On May 6, 2023, more than 13 million people tuned in to watch the coronation of King Charles III on BBC. But throughout the historic broadcast, many viewers couldn’t help but point out one noticeable detail about Princess Anne’s wardrobe.
Anne, 73, wore her military uniform and a hat that had a large red feathered plume on top to the coronation of her eldest brother. Throughout the ceremony, the camera panned to the royal as she stood in front of Prince Harry, whose face was obscured on camera due to the feather.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more deliberate snub than putting Harry behind Princess Anne’s feather #HarryWho #Coronation,” one person wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, at the time.
Another chimed in, “You just know Princess Anne has put that big feather on top to block Harry’s face.”
In the new book Charles III: New King. New Court. The Inside Story, author Robert Hardman addressed the social media controversy that the hat caused.
“At the Coronation itself, Prince Harry was seated in the third row of the royal section, immediately behind Princess Anne, who was wearing a striking red-plumed bicorn hat that remained on her head throughout,” an excerpt of the book published by Daily Mail read. “Social media snipers instantly concluded that Harry had been deliberately placed behind his aunt’s tall hat to obscure his view.”
The excerpt continued, “This is nonsense. Not only do the Lord Chamberlain’s Office not think like that, but the Princess Royal had only switched to that seat after her request for a speedy exit.”
Anne herself also addressed the rumors surrounding her hat and shot down the idea that she wanted to block Harry’s face on purpose.
“The hat was an interesting question,” she reflected. “I said: ‘Are you sure you want me to keep the hat on? Because it’s quite a decent-sized hat.’ And the answer was yes. There you go. Not my choice.”
Harry, 39, attended the ceremony without his wife, Meghan Markle, and kids Archie and Lilibet. The couple stepped back from their royal duties in January 2020 and have since been living in Montecito, California, with their children.
In his 2023 memoir, Spare, Harry revealed that Anne was the one who greeted him upon his arrival at Balmoral Castle in Scotland when Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022.
“I hurried into the foyer. Aunt Anne was there to greet me. I hugged her,” Harry wrote. “She led me upstairs, to Granny’s bedroom. I braced myself, went in.”