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Britain's Princess Anne in hospital with head injury

Britain's Princess Royal, Anne attends the Not Forgotten Association Annual Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London, Britain. Picture date: Friday May 17, 2024.
Britain's Princess Royal, Anne attends the Not Forgotten Association Annual Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London, Britain. Picture date: Friday May 17, 2024. Photo : Victoria Jones/Pool via REUTERS/Files

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Princess Anne, King Charles’ younger sister, is in hospital after suffering a head injury on Sunday, Buckingham Palace said, adding the royal was expected to make a full recovery from the incident which was believed to have involved a horse.

The palace said on Monday that the 73-year-old, the only daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth, had suffered minor injuries and a concussion following the incident, and was now recovering at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, west England.

“Her royal highness is recovering well, is in a comfortable condition and is being kept in hospital as a precautionary measure for further observation,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.

The princess had been walking in the grounds of Gatcombe Park estate where her home is located when she suffered minor injuries to her head, a royal source said.

The source said there were horses in the vicinity and her medical team said the head injuries were consistent with impact from a horse’s head or legs.

Her husband, Tim Laurence, accompanied Anne to hospital and her two children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, were also on the estate at the time.

“The king has been kept closely informed and joins the whole royal family in sending his fondest love and well-wishes to the princess for a speedy recovery,” the Buckingham Palace statement said.

The princess is expected to return home this week, but her upcoming engagements have been postponed and Anne will not fly to Canada as planned at the end of the week, the source said.

However, the official state visit of Japanese Emperor Naruhito and his wife, hosted by King Charles, will go ahead as planned, starting on Tuesday.


Anne’s hospitalisation is the latest health setback suffered by the British royals this year.

The king returned to public engagements in April as he undergoes treatment for cancer, while Kate, the Princess of Wales and wife of heir Prince William, is having preventative chemotherapy. She was only well enough to make her first public appearance of the year earlier this month.

Polls repeatedly show Anne is one of the most popular members of the royal family, and is also credited with being the hardest working.

“Everyone in the country is immensely fond of Her Royal Highness,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on X. “We’re all sending her our best wishes for a swift recovery.”

Like her late mother, Anne’s love of horses is well-documented and she won a gold medal in the 1971 European Eventing Championship, while she competed at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games as a member of the British Equestrian team, becoming the first royal Olympian in the process.

She suffered a bad fall during the competition, but got back on her horse to complete the course, saying afterwards that the concussion she suffered meant she remembered nothing about what happened.

“I was going very well. I don’t remember anything else,” she said afterwards.

“Her mantra for life is very much if you fall, get back up and try again,” daughter Zara told a TV documentary to mark her mother’s 70th birthday.

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