Princess Anne warns younger Royals to 'go back to basics' when it comes to public service in rare interview

Princess Anne has warned the younger generation of royals to “go back to basics” rather than attempt to "reinvent the wheel" when it comes to public service.

The Queen’s only daughter has given a rare interview ahead of her 70th birthday this summer.

The Princess Royal, who remains one of the hardest working members of the family (she was only just eclipsed by her older brother Prince Charles last year), has no plans to retire even at an age when most people would be putting their feet up.

She told Vanity Fair: “I don’t think retirement is quite the same [for me]”.

Princess Anne says she plans to keep supporting her patronages and charities for as long as the organisations feel she is "still relevant”.

Princess Anne with the Queen's horse, Goodwill during an Olympics training sessions in 1976. Credit: PA

She has worked with, among other charities, Save the Children for 50 years - travelling extensively overseas with the charity to support its work.

The Princess, who will often pack several royal engagements a day into her diary, has advised the younger generation of royals not to change the Royal Family’s tried and tested approach to duty and philanthropy.

She told the magazine that her advice to other members of the family is simple: “Don’t forget the basics”.

And Princess Anne cautioned: “I don’t think this younger generation probably understands what I was doing in the past and it’s often true, isn’t it?

"You don’t necessarily look at the previous generation and say, ‘Oh, you did that?’ Or, ‘You went there?’ Nowadays, they’re much more looking for, ‘Oh let’s do it a new way.’

"And I’m already at the stage, ‘Please do not reinvent that particular wheel. We’ve been there, done that. Some of these things don’t work.”

Princess Anne with her father the Duke of Edinburgh watching the dressage at London 2012. Credit: PA

She was speaking shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left the Royal Family and moved to Los Angeles after being unable to make royal life work in the UK.

The Princess Royal, who has a reputation for inheriting her father’s quick wit and sharp tongue, also spoke about her passion for horses.

She competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympics in the equestrian three-day event and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971.

“I thought if I was going to do anything outside of the royal family, horses was likely to be the best way of doing it,” she said.

Asked about her reputation for re-wearing outfits for many years, even decades, the Princess replies, dryly, it’s “because I’m quite mean. I still try and buy materials and have them made up because I just think that’s more fun. It also helps to support those who still manufacture in this country.”

Princess Anne would not be drawn on the recent announcement that her son, Peter Philips was getting divorced from his wife Autumn.

But she did speak about wanting to get her four grandchildren outside as often as possible.

She said: “I find it very difficult to understand why anybody gets sucked into screens and devices. Life’s too short, frankly. There’s more entertaining things to be done”.

But she did acknowledge that: “I suppose that puts me in the real dinosaur range.”