Princess Anne appears stiff and standoffish but shes thoroughly fun to have around

As one of the hardest working royals, Princess Anne instantly commands respect. Despite being at an age where most people are putting their feet up for well-deserved rest, she still regularly carries out more than 500 engagements each year with little fuss or fanfare.

The Princess Royal recently joined her son-in-law, Mike Tindall, and the Prince and Princess of Wales on Mike's podcast, The Good, the Bad and the Rugby, in a special episode ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Given that she is both beloved and feared in equal measure for her no-nonsense approach to public duties, the Princess showcased her excellent sense of humour as she laughed along with the younger royals and offered a unique insight into life behind palace walls.

Listeners of the podcast laughed along as Princess Anne revealed she would race William when he was a boy at Balmoral and joked that she was good at taking "corners" while running but that was all.

But William joked back to his aunt as he said: "You were quite quick. The look that you had on your face was quite terrifying."

As well as offering funny jokes throughout and being delighted by Mike's comment about driving skills, Princess Anne commented on the competitive spirit she has seen between Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

As the Princess of Wales joked: “I'm really not that competitive, I don't know where this has come from." She then laughed that she and William have never managed to finish a game of tennis saying “it becomes a mental challenge between the two of us”.

Mike then asked if the couple's three children George, Charlotte and Louis are taking after their parents as Princess Anne interjected with a rare insight into the relationship between the young siblings, saying: “Just a little bit, I would suggest.”

The relaxed and informal approach seen during the podcast was commented on by former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond as she told OK! "Mike and his rugby colleagues have a wonderful way of teasing out little titbits about life behind the Palace walls.

"It’s always fascinating to get a glimpse of how the family get on with one another, and also what they get up to in private.

"The image, for example, of Princess Anne chasing William, and now his children, around the 'Balmoral Square' and often winning because she is 'good at corners' illustrates that, despite her sometimes rather stiff appearance, she’s a thoroughly fun Aunt to have around."

Jennie continues: "She has always been one of the most hard-working members of the family, unfailingly stoical and businesslike. And, since the death of her mother, the Princess Royal has shown that she is an absolutely key member of the family and of the working royals.

"Anne can come across as pretty stiff and standoffish, but that is simply part of her professional persona. As I know only too well, she is not keen on cooperating with or opening up to journalists.

"But, behind-the-scenes when we get tiny snippets of her life, as in the rugby podcast, it’s obvious that she’s fun, funny and loved. It’s notable that she has managed to keep her family very close by and seems even to be on good terms with her ex-husband, Captain Mark Phillips.

"I think it is generally acknowledged that she made a very wise and forward thinking decision, refusing royal titles for her children. They acknowledge that that was a great gift to them, allowing them freedom and privacy far greater than they could have otherwise have expected.

"Like me, she is 73, and part of a generation who seem determined to keep on working and being active for as long as we can. Anne shows absolutely no signs of slowing down and I think she is a huge and highly valued support to the King."

The support the Princess has provided was recognised in May earlier this year, when King Charles made handed his sister the role of Gold-Stick-in-Waiting at the Coronation which meant she was responsible for the personal safety of the monarch.

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