Timothy Laurence

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Sir Timothy Laurence
Laurence in 2023
Born (1955-03-01) 1 March 1955 (age 68)
Camberwell, London, England
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Navy
Years of service1973–2011
RankVice admiral
Commands heldChief Executive, Defence Estates (2007–10)
HMS Montrose (1996)
HMS Cumberland (1995–96)
HMS Boxer (1990–92)
HMS Cygnet (1982–83)
Battles/warsNATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina
AwardsKnight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Mentioned in Despatches
Companion of the Order of the Star of Melanesia (Papua New Guinea)
Alma materUniversity College, Durham
(m. 1992)

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy James Hamilton Laurence, KCVO, CB, CSM, ADC (born 1 March 1955) is a retired Royal Navy officer and husband of Anne, Princess Royal, the only sister of King Charles III. Laurence was equerry to Queen Elizabeth II from 1986 to 1989.

Early life and education[edit]

Timothy James Hamilton Laurence was born on 1 March 1955 in Camberwell, South London, the son of Commander Guy Stewart Laurence, RN (1896–1982; also salesman for a marine engine manufacturer), and Barbara Alison Laurence (née Symons, c. 1929–2019).[1][2] He has an older brother, Jonathan Dobree Laurence (born 1952). The Laurences descend from Zaccaria Levy, a Jewish merchant who arrived in England from Venice (and possibly initially from Baghdad) in the late 18th century. The family name was later changed to Laurence.[3]

Laurence was educated at The New Beacon Preparatory School and then at Sevenoaks School, Kent, and University College, University of Durham,[4] on a Naval Scholarship, where he received a Bachelor of Science upper 2nd class honours degree in geography. At university, he edited the student newspaper, Palatinate.[5]

Naval career[edit]

Laurence was commissioned a midshipman in the Royal Navy on 1 January 1973 and made an acting sub-lieutenant on 1 January 1975. Upon leaving Durham he completed his initial training at the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, and was posted to HMS Aurora, a Plymouth-based frigate.[1] He was promoted to lieutenant 10 months early, on 1 March 1977. In 1978, Laurence was attached to the training establishment HMS Vernon and in the next year served on the Ton-class minesweeper HMS Pollington.[6]

Laurence then served briefly as the second Navigating Officer of the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia, and from 1980 to 1982 he was Navigating Officer of the destroyer HMS Sheffield.[7] He took command of the patrol boat HMS Cygnet off Northern Ireland in 1982, as part of the patrols for IRA gun-runners. For his services he was mentioned in despatches.[6]

After attending HMS Dryad for the Principal Warfare Officer course, Laurence was promoted to lieutenant commander on 1 March 1985, and posted to the frigate HMS Alacrity. He attended the Royal Australian Navy Tactics Course at HMAS Watson, Sydney, in March 1986 during which he was notified of his first staff appointment as Equerry to the Queen,[7] a post he held from 11 October 1986 until 16 September 1989.[8][9] He was promoted to commander on 31 December 1988.[7]

In October 1989, Laurence was posted to the frigate HMS Boxer, and took over as commanding officer on 30 January 1990, at age 34. Between 1992 and 1994, Laurence served on the naval staff in the Ministry of Defence, London. On 16 May 1994, he was appointed the first military assistant to the Secretary of State for Defence, Malcolm Rifkind, to provide military advice in his private office.[6]

Laurence was promoted to captain on 30 June 1995, and until 1996 commanded the frigate HMS Cumberland. In May 1996, the ship returned from the Adriatic, where HMS Cumberland served in the NATO-led IFOR Task Force. On 27 August 1996, Laurence was appointed Commanding Officer of the frigate HMS Montrose as well as Captain of the 6th Frigate Squadron.[10] Until October 1996, the ship was deployed to the South Atlantic, on Falkland Islands patrol. In July 1997, Laurence returned to the Ministry of Defence, first on the Naval Staff and then from June 1998, on promotion to commodore, as a member of the Implementation Team for the 1998 Strategic Defence Review.[6]

Later career[edit]

From January 1999, Laurence was Hudson Visiting Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, where he wrote a paper on the relationship between humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping. He was then posted to the Joint Services Command and Staff College as a commodore, as assistant commandant (Navy), effective 15 June 1999. From 2001 to the spring of 2004, Laurence was back at the Ministry of Defence, as Director of Navy Resources and Programmes.[11]

Laurence was promoted to rear admiral on 5 July 2004,[12] and appointed Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff with responsibility for Resources and Plans. On 30 April 2007, he was promoted to vice admiral, and appointed chief executive of Defence Estates (later renamed Defence Infrastructure Organisation).[11]

Laurence became Head of Profession for the British Government's Property Asset Management community in July 2009. The community includes practitioners in construction procurement, estates and property management, and facilities/contracts management. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) made Laurence an Honorary Member in 2009.[13]

Laurence retired from the navy in August 2010 and now pursues a portfolio of mainly non-executive and charitable interests, with a particular emphasis on property and regeneration.[14] He was on the board of the project management company Capita Symonds until 2014 and is non-executive chairman of the property developers Dorchester Regeneration.[15][16] He is non-executive chairman of Purfleet Centre Regeneration, a newly established company specialising in site reclamation and regeneration.[17] He was a senior military adviser to PA Consulting until 2015.[18]

Laurence was chairman of the English Heritage Trust between April 2015 and December 2022 and until 30 June 2019 was vice chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.[19][20] He is a trustee of the HMS Victory Preservation Company.[21] His transport interests include membership of the Great Western Advisory Board.[22]

In December 2023 he was appointed Chair of the Science Museum Group.[23]


Laurence met Princess Anne when he served as an equerry to Queen Elizabeth II in 1986, at a time when it was much rumoured that her first marriage to Captain Mark Phillips was breaking down. In 1989, the existence of private letters from Laurence to the Princess was revealed by The Sun newspaper, though it did not name the sender. Buckingham Palace issued a statement: "The stolen letters were addressed to the Princess Royal by Commander Timothy Laurence, the Queen's Equerry. We have nothing to say about the contents of personal letters sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend which were stolen and which are the subject of a police investigation."[24]

Laurence and Princess Anne married on 12 December 1992 in a Church of Scotland ceremony at Crathie Kirk, near Balmoral (the Church of Scotland permits second marriages for divorced people). He received no peerage on marriage, but was made a personal aide-de-camp to the Queen in 2008 and invested in June 2011 as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.[25]

Laurence rode in the Scottish State Coach following the Coronation of King Charles III on 6 May 2023, while his wife was riding a horse in the procession. Facing forward were Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and his wife, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester.

Princess Anne kept her country estate, Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, after her divorce from Mark Phillips. After her marriage to Laurence, the couple leased, as their London residence, a flat in the Dolphin Square complex in Westminster. They later returned to apartments in Buckingham Palace and now have an apartment at St James's Palace.[26]


Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) 14 June 2011[29]
Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) 23 August 1989[30]
Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) - Military Division 16 June 2007[31]
General Service Medal 18 October 1983, with 1 Clasp Northern Ireland and oak leaf for Mentioned in dispatches[32]
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 6 February 2002[33]
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 6 February 2012[33]
Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal 6 February 2022[34]
King Charles III Coronation Medal 6 May 2023
Companion of the Order of the Star of Melanesia (CSM) 29 September 2005[35]

Authored articles[edit]

  • Laurence, Sir Tim (26 May 2020). "The Dunkirk evacuation was no 'miracle'". The Daily Telegraph.
  • Laurence, Sir Tim (5 December 2020). "Like it or not, building the Stonehenge tunnel is the best way to preserve this historic site". The Daily Telegraph.
  • Laurence, Sir Tim (1 May 2022). "More than ever, we must remember our historic bond with Poland and Ukraine". The Daily Telegraph.
  • Laurence, Sir Tim (29 December 2022). "We'd all lose out if our heritage crumbled away". The Daily Telegraph.


  1. ^ a b "Happy birthday Sir Timothy Laurence: ten facts about Princess Anne's husband". Hello!. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Laurence". Telegraph Announcements. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  3. ^ Klein, Emma (1996). Lost Jews: The Struggle for Identity Today. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-333-61946-9.
  4. ^ "Alumni in the Armed Forces". Durham University. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  5. ^ Qualtrough, Stuart (23 May 1999). "People's Prince Will's may go to Durham University". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 28 August 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d Wharton, James (13 June 2022). "Who is Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence?". Forces.Net. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "In Quiet Scottish Ceremony, Anne Marries Naval Officer". The New York Times. 13 December 1992. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  8. ^ "No. 50833". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 February 1987. p. 1951.
  9. ^ "No. 52074". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 March 1990. p. 3321.
  10. ^ "Getting to know Timothy Laurence". Royal Central. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  11. ^ a b Emily Wright (11 July 2008). "The line of duty – Tim Laurence, Defence Estates". Building.
  12. ^ "No. 57345". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 July 2004. p. 8387.
  13. ^ "DCMS appoints five new Commissioners for English Heritage". Department of Culture, Media and Sport. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  14. ^ Proctor, Charlie (12 December 2017). "Princess Anne and Sir Tim Laurence celebrate 25 years of marriage". Royal Central. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  15. ^ Eden, Richard (21 October 2012). "Royal concern as billion-pound contract could be clinched by firm that employs Princess Anne's husband". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Senior Management Team". Dorchester Group. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Sir Tim Laurence: We're serious about £800m Purfleet plan". Thurrock Gazette. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Vice Admiral Tim Laurence appointed as senior advisor at PA Consulting Group". PA Consulting. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  19. ^ "English Heritage announces social policy expert Gerard Lemos as its next Chair". English Heritage. English Heritage Trust. Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  20. ^ "HRH Princess Anne and Sir Tim Laurence attend CWGC Cemetery to mark centenary of the Zeebrugge Raid". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  21. ^ "The HMS Victory Preservation Company". CharityData. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Our People". English Heritage. Archived from the original on 31 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  23. ^ "Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, KCVO, CB appointed as Chair to the Science Museum Group".
  24. ^ Kaufman, Joanne; Cooper, Jonathan (24 April 1989). "A Crisis Rocks a Royal Marriage". People. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  25. ^ "Commonwealth War Graves Commission appoints new Commissioner" (Press release). 11 July 2011. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  26. ^ "The Royal Family". The Royal Family. Archived from the original on 9 March 2009.
  27. ^ "No. 49510". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 October 1983. p. 13651.
  28. ^ "Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence appointed Patron of the International Maritime Rescue Federation". IMRF. Retrieved on 27 September 2023.
  29. ^ "No. 59841". The London Gazette. 5 July 2011.
  30. ^ "No. 51858". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 September 1989. p. 10109.
  31. ^ "No. 58358". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2007. p. 2.
  32. ^ "No. 49510". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 October 1983. p. 13651.
  33. ^ a b Medal Yearbook 2021. Honiton, Devon: Token Publishing. 2021. p. 295. ISBN 978-1-908828-53-8.
  34. ^ "Platinum Jubilee Medal revealed". Gov.uk.
  35. ^ "Farewell, princess". Post-Courier Online. 30 September 2005. Archived from the original on 13 February 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2013.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Peter Dunt
Chief Executive of Defence Estates
Succeeded by
Andrew Manley
as Chief Executive, Defence Infrastructure Organisation