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Woman & Home
Jack Slater

Strictly’s Angela Rippon on the ‘awful’ time she was accused of having affair with royal’s husband

Angela Rippon was once accused of having an affair with Princess Anne's husband.

Strictly Come Dancing contestant and broadcasting legend Angela Rippon once labelled it “the most dreadful time” when she was accused of having an affair with Princess Anne’s husband, Captain Mark Phillips.

Angela Rippon isn’t dancing around the issue as she revisits a royal scandal she once found herself embroiled in.

As the broadcaster enjoyed making it all the way to Blackpool Week in this series of Strictly Come Dancing – as the show’s oldest ever contestant, no less – she recalled one of the low points of her time in the public eye.

During one spell of her lengthy career, Angela was given the special treat of writing the biography of Captain Mark Phillips, Princess Anne’s first husband.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

To do this, she unsurprisingly spent time with Princess Anne and her husband at their Gatcombe Park home.

And this is where the trouble brewed.

In an interview with the Scotsman, Angela revealed, “I was spending a lot of time with him so these dirty-minded reporters decided we must be having an affair. Suddenly the papers were full of these stories that I was having an affair with Captain Phillips. I went through the most dreadful time.”

“It was one of the most awful times of my life - really creepy,” she said. “I was there doing a professional job and it was deeply embarrassing and incredibly upsetting.”

While Princess Anne and Captain Phillips would eventually end up divorcing in 1992, there was never any suggestion an affair with Angela Rippon played a part in their split.

Princess Anne first met Captain Phillips on the equestrian circuit.

They were married at Westminster Abbey in November 1973, watched by an estimated 500 million people around the world. At the time, Mark combined his career in the army with competitive riding, winning a team gold Olympic medal for eventing in 1972 – and Anne would become the first royal to take part in the Olympics herself in 1976.

Their marriage produced their two children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

By 1989 they were separated, and in 1992 the divorce was official. Anne’s divorce came the same year King Charles split with Princess Diana and Prince Andrew split from Sarah Ferguson.

The Princess Royal would go on to remarry Commander Timothy Lawrence in December 1992, and the pair remain married to this day.  

Mark Philips tied the knot with equestrian Sandy Pflueger, but they would later divorce. Angela Rippon was married to Christopher Dare, an engineer, between 1967 and 1989.

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