Like everyone else that’s been binging season four of Netflix’s The Crown, we too have many questions about all the past royal family scandals that the show has revisited, including the love affair that went on between Princess Anne and her bodyguard, Peter Cross.
During a scene in episode four where Queen Elizabeth II summons her daughter Princess Anne for a one-on-one picnic, the monarch asks if everything is going alright with her daughter’s marriage to Mark Phillips, remarking that “there’s been… talk.”
The ‘talk’, as most royal enthusiasts will know, was based on the rumours that Anne was actually having an affair with her bodyguard, Sergeant Peter Cross.
It’s then that the Queen informs her that in light of the damaging rumours, Scotland Yard are considering reassigning Cross back to ‘desk duties’. Anne, who becomes visibly upset, says “Don’t do that to me. You can’t. He’s the one thing that makes me happy.”
While Princess Anne has never acknowledged the rumours in public, even taking more of a backseat during public appearances since speculation arose, Cross has insisted that it did indeed take place.
So, what exactly went down between the two? We take a deep dive.
The Real Story Behind Princess Anne’s Rumoured Affair With Her Bodyguard
Detective Sergeant Peter Cross is a police officer who worked for Scotland Yard in the 1970s. In 1979, he was assigned to the royal protection detail, eventually becoming Princess Anne‘s personal bodyguard for almost a year—which is when the rumours began to swirl of an illicit affair.
According to Cross, Anne, who had been married to Mark Phillips from 1973-1992, even had a pseudonym of ‘Mrs. Wallis’ for when she contacted him.
And when Scotland Yard reportedly caught wind of the conflict of interest, they removed him from his station with the royals. This, however, did not stop the two from allegedly continuing to see each other. According to Harry Arnold, the reporter who initially broke the story in The Sun, they carried out the affair until it became a public scandal, at which point Anne allegedly ended the relationship.
Cross reportedly confirmed the story to Arnold a couple of years after the news broke.
He apparently told him, “When you wrote that story I was still married and I couldn’t admit it, but yet it was true and I can now tell you that it was true because I am now divorced.” He went on to sell his story to The News of the World in 1984.
While Anne’s marriage survived the scandal, she went on to fall for naval officer Commander Timothy Laurence. After her divorce from Phillips in 1992, she married Laurence.
When reflecting on the year that saw three of her four children go through difficult and very public breakups, the Queen remarked “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.”
Anne, who is Prince Charle’s older sister, is played by Erin Doherty in Netflix’s The Crown.
Read about all the other royal controversies the latest season is airing here.