The Ultimate National Treasure?

Universally lauded British notables tend to be either entertainers or athletes. But arguably the country’s most deserving cultural asset — Princess Anne — has been both. And there are bonus points for being royalty.
Princess Anne at an official engagement in 1971.

To call woman the weaker sex,” Mahatma Gandhi once said, “is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman.” Indeed, the phrase was a vapid platitude the moment it was coined. Exhibit A: the voids between the genders in terms of pain threshold and life expectancy — case closed. There are plenty more exhibits up the prosecution lawyer’s sleeve, too. (S)he might turn to the history books and cite the fearless exploits of Zenobia, Cleopatra, Lakshmibai, Theodora, Joan of Arc or Empress Dowager Cixi. (S)he might delve into the annals of popular music and point out how different its narrative would be without the exploits of Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Siouxsie Sioux and Chrissie Hynde. Marilyn Monroe’s irresistible turn in Some Like It Hot, in which she produced one of the defining performances of Hollywood comedy history while she managed her extreme bipolar disorder, could also be in the mix. Another worthy addition to the case file, meanwhile, would be a foiled abduction attempt that happened in 1974 on The Mall in London, and the incredible reaction of its intended victim: Anne, Princess Royal, the second child (and only daughter) of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.


Scott Harper


February 2023


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