorothea was already Queen in Prussia when she became eligible for the title.

Princess Louisa Maria (1692–1712), the last daughter of King James II (died 1701), born after he lost his crown in the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689, was considered to be Princess Royal during James's exile by Jacobites at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and was so called by Jacobites, even though she was not James's eldest living daughter at any time during her life.[3]

Even before the title of Princess Royal came into use in England, the eldest daughter of the King or Queen of England had a special status in law. For instance, according to Magna Carta, the barons of the realm owed aids to finance the first wedding of the king's eldest daughter;[4] and by a statute of the 25th year of King Edward III, sleeping with the king's eldest daughter before her marriage constitutes an act of high treason punishable by death.[5]

List of Princesses Royal

The following is a complete list of women formally styled Princess Royal:

Order Name
Portrait Princess Royal
from (date) to (date)
Parent Date married Husband
1 Mary, Princess Royal
1642–1660 Charles I
1641 William II, Prince of Orange
Louisa Maria, Princess Royal
1692–1712 James II
2 Anne, Princess Royal
1727–1759 George II
1734 William IV, Prince of Orange
3 Charlotte, Princess Royal
1789–1828 George III
1797 King Frederick I of Württemberg
4 Victoria, Princess Royal
1841–1901 Victoria
1858 German Emperor Frederick III, King of Prussia
5 Louise, Princess Royal
1905–1931 Edward VII
1889 Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife
6 Mary, Princess Royal
1932–1965 George V
1922 Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood
7 Anne, Princess Royal
1987–present Elizabeth II
1973–1992 Mark Phillips
1992 Sir Timothy Laurence

In fiction

Other uses

Princess Royal was one of the GWR 3031 Class locomotives that were built for and run on the Great Western Railway between 1891 and 1915. The LMS Class 8P "Princess Royal" 4-6-2 was a type of express passenger locomotive built between 1933 and 1935 by the London Midland & Scottish Railway

Princess Royal is an abandoned town in the Western Australian Goldfields, named for Victoria, Princess Royal, daughter of Queen Victoria.

Five ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Princess Royal.

"The Princess Royal" is also the name of a folk tune from the British Isles, and of a morris dance performed to that tune.[6]

In the Thai monarchy, the style of Sayamboromrajakumari (Thai: สยามบรมราชกุมารี; rtgs: Sayam boromma ratcha kumari) for Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand is similar to the position of Princess Royal.[7]


  1. "Royal Titles: Style and Title of the Princess Royal". The British Monarchy. n.d. Archived from the original on July 27, 2008. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  2. "The Princess Royal". The British Monarchy. n.d. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  3. 1 2 Panton, Kenneth J. (2011). Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy. Lanham, Maryland, US: Scarecrow Press, Inc. pp. 381–2. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  4. Nullum scutagium vel auxilium ponatur in regno nostro.... nisi.... ad filiam nostram primogenitam semel maritandam
  5. si home violast la compaigne le roy, ou leigne file le roy nient marie, ou la compaigne leigne fitz et heire le roy.... doit estre ajugge treson a nostre Seigneur le Roi
  6. "Princess Royal". English Folk Dance and Song Society. 2 July 2007.
  7. McCargo, Duncan (2010), "Thailand", Regional Oulook: Southeast Asia 2010-2011 (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies): 55
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