Princess Anne gets military promotion as she celebrates 70th birthday

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Not for use after Friday September 4, 2020, without prior approval from Royal Communications and Camera Press. Mandatory credit: John Swannell / Camera Press One of three official photographs taken by John Swannell of The Princess Royal which have been released to celebrate her 70th birthday on Saturday. PA Photo. Issue date: Friday August 14, 2020. The photographs were taken at Gatcombe Park in late February 2020. See PA story ROYAL Anne. Photo credit should read: John Swannell / Camera PressImage source, John Swannell/Camera Press
Image caption,
The photos of Anne were taken in February, before the coronavirus lockdown

Princess Anne has been promoted by the Army and Royal Air Force to mark her 70th birthday.

The Princess Royal - the Queen's second child - will take up the role of general and air chief marshal, bringing her ranks in line with her rank in the Royal Navy.

It is a tradition that senior royals are treated as military members and receive promotions as they get older.

Earlier this year, Prince Andrew was due to be promoted but it was deferred.

Princess Anne turns 70 on Saturday and her birthday is being marked with the release of three official photographs taken at her home in Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire.

The pictures were taken in late February by John Swannell, who has also photographed other senior royals as well as Tony Blair, Sir Michael Caine and Sir Elton John.

Image source, John Swannell/Camera Press
Image caption,
The photos were taken at her home, which has 730 acres of land and a lake

Speaking earlier this week, Anne's son-in-law Mike Tindall said plans to mark the day have been "scaled back" because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We did have plans - it would've been up in Scotland - but obviously with Covid and Aberdeen being locked down a bit, I think everything's been scaled back a little bit," said the former England rugby star, who is married to Anne's daughter Zara, on The One Show.

"It's a shame. I'm sure we'll do something as a family to celebrate her 70 amazing years, she's just an incredible woman in terms of how much work she can get through in the year.

"We will be doing something, as yet I don't know whether she knows - so my lips are sealed."

Image source, John Swannell/Camera Press
Image caption,
In one of the new photos, Anne wears a gold ribbon knot brooch set with 12 diamonds

Speaking about her military promotion, which has been approved by the Queen, the Ministry of Defence said Anne had been "hugely supportive" of the armed forces.

"This promotion on her 70th birthday recognises her invaluable contribution and commitment to the military."

Anne's birthday has also been marked by a TV documentary, which was over a year in the making, and she also guest-edited an issue of Country Life magazine.

She commented in the magazine about her love of nature and the need to avoid waste and conserve energy to protect the environment.

In the ITV documentary, she spoke about social media, suggesting it is adding to the pressures faced by younger royals.

Image source, Cpl Rob Bourne RAF
Image caption,
Princess Anne has been promoted by the Army and Royal Air Force to mark her 70th birthday

Profile: Princess Anne

Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise was born in 1950, the second child to the Queen and Prince Philip and their only daughter. She is 14th in line to the throne.

She is a horse-riding enthusiast who competed in the British equestrian team in the 1976 Olympics and and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Anne was involved in bringing the 2012 Olympic Games to London

In 1973, she married her first husband Captain Mark Phillips and they went on to have two children, Peter and Zara. Anne decided her children would not have royal titles.

The couple survived a kidnapping attempt in 1974, as they were returning to Buckingham Palace in a chauffeur-driven limousine.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Anne chatting to bodyguard James Beaton after he was injured in the attempt to kidnap her in 1974

Her first marriage ended in divorce after 19 years and she married her second husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, in 1992.

In 1990, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work as president of the charity Save The Children.

In 2002, Anne became the first senior member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offence. She pleaded guilty to a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act after her pet Dotty bit two children in Windsor Great Park.

She lives in the 18th-century country house Gatcombe Park, near Stroud in Gloucestershire, which was a present from the Queen. It has 730 acres of land, large stables and a trout lake.