No plans to slow down as Princess Anne turns 60

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Media caption,

Princess Anne on the London Olympics, equestrian eventing, and whether she plans to take things easier when she turns 60

Her family is known as The Firm and she is regarded as one its hardest-working members. The Princess Royal has links to more than 200 charities and organisations and last year she carried out 600 engagements.

Sport has always been a passion - she rode at international level. And so she chose to give her 60th birthday interview to the BBC's Inside Sport programme.

In 1976, a 26-year-old Princess Anne represented her country at the Olympics in Montreal as a member of the three-day event team.

Fast-forward nearly 30 years and she was in Singapore as part of the team which successfully bid for the Olympics to come to London in 2012.

She is now on the 2012 organising committee. And she's already extolling the long-term benefits.

In her TV interview she says: "You only have to go round the site, I think, to see what it's been able to do.

"That's a hell of a legacy that might come afterwards, but we would be foolish to think that an Olympic Games is going to change people's habits overnight.

"But I do think it raises many more sports in people's conscious thought as options for interest and enthusiasm."

The princess's daughter, Zara, an equestrian world champion, could be a competitor in 2012.

Her mother says it would be "nice" if Zara qualified, adding: "Her successes in terms of the sport are brilliant."

Zara, 29, is one of the princess's two children from her first marriage to Mark Phillips, himself an Olympic three-day event team gold medallist at Munich in 1972.

Princess Anne once described motherhood as an occupational hazard.

Zara and her elder brother, Peter, who is 32, give their first joint interview in the BBC programme.

The princess chose not to give her children titles and there is no royal reserve when they talk about their mother.

"I look at her and just think if I was going to be a mother that's what I would want to be like," says Zara.

"I would like to be as good a mother as she has been to us."

And according to Peter: "Her advice generally about life has been invaluable. Whenever we may have got slightly above our station she'd be the first one to bring us back down to earth fairly hard."

Image caption,
The princess represented Great Britain at the 1976 Olympics

Princess Anne has never been a touchy-feely royal and has a no-nonsense public image.

Peter says: "When she's in an environment of people that she knows, whether it be her organisations or family, friends, she definitely relaxes a lot more and and is great fun and is always the one laughing the loudest."

Zara adds: "She loves a good dance - she's good on her feet."

Peter and his Canadian wife Autumn are expecting their first baby in December.

So now that she is turning 60 and taking on a new role as grandmother, is the princess planning to drop down a gear?

"Look around at the members of my family who are considerably older than me and tell me whether you think they have set an example which suggests that I might - unlikely," is the reply.

She describes her family as "interested, enthusiastic, intelligent and funny".

As for herself, she says that with her public work she hopes she is now seen as having a track record and a degree of experience.

She turns 60 on Sunday and will spend her birthday with her husband, Vice-Admiral Tim Laurence.

Inside Sport: The Princess Royal at 60 will be shown on Thursday 12 August, BBC One, 2235-2315 BST; repeated Sunday 15 August, BBC Two, 1400-1440 BST.

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