Mark Phillips

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Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips 1980.jpg
Phillips in 1980
Personal information
Birth nameMark Anthony Peter Phillips
Born (1948-09-22) 22 September 1948 (age 72)
Tetbury, Gloucestershire, England
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight79 kg (174 lb)
(m. 1973; div. 1992)
(m. 1997; sep. 2012)
SportHorse riding
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Unit1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards
AwardsCommander of the Royal Victorian Order

Mark Anthony Peter Phillips CVO ADC (born 22 September 1948) is an English Olympic gold medal-winning horseman for Great Britain and the first husband of Anne, Princess Royal, with whom he has two children. He remains a leading figure in British equestrian circles, a noted eventing course designer, and a columnist for Horse & Hound magazine.

Family background and early life[edit]

Mark Phillips is the son of Major Peter William Garside Phillips, MC (1920–1998)[1] and Anne Patricia Phillips (née Tiarks;[2] 1926–1988)[1]; they married in 1946. Anne was educated at Downe House and served in the Women's Royal Naval Service during the Second World War.[2] Her father John Gerhard Edward Tiarks (1896–1962), who served in the First and Second World Wars, attained the rank of Brigadier. John Tiarks was aide-de-camp to King George VI from 1947 to 1950. Mark had a younger sister, Sarah Anne Staples (née Phillips; 1951–2014).[3]

Phillips was educated at Stouts Hill Preparatory School near Uley, Gloucestershire, then at Marlborough College, then the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[4]

Military career[edit]

Mark Phillips in 1973

Upon passing out from Sandhurst, Phillips was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards in July 1969,[5] After the expected period, he was promoted to Lieutenant in January 1971.[6] By the time of his wedding to Princess Anne in November 1973, Phillips was an acting Captain.[7] In January 1974, he was appointed a Personal aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II.[8] Phillips was substantively promoted to Captain in July 1975,[9] and retired from the Army on 30 March 1978.[10]

He continued to style himself Captain Mark Phillips;[11] as it is usual for retired cavalry captains to keep using their rank if their civilian job involves working with horses in racing or equestrian sports.[12]

Equestrian career[edit]

Phillips was a reserve member of the British equestrian team for the 1968 Olympics. He was part of the British three-day event teams that won a world title in 1970, a European title in 1971 and Olympic gold medals in 1972; individually, he finished in 35th place in 1972. At the 1988 Olympics, his horse sustained a pulled muscle and could not complete the individual three-day event, but Phillips won a silver medal with the British team. Phillips was a four-time champion at the Badminton Horse Trials, in 1971 and 1972 on Great Ovation, in 1974 on Colombus, and in 1981 on Lincoln. It was through his equestrian activities that he met Princess Anne, the only daughter of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who he married. Their own daughter Zara later won a silver medal in the three-day event with the British team at the 2012 Olympics.[4]

In 1998, Phillips designed the cross-country venue for the Red Hills Horse Trials, a qualifying event for the Olympics located in Tallahassee, Florida, United States. He is now a regular columnist for Horse & Hound magazine. He also remains a leading figure in British equestrian circles, and serves as Chef d'Equipe of the United States Eventing Team.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

Phillips married Princess Anne on 14 November 1973, at Westminster Abbey.[15] They have two children: Peter (born 1977) and Zara (born 1981). It is believed that Phillips declined a peerage from the Queen, which would have allowed his children to use courtesy titles.[16] The Queen bought Gatcombe Park, near Minchinhampton, for the couple as a wedding present.

The Prince of Wales is believed to have coined the nickname "Fog" for Phillips, on the grounds that he was "thick and wet".[17][18]

In August 1985, Phillips fathered a daughter, Felicity, as a result of an extramarital affair with New Zealand art teacher Heather Tonkin. Phillips was confirmed as the father as a result of DNA testing during a paternity suit in 1991.[19] In August 1989, the Princess Royal and Phillips announced their intention to separate, as the marriage had been under strain for a number of years.[20] The couple had rarely been seen in public together, and both were romantically linked with other people.[21] They continued to share the custody of their children, and initially announced that "there were no plans for divorce."[22][23] Meanwhile, Phillips continued to work at the couple's estate at Gatcombe Park.[22] They divorced on 23 April 1992.[24][25]

On 1 February 1997, Phillips married Sandy Pflueger, an American Olympic dressage rider. Their daughter Stephanie was born on 2 October 1997.[25] On 3 May 2012, it was confirmed by Phillips' solicitors that Phillips and Pflueger had separated, intending to divorce.[26]

Phillips' personal wealth is thought to be around £15–20 million.[18] The settlement he received when his marriage to Princess Anne ended has been reported as "modest"[18] and as "$3 million".[27]

Honours and arms[edit]

Military ranks[edit]


British honours[edit]

Honorary military appointments[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]


Coat of arms of Mark Phillips
Coat of arms of Mark Phillips.png
These arms were granted to Peter Phillips, the father of Captain Mark Phillips, in October 1973. Mark used these arms differenced with a three point label until he inherited the undifferenced arms from his father in 1998.[30] He was granted hereditary supporters, a rare privilege for untitled people.
On a Wreath of the colours, a spur rowed upward or, winged argent, enclosing a lozenge sable.
Per chevron azure and Or, in chief a horse courant argent, and in base a sprig of forget-me-not flowers, slipped and leaved proper.[30]
On the dexter side a winged lion, and on the sinister side a winged horse Argent, each gorged with a representation of the Coronet of H.R.H. The Princess Anne proper.
Pro rege et patria (For king and country).
Royal Victorian Order


Name Birth Marriage Issue
Peter Phillips 15 November 1977 17 May 2008 Autumn Kelly Savannah Phillips
Isla Phillips
Zara Phillips 15 May 1981 30 July 2011 Mike Tindall Mia Tindall
Lena Tindall
Felicity Tonkin 10 August 1985 March 2015 Tristan Wade James Wade
Stephanie Phillips 2 October 1997


  1. ^ a b "Princess Anne Attends Funeral". AP News. 18 September 1998. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b Tiarks, Frank. "Tiarks of Foxbury as researched by Charles A. H. Franklyn-". Retrieved 30 May 2015. Educated, Downe House, Newbury, Berks....served in the WRNS...
  3. ^ "Zara Tindall mourns the sudden death of her aunt Sarah Staples". Hello!. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Mark Phillips". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  5. ^ "No. 44923". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 August 1969. p. 8768.
  6. ^ "No. 45287". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 January 1971. p. 912.
  7. ^ Morgan, Gwen. "A Royal Wedding Album". Chicago Tribune 15 November 1973. Retrieved 4 March 2016. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey, blesses Princess Ann and Capt. Mark Phillips....
  8. ^ "No. 46174". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 January 1974. p. 267.
  9. ^ "No. 46644". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 July 1975. p. 9641.
  10. ^ "No. 47508". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 April 1978. p. 4411.
  11. ^ Mark Phillips. Retrieved on 8 May 2014.
  12. ^ Retired and Former Officers, The Army, Armed Forces, Professions, Forms Of Address | Debrett's Archived 27 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 8 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Phillips and Ransehousen Named 2011 USEF Coaches of the Year". United States Equestrian Federation. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Captain Mark Phillips". United States Eventing Association. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  15. ^ "1973: Crowds cheer marriage of Princess Anne". BBC. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  16. ^ As female-line grandchildren of the Sovereign, Princess Anne's children were never eligible for the style "Royal Highness" or the title "Prince/Princess" under the terms of George V's letters patent of 1917. If Phillips held a peerage, however, his children with Princess Anne would have been entitled to be addressed as "The Honourable", or as "Lord" or "Lady", depending on the substantive peerage created.
  17. ^ Bradford, Sarah (2002) Elizabeth: A Biography of Her Majesty the Queen, London: Penguin, p. 593
  18. ^ a b c William Langley "Captain Mark Phillips: He’s found love in the saddle (again)",, 6 May 2013
  19. ^ Rayner, Gordon (3 May 2012). "Captain Mark Phillips to divorce for second time after falling for 35-year-old Lauren Hough". Retrieved 10 December 2018 – via
  20. ^ "But No Divorce Is Planned : Princess Anne, Husband Split". Los Angeles Times. 31 August 1989. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  21. ^ Kaufman, Joanne; Cooper, Jonathan (24 April 1989). "A Crisis Rocks a Royal Marriage". People. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  22. ^ a b "1989: Royal couple to separate". BBC. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  23. ^ Rule, Sheila (1 September 1989). "Princess Anne and Husband Agree to Separate". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  24. ^ Brozan, Nadine (24 April 1992). "Chronicle". New York Times.
  25. ^ a b "Princess Anne's ex-husband a father again". Reading Eagle. Reading, PA. 7 October 1997. p. A10.
  26. ^ Rayner, Gordon (3 May 2012) Captain Mark Phillips to divorce for second time after falling for 35-year-old Lauren Hough. Retrieved on 8 May 2014.
  27. ^ "With No Hope for a Happy Ending, Princess Anne Brings Her Storybook Marriage to a Close". Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  28. ^ Krebs, Albin (15 August 1974). "Notes on People". Retrieved 10 December 2018 – via
  29. ^ "Anne Mark Guildhall". Getty Images.
  30. ^ a b "News & Views". The Heraldry Gazette (57): 17. March 1974.

External links[edit]