Anne, the second eldest of the queen and Prince Philip’s four children, was with the 96-year-old queen when she died Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle, in Scotland, and escorted her mother’s coffin to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.
“I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest Mother’s life. It has been an honor and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys,” Anne said in a statement Tuesday. “Witnessing the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys has been both humbling and uplifting.”
“We will all share unique memories. I offer my thanks to each and every one who shares our sense of loss,” she continued. “We may have been reminded how much of her presence and contribution to our national identity we took for granted. I am also so grateful for the support and understanding offered to my dear brother Charles as he accepts the added responsibilities of The Monarch.”
Anne ended her statement with poignant words of appreciation, writing, “To my mother, The Queen, thank you.”
Anne was photographed curtseying to her mother’s coffin as it arrived at Holyroodhouse.
The next day, Anne, dressed in military uniform, walked with her four siblings behind their mother’s coffin in a procession from the palace to St. Giles’ Cathedral, where he lay in rest for 24 hours to allow people in Scotland to pay their respects.
At the cathedral, Anne made history by joining Charles and her two other brothers, Princes Andrew and Edward, in holding vigil at their mother’s coffin.
The tradition, known as Vigil of the Princes, had previously been carried out by male-only royal family members, making Anne the first female member to take part.
On Tuesday, Anne flew with the queen’s coffin from Edinburgh to London, where it traveled to Buckingham Palace.
On Wednesday, Anne will join her siblings in the procession that will move the coffin from the palace to Westminster Hall, where the queen will lie-in-state until her funeral on Sept. 19.
The sight of Anne by her mother’s side on her final journey was a striking and fitting image given the close bond the princess was known to have shared with her mother.
In becoming a mother of two with her first husband, Mark Phillips, Anne gave the queen and Philip the first two of their eight grandchildren, Peter Phillips and Zara Phillips Tindall.
Like the queen, Anne is known for her love of horses, a passion that led to her competing in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Anne was the first member of Britain’s royal family to compete in the Olympics. She rode her mother’s horse, Goodwill, in the three-day equestrian event in Montreal, according to the royal family’s website.
Nearly four decades later, Anne’s daughter, Zara Phillips Tindall, competed in the same event at the 2012 London Olympics and won a silver medal for Team Great Britain.
In addition to sharing a passion for horses, Anne shared a devotion to royal service with the queen, who met with Britain’s new prime minister at Balmoral just two days before her death.
In 2013, a law called the Succession to the Crown Act ended the centuries-old practice of a younger son superseding an elder daughter in the line of succession, but the law only applies to royals born after Oct. 28, 2011.
Like the queen, Anne started her royal work at a young age — in Anne’s case at the age of 18 — and never stopped.
She is currently involved with over 300 charities, organizations and military regiments in the UK and around the world, according to the royals’ website.
Anne has also helped to create several charities, including The Princess Royal’s Trust for Carers, which supports caregivers in the UK, and Transaid and Riders for Health, which each work to help people in developing countries by solving transportation difficulties.
“Can you see everybody?” Anne asked the queen, then 94, at the start of a June 2020 call with four carers during Carers Week in the UK “You should have six people on your screen.”
NEW: A first look behind the scenes of those royal video calls 💻
Watch how Princess Anne tried to teach her elderly mother about @zoom_us.
But her elderly mother is, err, the Queen.
🎥 A great clip from tomorrow’s documentary ‘Anne: The Princess Royal at 70’ on @itv 9 pm 👇 pic.twitter.com/duHzozH2x5
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) July 28, 2020
When the queen replied that she could only see four people on her screen, Anne replied with a laugh, “OK, fair enough. Actually, you don’t need me. You know what I look like.”
Now in the wake of her mother’s death and her brother’s accession to the throne, Anne is expected to continue her service as a senior working royal, joining Queen Camilla, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, and Prince William and his wife Kate, the Princess of Wales, in building the next chapter of the monarchy.