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Princess Anne performed an impressive four royal engagements on a whirlwind tour of New York City yesterday as she became the first senior royal to visit the US since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to California in 2020.
The Princess Royal, 72, proved why she is often called the “hardest-working royal” when she made a surprise appearance in the East Coast town to visit various locations and present prizes.
Her visit to the US marks the first trip made by a senior member of the royal family since Harry and Meghan stepped down as working royals and moved to Santa Barbara, California shortly before the pandemic.
Princess Anne, 72, took a ferry trip from Staten Island yesterday as part of her whirlwind tour of New York
The Princess Royal’s trip to the US is a senior royal’s first since Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021
It is also the first visit since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s explosive interview with veteran broadcaster Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, in which they made accusations of racism against a senior member of the family, whom they did not name.
But royal fans who may have feared a frosty reception for the Princess Royal amid the canyon were no doubt relieved to see Anne welcomed with open arms by New Yorkers.
Speaking to Oprah last year, the Duchess of Sussex, who was pregnant with her youngest child Lilibet at the time, recalled discussions she allegedly had with members of The Firm while carrying her oldest child, Archie.
She claimed there were “conversations and concerns about how dark his skin might be when he is born.”
The Princess Royal also carried out royal engagements just days after the Queen’s funeral when she met naval officers at Portsmouth Naval Base
The accusation sent shockwaves through the entire royal family, though Harry and Meghan declined to name the relative who had asked the question.
“I’m never going to share that conversation,” he told the interviewer.
The couple later clarified that it was neither the Queen nor the Duke of Edinburgh.
In response to the interview, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II issued an unprecedented statement expressing her sadness at Harry and Meghan’s experience at The Firm.
She said: ‘The whole family is saddened to hear how challenging the past few years have been for Harry and Meghan.
“The issues raised, especially those of race, are worrying. While some memories may differ, they are taken very seriously and will be treated personally by the family.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be beloved relatives.”
Since the interview aired, which led to reports of a deeper rift between Harry and Meghan and The Firm, not a single senior member of the royal family has visited the US.
Meanwhile, the couple has continued to build a life for themselves in Santa Barbara, where Harry plays for the Los Padres polo team and Meghan has launched her podcast Archetypes, which tops Spotify’s streaming lists.
Given that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are hugely successful in the US, some royal fans may have assumed that other senior royals might not be as popular – but Anne’s visit to New York put those rumors to rest.
After arriving at John F Kennedy Airport on Tuesday, the Princess Royal was greeted by His Majesty’s Consul General for New York, Mrs. Emma Wade-Smith, and was later the guest of honor at an English Speaking Union gala dinner at the Cosmopolitan Club.
Before attending the dinner, Anne, who is the honorary president of the Campaign for Illuminating Future Generations, also took a ferry trip to Staten Island to attend the National Lighthouse Museum, then attended a reception at the View at the battery.
The Princess Royal then attended the residence of His Majesty’s Consul General to New York to present the awards, before whizzing off to the gala dinner held by the Gordonstoun American Foundation at the Racquet and Tennis Club on Park Avenue, which she attended in her role as patron of the Gordonstoun Campaign.
Princess Anne’s trip to the US marked her second official appearance since Her Majesty’s death, after a visit to Portsmouth Naval Base, where she met Royal Navy personnel involved in the Queen’s funeral a few days after duty.