Princess Anne gets military promotion as she celebrates 70th birthday


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John Swannell/Camera Press

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The photos of Anne were taken in February, before the coronavirus lockdown

Princess Anne has been promoted by the Army and Royal Air Force to mark her 70th birthday.

The Princess Royal – the Queen’s second child – will take up the role of general and air chief marshal, bringing her ranks in line with her rank in the Royal Navy.

It is a tradition that senior royals are treated as military members and receive promotions as they get older.

Earlier this year, Prince Andrew was due to be promoted but it was deferred.

Princess Anne turns 70 on Saturday and her birthday is being marked with the release of three official photographs taken at her home in Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire.

The pictures were taken in late February by John Swannell, who has also photographed other senior royals as well as Tony Blair, Sir Michael Caine and Sir Elton John.

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John Swannell/Camera Press

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The photos were taken at her home, which has 730 acres of land and a lake

Speaking earlier this week, Anne’s son-in-law Mike Tindall said plans to mark the day have been “scaled back” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We did have plans – it would’ve been up in Scotland – but obviously with Covid and Aberdeen being locked down a bit, I think everything’s been scaled back a little bit,” said the former England rugby star, who is married to Anne’s daughter Zara, on The One Show.

“It’s a shame. I’m sure we’ll do something as a family to celebrate her 70 amazing years, she’s just an incredible woman in terms of how much work she can get through in the year.

“We will be doing something, as yet I don’t know whether she knows – so my lips are sealed.”

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John Swannell/Camera Press

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In one of the new photos, Anne wears a gold ribbon knot brooch set with 12 diamonds

Speaking about her military promotion, which has been approved by the Queen, the Ministry of Defence said Anne had been “hugely supportive” of the armed forces.

“This promotion on her 70th birthday recognises her invaluable contribution and commitment to the military.”

Anne’s birthday has also been marked by a TV documentary, which was over a year in the making, and she also guest-edited an issue of Country Life magazine.

She commented in the magazine about her love of nature and the need to avoid waste and conserve energy to protect the environment.

In the ITV documentary, she spoke about social media, suggesting it is adding to the pressures faced by younger royals.

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Cpl Rob Bourne RAF

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Princess Anne has been promoted by the Army and Royal Air Force to mark her 70th birthday

Profile: Princess Anne

Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise was born in 1950, the second child to the Queen and Prince Philip and their only daughter. She is 14th in line to the throne.

She is a horse-riding enthusiast who competed in the British equestrian team in the 1976 Olympics and and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1971.

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PA Media

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Anne was involved in bringing the 2012 Olympic Games to London

In 1973, she married her first husband Captain Mark Phillips and they went on to have two children, Peter and Zara. Anne decided her children would not have royal titles.

The couple survived a kidnapping attempt in 1974, as they were returning to Buckingham Palace in a chauffeur-driven limousine.

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PA Media

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Anne chatting to bodyguard James Beaton after he was injured in the attempt to kidnap her in 1974

Her first marriage ended in divorce after 19 years and she married her second husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, in 1992.

In 1990, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work as president of the charity Save The Children.

In 2002, Anne became the first senior member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offence. She pleaded guilty to a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act after her pet Dotty bit two children in Windsor Great Park.

She lives in the 18th-century country house Gatcombe Park, near Stroud in Gloucestershire, which was a present from the Queen. It has 730 acres of land, large stables and a trout lake.



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Daniel Ricciardo’s big mistake in awful 70th Anniversary Grand Prix


The weekend started like a dream for Daniel Ricciardo but ended in a nightmare as he suffered a dramatic fall from grace at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

The Aussie F1 started fifth on the grid at Silverstone in the UK but dropped all the way down to 14th by race’s end as he wrote another forgettable chapter in his time with Renault.

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen beat the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton (second) and Valtteri Bottas (third) to win the race, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (fourth) just missed out on the podium.

The youngster had a far better race than his teammate Sebastian Vettel, who finished outside the points in 12th.

Ricciardo was third quickest in practice and fifth fastest in qualifying — a vast improvement on where Renault has been for much of his season-and-a-half with the French outfit. The 31-year-old was optimistic changes to the car for the fifth race of the year had given his team’s package the boost it needed to be competitive but everything came crashing down when the lights went out in the main event.

Ricciardo slipped to sixth within the first lap, overtaken by Racing Point’s Lance Stroll. He then spun out after emerging in heavy traffic from his second pitstop, where he changed from a second set of medium tyres to hard tyres, having started the race on a different set of mediums.

After his third pitstop the West Australian was 14th and there was no coming back.

It was a hugely disappointing result for Ricciardo, who finished fourth at last week’s British GP on the same circuit and was so upbeat after practice and qualifying.

He said the team’s tyre strategy hurt him, and regretted not skipping the second set of mediums and going straight for the hards, which would performed better and saved him from an extra pitstop.

“It was a race that just kept getting away from us,” Ricciardo said.

“It’s tough, we’ll look but I think in hindsight we could have gone longer and tried to just put the hard (tyres) on (for one pitstop). But we came in for (a second set of) mediums, and that medium just got destroyed, we couldn’t do much else with it at all, so that was certainly unexpected.

“And then finished with the hard, but we came out in a group, obviously, because the medium stint wasn’t good. Then we were in the fight, tried to defend from Carlos (Sainz) and I lost the car.

“I spun, killed those tyres. The spin put us really out of the race, and then I killed those tyres because of the spin so our race was done. It just got away from us. It’s a shame.”

Ricciardo said things got “messy” when he was forced to defend Carlos Sainz after pitting for the hard tyres, which ultimately saw him lose control of the car.

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“The first set of mediums wasn’t bad. I don’t think we were lightning fast but I thought we were hanging in there with the Racing Points,” Ricciardo told the F1 website.

“It felt like it was going good, actually. Then we pitted and put another medium (tyre) on to follow the two-stop and that second medium just didn’t work.

“So we had to pit shortly after for the hard and we were out of sequence, we were in that battle I don’t think we should have been in and I spun trying to hold Carlos off.

“It was a race that started here (up high) then went into a bit of a hole.

“I’m trying not to cry about it but it’s just one of those days. We’ve got to learn from it. A Sunday with great hope and little reward.”

After Friday’s practice Ricciardo said Renault had taken a “big step” with the upgrades made to the car and believed he was driving a “pretty good race car right now”. But even without his tyre troubles and spin-out, he finished the grand prix unconvinced things were as promising as he believed earlier in the weekend.

“I’m not convinced the car was as good as we expected,” he said. “I don’t think it could have been a podium car today but for sure there were still some points that were available so we’ll try and figure out what we can do better — obviously I can not spin — but to not put us in that mess. We’ll see.”

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul was similarly downbeat about Ricciardo’s performance.

“His second stint … was not competitive at all and we had to call him for an early stop, which compromised the rest of his race,” he said.

“From his starting position today, we were clearly aiming for a better result.”

Ricciardo’s teammate Esteban Ocon had a better day despite starting well below the Australian on the grid. Ocon began the day in 14th but raced smartly to cross the line in eighth place.



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Nico Hulkenberg stuns with P3 ahead of Verstappen and Ricciardo in 70th Anniversary Grand Prix qualifying


Mercedes has once again locked out the front row of the grid for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone but a thrilling qualifying has thrown up a few surprises.

Renault‘s Daniel Ricciardo will start from the third row of the grid after qualifying fifth as the Aussie’s new found speed shone through.

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After fourth in last week‘s British Grand Prix, Ricciardo impressed in practice on Friday, finishing third fastest in the second practice session.

He was again impressive in Saturday‘s qualifying to claim fifth with Valtteri Bottas claiming pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton on the front row of the grid.

But on the final lap, Ricciardo, who had been sitting in third more than a second behind the Mercedes drivers, he was overtaken by two ex-teammates, with Nico Hulkenberg stunning the grid, claiming third, while Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen claimed fourth.

Ricciardo was two-tenths of a second behind Hulkenberg.

“That‘s a cracking time from Ricciardo,” Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle said after the lap that set his qualifying time as he missed out on Renault’s first top three qualifying result since Japan in 2010.

The Aussie F1 veteran was thrilled with the performance and said that P5 was about right.

“I think it was nice, everyone was a bit surprised with P3 yesterday, and in a way there was probably a bit of pressure for the team to deliver it again,” Ricciardo admitted. ”I don‘t think anyone expected P3 but they expected somewhere around where we are now so to do it, P5, I’m stoked.”

As for the difference between last season and this, Ricciardo couldn‘t put his finger on the change.

“The rear of the car is definitely working better, I don‘t know what part of the car it is which is the real reason but we’re able to get on the power earlier, you can feel the downforce is there and it’s working,” he said.

Ricciardo also shared a nice moment with Hulkenberg, waiting to congratulate his former Renault teammate alongside Verstappen in a great show of sportsmanship.

Ricciardo also spoke about being pipped by his ex-teammates.

“To be a tenth off Max, we‘re obviously very happy with that,” he said. “There’s a lot of progress there, I think we were eight-tenths off him last week. But then the Hulk’s come in and I think he’s adjusted his neck this week and he’s feeling free and ready to go.

“But honestly, hats off to him. We all know that car‘s working but I don’t just want to say it’s the car. He’s obviously done a really good job. And to be sitting on the couch so long, it’s not easy. He’s a veteran, it’s not easy, I don’t care what anyone says so hats off to him, he’s done a really good job.”

It‘s Hulkenberg’s second best qualifying result after finishing second in the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix.

Crossing the line, Hulkenberg said “yeeha, get in there Racing Point, nice one”.

Hulkenberg was stunned by the result after a whirlwind week.

He was only brought in after Sergio Perez was ruled out of a second straight weekend after testing positive for COVID-19.

But last week, Hulkenberg wasn‘t even able to start the Grand Prix after his car wouldn’t even turn on.

“A crazy seven or eight days,” Hulkenberg told Sky Sports.

“Obviously last week, with the big high to come back and the low on Sunday (not starting the race), it was very extreme. This weekend I felt much better in the car, much more prepared. Qualy was still tricky and in Q2 I made life hard for myself a bit and I was scared I‘d damaged the car.

“Q3 was just head down, full beans, whatever I had – and a bit surprised to stand here. But obviously a big smile on my face and a lot of respect for the race tomorrow.

“It‘s definitely going to hurt tomorrow not having last week’s experience and not having gone through the motions there with the start and everything. But we’ll do what we can, I’ll try to learn fast, and keep the car where it deserves to be.”

It comes after Hulkenberg finished Q2 in second after a blistering final lap helped him jump from the relegation zone.

But there were a couple of negative shocks as well with Sebastian Vettel‘s woes continuing with his worst qualifying of the season.

The four-time world champion was knocked out in Q2 and will start from 12th on the grid.

“Oh dear oh dear oh dear, Sebastian – what‘s happening?” Martin Brundle asked.

Vettel‘s teammate Charles Leclerc was honest and said “we have been struggling more than last week”, sensationally admitting that ”maybe we shouldn’t expect a podium for us tomorrow”.

Ricciardo‘s current teammate Esteban Ocon also didn’t benefit from his increased speed, out in Q2 in 11th while McLaren had a poor day with Carlos Sainz in 13th, while Lando Norris could only manage 10th.

STARTING GRID

Row 1: Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Row 2: Nico Hulkenberg (Racing Point) – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

Row 3: Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – Lance Stroll (Racing Point)

Row 4: Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

Row 5: Alexander Albon (Red Bull) – Lando Norris (McLaren)

Row 6: Esteban Ocon (Renault) – Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

Row 7: Carlos Sainz (McLaren) – Romain Grosjean (Haas)

Row 8: George Russell (Williams) – Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri)

Row 9: Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

Row 10: Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)



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