The Princess Royal at 70: The stories behind Country Life’s Frontispiece pictures

We take a look at the images on the Country Life frontispiece page featuring The Princess Royal over the 70 years of her life.

As she approaches her 70th birthday, HRH The Princess Royal has guest edited the July 29 issue of Country Life magazine. The magazine is on sale from Wednesday 29th July.  If you aren’t able to get to a shop to pick up the magazine you can buy a single issue here if you’re in the UK or here if you’re overseas.

Country Life magazine’s famous frontispiece page has featured many members of the royal family over the years, and it’s always something special when they take part.

The 29 July 2020 appearance by Princess Anne is doubly so, since The Princess kindly agreed to edit this very special issue to mark her upcoming 70th birthday.

We’ve got a few details below of the images chosen by our picture editor Lucy Ford for this page, so all our readers can find out where and when each one comes from.


1950: Mother and daughter portrait

21st October 1950: Princess Elizabeth with her baby daughter Princess Anne who is wearing the Royal christening robe made of Honiton lace. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)


1954: The smiley young girl

An official portrait of Princess Anne taken on 14 August 1954, one day before her 4th birthday. (Photo by STF/AFP via Getty Images)


1973: The budding horsewoman and future Olympian

Princess Anne competing in the Dressage section of a three day event In Kiev, Russia, 5-11 September 1973. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)


1974: A Royal Tour

Princess Anne pictured during Royal tour of Canada in 1974 with her first husband, Mark Philips. (Photo by Graham Bezant/Toronto Star via Getty Images)


1979: On duty in London

Princess Anne at The Great Children’s Party in Hyde Park, London, on 30 May, 1979. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)


1980: Defying the rain on her 30th birthday

HRH The Princess Anne in the grounds of her home at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire on 10th June 1980. Part of a series of photographs to commemorate Princess Anne’s 30th birthday — note the umbrella in the corner to defy the summer rain! (Photo by Lichfield Archive via Getty Images).


1982: A family of her own

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne and her children Peter and Zara Phillips. (Photo by © Norman Parkinson Achive/Iconic Images/Getty Images)


2018: Royal Parade

Princess Anne at Trooping The Colour, the ceremony marking the Queen’s 92nd birthday, on 9 Jun 2018. (Photo: WENN.com via Alamy)


2020 and beyond: Still going strong

The final image in the frontispiece was taken by photographer John Swannell, who has photographed Princess Anne many times over the years — and who took the image of her on the 29 July 2020 magazine’s front cover.