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Princess Anne goes bold in white waist-defining mother-of-the-groom dress

The Princess Royal chose a colour normally reserved for the bride at her son Peter Phillips' wedding

Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
12 hours ago
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Mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom dresses can be difficult to shop for, but Princess Anne made it look effortless at Peter Phillips' wedding on 17 May 2008.

Anne looked like a proud mother as she joined her son and his ex-wife Autumn Kelly's celebrations at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle alongside her second husband Sir Timothy Laurence. King Charles' sister looked glamorous in a chocolate pleated dress that fell to her ankles, layered underneath a bold bridal white jacquard jacket that emphasised her waist with a brown ribbon.

Princess Anne in a brown dress and white coat with Tim Laurence © Pool/Tim Graham Royal Photos
Princess Anne and Tim Laurence made a stylish appearance at Peter Phillips' wedding

A statement gold and diamond necklace drew attention to her outfit, which she completed with low heels, a coffee-coloured clutch bag and matching suede gloves.

Staying true to her fail-safe beauty look, Anne fastened her brunette hair into an updo and kept her makeup minimal, aside from a pop of colour on her lips.

Peter Phillips and Autumn Phillips in a wedding carriage© Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA
Peter and Autumn married in 2008 before divorcing in 2021

Anne – who has been hailed as the hardest-working royal – has rarely been pictured with her hair loose around her shoulders, choosing to fasten it into a practical and chic chignon or bun for every occasion, from her wedding day to her military career and everyday royal engagements.

"It's like armour," explained Claudia Harrison (who plays Princess Anne in The Crown) to Marie Claire. 

Despite looking the picture of elegance at all times, the Princess Royal takes a similarly unfussy approach to her style. As President of the UK Fashion and Textile Association, Anne has thrown her support behind sustainable fashion – and she often leads by example by recycling items from her wardrobe, such as her trusted tassel House of Bruar knee-high boots.

"You go through the phase when fashion was very structured and people followed fashion, but you had tailors and dressmakers who absolutely fundamentally made that, but you could also alter it because they had the skills to do so.

Princess Anne frowning and smiling as she got out of the car at Prince William's wedding© Getty
Princess Anne wore a colour-clashing look to Prince William's wedding

“Now you’ve got instant fashion which you then throw away, you don’t alter it because it wouldn’t be worthwhile," she said during a trip to Sri Lanka.

“So whether we’ve got to relearn those skills, go back and say, 'Actually, we need materials that can do more than one evolution of fashion.'"

Anne has cemented her place as a style icon over the years, stepping out in colour-clashing outfits for the Prince and Princess of Wales' royal wedding and keeping it classic in plush velvet for King Charles' coronation. The latter served as inspiration for designer Silvia Venturini Fendi, who created a men's line around her uniform.

Princess Anne in Westminster Abbey with her husband © Getty
Princess Anne's outfit at the King's coronation inspired Fendi fashion

Speaking at Milan Fashion Week in 2024, she said Anne was "the chicest woman in the world… capable of maintaining her femininity while wearing a uniform."

She added: "I fell in love with the style of Princess Anne, who to my mind is the most elegant woman in the world. When I saw the coronation last year with Princess Anne in her uniform, I thought she looked beautiful. So I said, 'Let’s be inspired for a men’s collection.'"

PHOTOS: 33 most memorable royal weddings of all time: From Princess Kate to Princess Charlene & more 

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