Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence's Relationship Timeline

Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence have been married since 1992

Princess Anne, Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. The 100th birthday of the RAF, which was founded on on 1 April 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new Queen's Colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace
Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence's marriage has been going strong since 1992.

As far as royal romances go, however, the pair had somewhat of a dramatic start. When they met, Anne was still married to Captain Mark Phillips, whom she wed in November 1973. Both Phillips and Anne, who share daughter Zara and son Peter, were rumored to have had extramarital relationships over the years. In 1989, Anne's romance with Laurence, who was an equerry for her mother, Queen Elizabeth, was exposed when love letters were stolen from Princess Royal — and her marriage publicly ended shortly after.

After divorcing Phillips in April 1992, Anne married Laurence in December of that year, and the couple have been going steady ever since. From their scandalous beginnings to their cozy life as grandparents, here's everything to know about Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence's relationship.

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1986: Sir Timothy Laurence joins the royal fold and meets Princess Anne

Princess Anne And Husband Timothy Laurence At Parc Des Princes Stadium On February 06th, 1993 In Paris France
Frederic REGLAIN/Gamma-Rapho

Laurence first entered the royal family's inner circle in 1986 when he became an equerry — a personal assistant — for the Queen. Those close to Laurence told PEOPLE that he and Anne developed an affection for one another right away.

"Tim never stopped thinking about Princess Anne from soon after their first meeting … Anne has treated him as her closest confidant for some considerable time," a source told PEOPLE in 1989. "Obviously, Tim and the princess were physically attracted to each other, but their friendship goes deeper than that. Tim has filled a loneliness in her life and given her a shoulder to cry on when she needed someone to tell her troubles to. He understands her tantrums and the bad publicity she attracts. But most of all, he cares for her in the way her husband does not."

Spring 1988: Princess Anne visits Sir Timothy Laurence when he falls ill

Before their affair was revealed, the princess reportedly visited Laurence when he had shingles, though no one thought much of it at the time.

"The princess was extremely worried about his health and went around to his home to cheer him up," one of Laurence's Royal Navy colleagues later told PEOPLE. "This happened several times, and Tim was grateful for her interest and caring attitude."

A neighbor observed that Anne brought her young children Peter and Zara with her to visit Laurence.

"There was no attempt to hide the fact that any of them were there," the neighbor said. "They all seemed to be having a good time."

September 1988: Princess Anne names Sir Timothy Laurence as an adviser to her charity

Amanda Stanton wedding
Alicia Mink

In September 1988, Anne named Laurence as one of just three advisers to Anne's Charities Trust. "The appointment just shows Anne's affection for him," a source said.

March 1989: Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence's love letters are stolen

Sources claimed that love letters between Laurence and Princess Anne were stolen from her desk or briefcase before the end of March 1989. The letters were reportedly penned over an 18-month period and hand-delivered to Buckingham Palace instead of Anne's Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire, England, where she primarily resided with then-husband Phillips.

A source who read the letters revealed to PEOPLE, "It's quite clear that he is potty about her, but they are very boring and ramble on. They are the sort of letters 18- or 19-year-olds write to one another, thoughts about life and rather philosophical."

A "security" insider told a tabloid in April 1989 of the letters' contents. "The contents are not raunchy and do not suggest any intimacy, but they are written in affectionate terms," the source said. "If Captain Phillips wanted to know why they were written, the princess would have some answering to do."

April 1989: The press teases Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence's letters

Before it was possible to break the internet, Anne and Laurence's love letter scandal nearly broke the British press.

The Sun, Britain's largest-selling newspaper at the time, claimed it obtained the stolen letters. Instead of printing their contents — and risking a breach of copyright litigation — the paper ran a story with the headline "PALACE THIEF STEALS ANNE'S LETTERS … SUN TO THE RESCUE" and turned the four letters over to Scotland Yard.

While The Sun didn't say who wrote the letters, the palace revealed the authors in a rare 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," the statement read.

When the news broke, Anne and Phillips competed in equestrian competitions 150 miles apart. Phillips told reporters, "I know Tim Laurence is an equerry. I left home on Friday and have not spoken to Princess Anne since. I will be ringing home tonight on my car phone to find out what is going on."

August 15, 1989: Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence celebrate her 39th birthday

Princesse Anne and Timothy Laurence, 1993
Chip HIRES/Gamma-Rapho

Adding further fuel to rumors that Anne and Phillips' marriage was on the rocks, Phillips skipped Anne's 39th birthday celebration at Balmoral Castle in 1989. Instead, Laurence was on hand to celebrate with the princess.

Days later, Laurence was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen.

August 1989: Princess Anne and Mark Phillips announce their separation

While the palace originally said Anne and Phillips had no plans to divorce, the couple announced their separation in August 1989.

When asked about Anne's separation, Laurence told reporters, "Of course it has been very difficult. I'm hoping life will be back to normal in a couple of weeks."

April 1992: Princess Anne and Mark Phillips divorce

Though their separation announcement indicated that Anne and Phillips didn't intend to pursue a divorce, Anne filed for an uncontested divorce in April 1992.

A former royal staffer later told Robert Hardman, author of Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II, that the Queen struggled privately with her children's divorces. (Prince Charles and Prince Andrew both got divorced in 1996.)

"It distressed her much more than she let on," the staffer recalled. "I said, 'Ma'am, it seems to be happening everywhere. This is almost common practice.' But she just said, 'Three out of four!' in sheer sadness and exasperation. One shouldn't underestimate the pain she's been through."

May 1992: Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence make their public debut

Princess Anne, As President Of The Royal Yachting Association, Attends The London Boat Show At Excel, Accompanied By Husband Tim Laurence
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press

In her typical low-key fashion, Princess Anne subtly announced her relationship with Laurence following her divorce. In May 1992, Laurence and Anne attended the Royal Caledonian Ball and were photographed dancing together.

December 12, 1992: Princess Anne marries Sir Timothy Laurence

Tim Laurence and the Princess Royal (formerly Princess Anne) smile after their marriage at Crathie Church, near Balmoral, Scotland
PA Images

Just a few months after her divorce from Phillips was finalized, Anne and Laurence tied the knot on Dec. 12, 1992.

The couple wed at Balmoral in Scotland with Anne's children Zara and Peter in tow. Prince Philip walked the princess down the aisle. According to BBC, Laurence wore his Royal Navy uniform, while Princess Anne wore a "simple white suit." The nuptials were a small affair, with only about 30 guests in attendance.

2004: Sir Timothy Laurence is appointed a personal aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth

A former equerry to the Queen, Laurence was appointed a new position in 2004. He became a personal aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth, a position that can only be given to members of the royal family who hold military rank.

May 17, 2008: Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence attend Peter Phillips' wedding

Peter was Anne's first child to get married, having wed Autumn Phillips on May 17, 2008, in Windsor, England. Laurence attended the nuptials with Anne and the rest of the royal family.

However, Peter and Autumn announced their separation in 2020 after 12 years of marriage.

July 30, 2011: Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence attend Zara Tindall's wedding

Princess Anne's daughter Zara wed husband Mike Tindall on July 30, 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Princess Royal and Laurence attended the wedding together and were photographed in a car on the Royal Mile following the ceremony.

September 14, 2019: Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence have a family day out

Anne, a former Olympic equestrian, and Laurence made a public appearance together at the Gatcombe Horse Trials on Sept. 15, 2019. They were joined by her daughter-in-law, Autumn, and grandchildren Savannah and Isla Phillips. The equestrian event was held at Anne's Gatcombe Park residence.

August 2020: Sir Timothy Laurence jokes about Princess Anne's first marriage

Princess Anne, Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence attend Royal Ascot Day 3 at Ascot Racecourse on June 21, 2018 in Ascot, United Kingdom
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press

In the ITV documentary Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, Laurence cracked a joke about his wife's romantic history.

"It's quite amusing that she married first an army officer and then a naval officer. So there must be something about the military that attracts her," he said.

February 6, 2021: Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence share a rare look at their home

In 2021, the royal family shared an Instagram photo of Anne and Laurence at home on the Royal Family's official Instagram page. In the photo, the pair watched Scotland's rugby team compete in the Calcutta Cup from their cozy living room.

December 2021: Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Laurence isolate after he gets COVID-19

Anne and Laurence could not join the Queen for Christmas after Laurence tested positive for COVID-19.

Queen Elizabeth had previously canceled the annual royal Christmas celebration, as well as her annual holiday luncheon, as a precaution amid rising cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant in the U.K.

June 16, 2022: Sir Timothy Laurence joins Princess Anne and Zara Tindall at the Royal Ascot

Timothy Laurence and Princess Anne, Princess Royal attend the third day of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2022 in Ascot, England
Mark Cuthbert/UK Press

The princess and her husband attended the Royal Ascot with her daughter Zara in June 2022. The mother-daughter duo and Laurence waved to the crowd as they led the carriage procession for the third day of the event.

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