When Prince Charles becomes King, many royal commentators have speculated that Princess Anne will have a front and centre role in the Royal Family. Despite rumours that the Prince of Wales wants to slim down the monarchy, his close relationship with his younger sister and his respect for her hard work may mean the Princess Royal continues to have a strong role in the institution.
“But Anne’s straight-talking, stoic approach could be the perfect complement to her more inwardly-focused often self-pitying older brother.
“Their deeper bonds as siblings are probably about to become even stronger now they have lost their father.
“They grew up as a close unit of two as the Queen’s other sons weren’t born until Anne and Charles were well out of childhood.
“They must have both watched as their mother doted on Andrew and Edward and although there were signs that Anne was happy to join in this new family dynamic, Charles often looked more like a melancholy outsider.
“Anne always looked more confident and spontaneous than Charles, but photos of them together as small children show Charles using body language that suggests he was both attentive to and rather ‘big brother’ protective of Anne.”
Judi continued: “The fact the pair are even dressed in identical outfits in one pose suggests this sense of sibling closeness was very much encouraged by their parents.
“In their teenage years the confidence gap appears to have widened to a point where Charles’s role as sibling protector was no longer necessary and it is here, we can see the relationship looking more ‘cobbled together’ than naturally close and empathetic.
“Anne’s body language looks open and totally lacking in anxiety, but Charles was struggling with some social shyness and beginning to adopt some of the anxiety, self-comfort rituals that have been a constant feature of his body language ever since, like fiddling with his cuffs and patting at his clothing in ‘checking’ gestures.
“More recent photos suggest the formation of a ‘team of two’ in terms of their roles in the royal Firm.
“Anne seems to have moved up into a role of strength and continuity for her brother and their sense of loyalty to the throne and dedication to what they see as service appears to bind them in a way that friendship might have not.
“Anne seems to have inherited her father’s confidence and his lack of toleration of ‘suffering fools’.
“Charles’s more self-pitying traits might have alienated him from Anne but their understanding of royal protocols and their loyalty to a more traditional approach rather than the accessible and less ‘regal’ route that William appears to be taking mean the bonds of empathy between them should have grown recently as they both step up in terms of visibility and into their mother’s shoes.
“Charles has chosen a wife to support and compliment him rather than an iconic, stand-alone future Queen.
“Camilla seems to be his wife first and foremost, meaning although she will boost him quietly as King she is unlikely to take a share of his spotlight personally.
“Which means Anne’s presence should be a way of balancing the dynamic for Charles in terms of offering honesty and a lack of obsequious agreement that must be a feature of his life in future,” Judi explained.
“The photos at Philip’s funeral probably define their new relationship dynamic best: visibly distraught and overcome with emotion, as Charles is the one sibling not adopting a more military pose here.
“His head turns in the direction of his sister as though her signals of strength and stoicism are something he might be keen to draw from.”