Princess Anne shares fond childhood memories of being a 'nuisance' with Prince Philip

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Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read
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Watch: Princess Anne on early memories of sailing with the Duke

Princess Anne has shared memories of sailing with her father Prince Philip when she was a child, admitting she was probably considered a "nuisance" on board.

Anne, 71, was back to in-person engagements just five days after Philip's death, as she travelled to the Isle of Wight to visit members of the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Philip, who died on 9 April, was once admiral of the club and Anne said he used to enjoy his trips there.

It's understood Anne and the Queen felt that the duke would have wanted her to continue with the engagement, which would have been scheduled long before he died.

She reflected on her "links" with Cowes, where the club is based, and her "early memories of sailing". 

She was asked by Royal Yacht Squadron commodore Jamie Sheldon if she had ever sailed on a Flying Fifteen – a sailboat designed by Uffa Fox – to which she replied: "I was considered a bit too young and a bit of a nuisance.

"I started really with Bloodhound (a yacht). I regressed to dinghy sailing for a bit, but then got a slightly bigger boat."

The Princess Royal views a Youth Training Programme during a visit to the Royal Yacht Squadron at The Castle in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. Picture date: Wednesday April 14, 2021.
The Princess Royal watching a Youth Training Programme during a visit to the Royal Yacht Squadron at The Castle in Cowes. (PA Images)
The Princess Royal views a Youth Training Programme during a visit to the Royal Yacht Squadron at The Castle in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. Picture date: Wednesday April 14, 2021.
Princess Anne was out for the first time since her father's death. (PA Images)

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She added: "Early memories, this was, days out were great fun. Events here and events in Cowes, and Uffa’s dinners. All of that. I can understand why he was here regularly.

"Of course the RYA [Royal Yachting Association] used to have its meetings, summer meetings, used to be on Britannia during Cowes Week, all of that."

Anne appeared slightly subdued during the visit, which took place just a few days before her father's funeral, which is scheduled for 17 April.

She left the club on a motor yacht called Warrior and travelled to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Fishbourne.

There she unveiled a plaque to the club’s 175th anniversary and signed its guestbook, as her parents did on 26 July, 1965.

She wore sunglasses, a navy coat and black trousers, and carried a black bag.

Watch: Anne visits Isle of Wight days after father's death

The Princess Royal at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, on the Isle of Wight. (PA Images)
The Princess Royal sheltered under an umbrella at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, on the Isle of Wight. (PA Images)

However she needed to swap the sunglasses for an umbrella, which she stood under as she signed the visitors' book.

She joked: "I haven’t done this for such a long time, I’ve forgotten how to do it." 

Anne is the second royal to continue with a formal engagement despite the proximity to the Duke of Edinburgh's death.

The Queen took one on herself on Tuesday, marking the retirement of Earl Peel, her former Lord Chamberlain.

Earl Peel was retiring from the senior household role after 14 years and is being succeeded in the post by Andrew Parker, Baron Parker of Minsmere, former MI5 spy chief.

The Princess Royal arrives by boat to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, on the Isle of Wight. Picture date: Wednesday April 14, 2021.
The Princess Royal arrived by boat to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, on the Isle of Wight. (PA Images)
The Princess Royal arrives at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, on the Isle of Wight. Picture date: Wednesday April 14, 2021.
Anne at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, on the Isle of Wight. She and the Queen agreed Philip would have wanted her to carry out the visit. (PA Images)

Read more: What the Queen, Diana, Harry and other royals have said about Prince Philip

The engagement, at Windsor Castle, was listed in the Court Circular, the official record of royal duties.

It said: "The Earl Peel had an audience of The Queen today, delivered up his Wand and Insignia of Office as Lord Chamberlain and the Badge of Chancellor of the Royal Victorian Order and took leave upon relinquishing his appointment as Lord Chamberlain, when Her Majesty invested him with the Royal Victorian Chain."

Earl Peel will become a permanent Lord-in-Waiting. 

The Royal Family are officially in a period of mourning, which will continue until 22 April, the day after the Queen's 95th birthday.

But, as Prince William noted in his tribute to his grandfather, they may make a swift return to duties, as "he would want us to get on with the job". 

The UK is in a period of national mourning that will last until 8am on Sunday, the day after the funeral. During this time, flags are flown at half-mast on buildings around the country.

The Queen will not be carrying out all of her royal work during her mourning, meaning she won't give Royal Assent to bills, nor will she keep up with the matters of government in her daily red box.