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Explained: Why Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips do not have titles and are not working royals – despite being Princess Anne’s children

It is a question that is often asked – why do Princess Anne‘s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips not have royal titles?

They are, just as Prince William and Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, grandchildren of the late Queen.

But unlike their cousins, Peter, 45, and Zara, 42, have no HRH status and have no obligations to the royal family. 

The reason for this is actually quite simple.

Not being working royals allowed Zara and Peter to have their own careers and make their own money. Zara went on to be a successful equestrian whereas Peter had a range of jobs from working in the world of racing to working in a bank. Pictured: The brother and sister at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2015 Not being working royals allowed Zara and Peter to have their own careers and make their own money. Zara went on to be a successful equestrian whereas Peter had a range of jobs from working in the world of racing to working in a bank. Pictured: The brother and sister at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2015

Not being working royals allowed Zara and Peter to have their own careers and make their own money. Zara went on to be a successful equestrian whereas Peter had a range of jobs from working in the world of racing to working in a bank. Pictured: The brother and sister at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2015

Pictured: Princess Anne and the Queen in Braemar, Scotland 2018 Pictured: Princess Anne and the Queen in Braemar, Scotland 2018

Pictured: Princess Anne and the Queen in Braemar, Scotland 2018

When they were born they did not automatically inherit a HRH title because their father, Captain Mark Phillips, was not a Prince.

 And Princess Anne also decided she did not want them be called Prince or Princess. 

Centuries old royal tradition says that only the children’s father can pass on his title, if he has one, and the mother, even if she is a princess, cannot.

As Princess Anne’s brothers – Andrew, Edward and Charles – are princes, their children received the HRH title.

Upon the births of Peter and Zara the Queen offered to give them both a royal title – but this was declined on their behalf by Princess Anne.

This saw Princess Anne’s children follow in the footsteps of their father, who also turned down the Queen’s invitation for a title.

As a result Zara and Peter were not working royals and were free from royal obligations.

Later Zara went on to say she felt ‘lucky’ the decision had been made for her.

When she was older, Zara said she felt 'lucky' that she had no royal titles. Pictured: Peter and Zara in 1985 When she was older, Zara said she felt 'lucky' that she had no royal titles. Pictured: Peter and Zara in 1985

When she was older, Zara said she felt ‘lucky’ that she had no royal titles. Pictured: Peter and Zara in 1985 

She told The Times in 2015: ‘I’m very lucky that both my parents decided to not use the title and we grew up and did all the things that gave us the opportunity to do.’

When Princess Anne was asked about the decision in 2020 by Vanity Fair, she said: ‘I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles…So I think that was probably the right thing to do.’

Former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dicki Arbiter said that ‘it was a masterstroke of the Princess Royal when she decided not to give her children titles’.

‘Growing up as a commoner allowed Zara to thrive as her own woman, and there has never been pressure on her to conform. She has benefited from it in all sorts of ways,’ he said.

Because Zara and Peter did not have royal titles, it meant they could have a somewhat normal life, pursuing their own careers.

Zara and her mother Princess Anne at Ascot in June, 2023 Zara and her mother Princess Anne at Ascot in June, 2023

Zara and her mother Princess Anne at Ascot in June, 2023 

Exeter University graduate Zara, who is now married to former rugby player Mike Tindall, is a talent equestrian, winning a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics in the GB Eventing Team.

Peter also attended Exeter University where he graduated with a degree in Sports Science before securing a job at Jaguar as a hospitality manager.

He then moved to Williams racing team to carry out a similar royal. After leaving the world of racing, he went on to get a job at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Freedom away from the public purse and public scrutiny allowed both Zara and Peter to earn their own living.

Despite not having titles, Zara and Peter still remain in the line of succession to the British throne.

Peter is 17th in line, followed by his children, whereas Zara is 20th, followed by her children.

Because both Peter and Zara rejected the Queen’s offer of a royal title, their children will also not have a royal title.

That means Savannah Phillips, 12, sister Isla, 11, and Mia Tindall, 9, and siblings Lena, 4, and Lucas, 2, remain in the line of succession but without HRH status or obligations to become working royals.

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