Princess Anne carried out an impressive four royal engagements on a whirlwind tour of New York City yesterday as she became the first senior royal to visit the US since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to California in 2020.
The Princess Royal, 72, proved why she is often dubbed the ‘hardest working royal’ as she made a surprise appearance in the east-coast city to visit several different sites and present awards.
Her visit to the US is the first trip made by a senior member of the Royal Family since Harry and Meghan stepped down as working royals and moved to Santa Barbara, California, shortly before the pandemic.
Princess Anne, 72, took a trip on the Staten Island ferry yesterday as part of her whirlwind tour of New York
The Princess Royal’s trip to the US is the first from a senior royal since Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021
It is also the first visit since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s explosive interview with veteran broadcaster Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, in which they made allegations of racism about a senior member of the family, whom they did not name.
But royal fans who may have feared a frosty reception for the Princess Royal amid the rift were no doubt relieved to see Anne welcomed with open arms by New Yorkers.
Speaking to Oprah last year, the Duchess of Sussex, who was pregnant with her youngest child Lilibet at the time, recalled the discussions she allegedly had with members of The Firm while she was carrying her eldest child, Archie.
She claimed there were ‘conversations and concerns about how dark his skin might be when he is born’.
The Princess Royal also carried out royal engagements just days after the Queen’s funeral as she met with naval officers at the Portsmouth Naval Base
The allegation sent shockwaves throughout the Royal Family, though Harry and Meghan declined to name the member of the family who had asked the question.
‘That conversation, I am never going to share,’ he told the interviewer.
The couple later clarified it was neither the Queen nor the Duke of Edinburgh.
In response to the interview, Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II issued an unprecedented statement expressing her sadness for Harry and Meghan’s experience within The Firm.
She said: ‘The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.
‘The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.’
Since the interview aired, which sparked reports of a deepening rift between Harry and Meghan and The Firm, no senior member of the Royal Family has paid a visit to the US.
Meanwhile the couple have continued to build a life for themselves in Santa Barbara, where Harry plays for the Los Padres polo team and Meghan has launched her podcast, Archetypes, which has topped the Spotify streaming charts.
As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex enjoy huge success in the US, some royal fans may have assumed other senior royals might not be so popular – but Anne’s New York visit put those rumours to bed.
After arriving at John F Kennedy Airport on Tuesday, the Princess Royal was greeted by His Majesty’s Consul-General for New York, Mrs Emma Wade-Smith, and was later the guest of honour at a gala dinner for the English Speaking Union at the Cosmopolitan Club.
Before attending the dinner, Anne, who is the honorary chair of the Campaign for Illuminating Future Generations, also took a trip on the Staten Island ferry to attend the National Lighthouse Museum, and then attended a Reception at the View at the Battery.
The Princess Royal then attended the Residence of His Majesty’s Consul-General for New York to present honours, before whizzing off to the gala dinner held by the Gordonstoun American Foundation at the Racquet and Tennis Club on Park Avenue, which she attended in her role as patron of the Campaign for Gordonstoun.
Princess Anne’s trip to the US marked her second official appearance since the death of Her Majesty, following a visit to Portsmouth Naval Base where she met Royal Navy Personnel involved in the Queen’s funeral, just a few days after the service.