Inside The Unconventional Family Setup of Princess Anne at Gatcombe Park

wedding of Stephanie Phillips

Apart from Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, who still shares a home with his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, in the Royal Lodge, another child of the Queen who has an unconventional home setup with an ex, is Anne, the Princess Royal.

Although they are not literally living in the same house, Mark Phillips and Princess Anne live together in the same estate, Gatcombe Park, even after their divorce in 1992. 

The estate was bought by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1976 as a wedding gift, three years after Princess Anne and Mark Phillips wed in 1973. 

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and went on to serve in the Army as a Second Lieutenant. He also became a champion equestrian. 

He was part of the Team Great Britain that won gold in the Equestrian event during the 1972 Munich Olympics, and silver during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. 

Princess Anne was also an Equestrian champion and was part of Team Great Britain during the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

They met in 1968 on the equestrian circuit. And got married in November 1973, on the 25th birthday of Princess Anne's older brother, Prince Charles. 

wedding of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips. November 1973

It was thought possible Mark Phillips was offered an Earldom by the Queen, but declined, preferring to be called "Captain".

By the time he married Princess Anne in 1973, Phillips was an acting Captain. He was promoted to Captain in 1975 and retired from the Army in 1978.

Their eldest child, Peter, was born in 1977, followed by Zara in 1981.  Later, the couple was rumored to have marital problems. They were rarely seen together in public and both were thought to be involved in extramarital affairs. 

Their marital troubles became known in public when in 1985 Mark Phillips fathered a love child with New Zealand art teacher, Heather Tonkin, confirming the paternity tests in 1991.

Captain Mark Phillips and Princess Anne separated in 1989 and divorced in March 1992, around the same time the separation of the Duke and Duchess of York was announced. 

Eight months later, Princess Anne remarried to Commander Timothy Laurence. While Mark Phillips remarried to Sandy Pflueger, an American equestrian, in 1997, their only child, Stephanie, was born that year.

In 2012, Mark and Sandy announced separation due to his infidelity with a woman 28 years his junior, Lauren Hough, who is also an equestrian.

Zara Tindall and Mark Phillips
Zara and his dad, Mark Phillips. Getty Images

Phillips is a renowned equestrian coach. He worked with the U.S. event team for 20 years and retired after the 2012 Olympics. He also coached his daughter, Zara, who won silver with Team Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.

Now, Mark Phillips is a cross-country course designer for equestrian events. He still lives at Gatcombe Park's Aston Farm. He also chairs horseback riding competitions and organized annually the Festival of British Eventing at the grounds of Gatcombe. 

Phillips is also a regular columnist for Horse & Hound, making him the magazine's longest-standing columnist, having written there for over 30 years.

Zara Phillips Tindall and her family
Princess Anne, Timothy Laurene, Zara and Mark Phillips

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips remained civil following their divorce for the sake of their children. They are often spotted together at their daughter's equestrian events, looking perfectly composed. 

Gatcombe Park

Gatcombe Park is a country estate located between the villages of Minchinhampton and Avening in the heart of the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, just a few miles away from Highgrove, Prince Charles' home in nearby Tetbury. It is both a home and a farmland, and covers approximately 730 acres of land. 

Gatcombe Park
Gatcombe Park.  ©Getty Images 

The Queen and Prince Philip bought the property in 1976 from Conservative politician, R.A. Butler, as a wedding present for their daughter, Princess Anne, and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, who wed in November 1973. 

The newlyweds moved in a year later and bought Aston Farm in 1978, expanding the property of Gatcombe. They also developed the estate into a home farm and added several stables for horses. 

Aston farm
Aston Farm within Gatcombe Estate. 

After their divorce in 1992, Mark moved into nearby Aston Farm. And lived there with his second wife, Sandy, and their daughter, Stephanie.

Today, Gatcombe is run as a working farm with a range of livestock, including breeding horses and cattle. It is also home to the Festival of British Eventing, which takes place on the grounds every August, organized by Mark Phillips, with an input from Princess Anne.

The Princess Royal has always been keen to make the estate work and earn money for itself, as she revealed on the BBC program Countryfile: "It's really nice to come back and just be yourself in an area like this. Being able to take on a place like this—for me, I’ve got to make it work. This is not something that comes free, this has got to pay its way, otherwise, I can’t stay here."

Princess Anne once shared a glimpse of Gatcombe Park on the Royal Family instagram account, taken as part of the guest editorial role with Country Life Magazine, and to mark her 70th birthday. Royal fans were able to see her stunning farmland and stables of horses. 

Prince Philip and his grandchildren
The young Peter Phillips and Zara with their grandfather, Prince Philip

The main house, where Princess Anne lives with Sir Tim Laurence, has seven bedrooms, four reception rooms, a library, a billiard room, and a conservatory. 

Peter and Autumn lived on the grounds of Gatcombe Park with their daughters, Savannah and Isla, during their marriage. They were joined by Zara and Mike Tindall in 2013, when the couple moved to live there.

Their respective cottages were reportedly situated closer to Aston Farm.

Peter and Autumn

Peter Phillips is the eldest grandchild of the Queen and Prince Philip, and was fifth in the line of succession to the British throne until 1982 when Prince William was born. 

Wedding of Peter and Autumn in May 2008. Stephanie Phillips (far right)  served as 
one of the two flower girls. Zara (far left) acted as one of the bride's maids

He wed Autumn Kelly, a Canadian management consultant, in May 2008 at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. They shared two daughters, Savannah and Isla. 

But the couple announced separation in February 2020 and divorced in June 2021. Autumn continued to live in Gatcombe Park where she shared custody of her daughters with Peter. Both Peter and Autumn already found a new love after finalizing their divorce on June 14, 2021.

Peter Phillips and Lindsay Wallace at Stephanie's wedding 
© Mark Stewart Photography

Peter introduced Lindsay Wallace, a daughter of an oil tychoon, to his family in November 2021 when she accompanied him to the joint christening of Zara's son, Lucas, and Princess Eugenie's son, August, at the Queen's chapel in Windsor. 

Lindsay Wallace attends Royal Ascot
Lindsay Wallace attends rode in a royal carriage

Lindsay Wallace attends Royal Ascot
Peter Phillips and Lindsay Wallace at Royal Ascot, June 2022

Although it's unclear how long they've been a couple, Peter made headlines in March 2021 when he visited Lindsay at her £475,000 home in the village of St Cyrus, Scotland, raising questions about whether he had broken lockdown restrictions. 

However, the first publicly known visit of Peter to Lindsay was in August 2020. The two did not confirm relationship until November 2021.

Peter and Lindsay met through his sister Zara. The two ladies went to school together at Gordonstoun and thought to have established bond since then. She attended Zara and Mike Tindall's wedding in 2011. 

The friendship between Lindsay, 40, and Peter, 44, turned romantic after they both went through divorces. She has two children with her ex-husband.

Lindsay Wallace attends Royal Ascot
Peter Phillips, Lindsay Wallace, Prince William

They made their relationship public when Peter brought Lindsay to the Epsom Derby, attended by members of the Royal Family, on June 4, 2022.

In a break with royal tradition, Lindsay Wallace was allowed to ride in the royal carriage with Peter during the Royal Ascot in June, which was unprecedented. No royal girlfriends or boyfriends were ever allowed to ride in the royal carriage. 

Autumn also found a new love in the person of a billionaire property developer, Donal Mulryan. He is the founder of the UK development and construction company, Rockwell, reportedly worth 5 billion. 

Autumn Kelly and Donal Mulryan
Autumn Kelly with Donal Mulryan at Stephanie's wedding 
© Mark Stewart Photography

Donal is a Patron of the Patchwork Foundation, which seeks to engage young people from disadvantaged and minority communities in politics and civil society. He is reportedly a good friend of Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Autumn Kelly with her daughters © Mark Stewart Photography

As of June 2022, Autumn moved out of Gatcombe Park but chose to live nearby, in Cirencester, just within distance of Gatcombe Park where her daughters and ex-husband lived.

A Family Affair

On July 8, 2022, the youngest daughter of Captain Mark Phillips, Stephanie Phillips, wed William Hosier at St. Mary The Virgin Church in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. 

Stephanie Phillips on her wedding day
Stephanie Phillips and William Hosier © Mark Stewart Photography

Princess Anne attended the event, watching her ex-husband walk his daughter down the aisle, showing there were no signs of bad blood between her and Mark Phillips.

Mark Phillips and Stephanie Phillips on her wedding day
Mark Phillips and Stephanie on her wedding day 
 © Mark Stewart Photography

Peter Phillips attended the wedding with Lindsay Wallace, while Autumn brought her new love, Donal Mulryan, to the event. Savannah and Isla Phillips, Mia and Lena Tindall served as flower girls.

Princess Anne attends Stephanie Phillips wedding
 ©Mark Stewart Photography

Princess Anne attends Stephanie Phillips wedding
Lindsay Wallace, Princess Anne, Zara Tindall at Stephanie's wedding
 ©Mark Stewart Photography

Stephanie grew up in Aston Farm on the Gatcombe estate close to her royal half-siblings, as Princess Anne's ex continued to live there after their divorce in 1992. 

Zara Tindall attends Stephani Phillips wedding
Zara Tindall attends Stephanie Phillips' wedding
 ©Mark Stewart Photography

Stephanie is also an equestrian, competing in events from Wellington International Horse Trials to the West Wiltshire Trials.

Stephanie Phillips at Zara's wedding
Stephanie Phillips (right) served as bride's maid at Zara's wedding
Zara Phillips and Captain Mark Phillips
Captain Mark Philips and daughter Zara on her wedding in 2011

Stephanie attended the prestigious Dean Close School in Cheltenham and went on to study Business Management at the University of Worcester. She graduated last year.

Despite her royal connections, Stephanie maintained a low-key profile throughout her time at school, and even worked as a barmaid at a local pub.

She completed both the bronze and gold Duke of Edinburgh awards on the scheme, which was founded by her half-sister's grandfather. 

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