Why is Princess Anne called Gold Stick in Waiting at King Charles's coronation?

King's sister to ride on horseback in procession to Buckingham Palace

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, arrives at the Coronation of King Charles III in Westminster Abbey. Getty
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Britain’s Princess Anne will perform the memorably named role of Gold Stick in Waiting during the coronation of her brother King Charles III on Saturday.

The princess, 72, will ride on horseback behind the king’s state coach when it returns from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace after the coronation.

Her title is that of a royal bodyguard who would once have wielded a golden-tipped staff to protect England’s kings and queens.

The role is now a symbolic one but it gives the king’s sister a prominent place in the procession.

Princess Anne is often considered one of the most popular royals after largely steering clear of family scandals.

A YouGov poll published this week showed she was viewed positively by 72 per cent of the British public, the joint-highest score in the family with Prince William.

Admirers credit her with an understated diligence and her role on Saturday has been seen as a reward for her loyalty.

Princess Anne with King Charles III at the funeral of their mother Queen Elizabeth II last year. PA

The role of Gold Stick is invoked only on state occasions such as parades and the official opening of parliament.

It can be held by the colonel of one of two cavalry regiments, the Life Guards, and the Blues and Royals.

The princess, a former Olympic equestrian and BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971, is colonel of the Blues and Royals.

The only daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, she is also known as the Princess Royal.

Armed forces rehearse for the coronation - in pictures

In an interview with Canadian broadcaster CBC, she joked that her ceremonial military role on Saturday made it easy to choose an outfit.

“Gold Stick was the original close protection officer,” she said.

“That is a role that I was asked if I’d like to do for this coronation, so I said yes. Not least of all, it solves my dress problem.”

Her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, will be in the third carriage behind King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla.

Princess Anne has two adult children from an earlier marriage, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, who largely stay out of the royal limelight.

Updated: May 06, 2023, 10:08 AM

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