Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence Biography
He is a retired officer of the Royal Navy and the second husband of Princess Royal, Princess Anne, who is the daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Vice Admiral Sir Timothy James Hamilton Laurence, KCVO, CB, ADC, CSM was born on March 1, 1955, and he holds the titles of KCVO, CB, ADC, and CSM. Between the years 1986 and 1989, Laurence served as the Queen’s equerry.
Early Life and Education
Timothy James Hamilton Laurence was born on March 1, 1955 in Camberwell, South London. He is the son of Commander Guy Stewart Laurence, RN (1896–1982; also salesman for a marine engine manufacturer), and Barbara Alison Laurence (née Symons, c. 1929–2019). His father served in the Royal Navy, and his mother worked for a marine engine manufacturer. Barbara Alison Laurence passed away in 2019. Jonathan Dobree Laurence, his older brother, is also a member of the family (born 1952). The Laurences are descended from Zaccaria Levy, a Jewish trader who moved to England in the late 18th century from Venice (and possibly initially from Baghdad). Zaccaria Levy was a member of the Laurence family. After some time, the family name was altered to become Laurence.
After attending The New Beacon Preparatory School, Laurence continued his education at Sevenoaks School in Kent and University College at the University of Durham, which he attended on a Naval Scholarship. There, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with an upper-second class honors concentration in geography. During his time at the university, he served as the editor of the student newspaper known as the Palatinate and as the captain of the college cricket team.
On the first day of 1973, Laurence was given a commission in the Royal Navy as a midshipman, and on the first day of 1975, he was promoted to the position of acting sub-lieutenant. After leaving Durham, he continued his education at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth until he graduated, at which point he was sent to the HMS Aurora, a frigate located in Plymouth. On March 1, 1977, ten months earlier than expected, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Laurence began his naval career in 1978 when he was sent to the training facility HMS Vernon. The following year, he was stationed on the minesweeper HMS Pollington.
After that, Laurence held the position of second Navigating Officer aboard the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia for a short period of time. From 1980 until 1982, he served as the Navigating Officer aboard the destroyer HMS Sheffield.
In 1982, he was given command of the HMS Cygnet, a patrol boat that was stationed off the coast of Northern Ireland to keep an eye out for IRA gun-runners. In recognition of his contributions, he was noted in dispatches.
On March 1, 1985, after completing the Principal Warfare Officer training at HMS Dryad, Laurence was given the rank of lieutenant commander and assigned to the frigate HMS Alacrity. He also received this promotion on the same day. During the month of March 1986, he participated in the Royal Australian Navy Tactics Course at HMAS Watson in Sydney. It was during this time that he was informed of his first staff appointment as Equerry to the Queen, a position that he held from the 11th of October 1986 until the 16th of September 1989. On the 31st of December in 1988, he was given the rank of commander.
After being assigned aboard the brand-new frigate HMS Boxer in October 1989, Laurence eventually became the ship’s commanding officer on January 30, 1990, at the age of 34. Laurence worked as a member of the naval staff for the Ministry of Defense in London during the years 1992 and 1994. On May 16, 1994, he was given the position of first military assistant to the Secretary of State for Defence, Malcolm Rifkind. In this role, he was responsible for providing Malcolm Rifkind’s private office with military advice.
On June 30, 1995, Laurence received the promotion to the rank of captain, and from 1995 up until 1996, he commanded the frigate, HMS Cumberland. In May of 1996, the ship made its way back from the Adriatic, where it had been serving in the NATO-led IFOR Task Force as part of HMS Cumberland. On the 27th of August in the year 1996, Laurence was given the position of Commanding Officer of the frigate HMS Montrose in addition to being promoted to Captain of the 6th Frigate Squadron. The ship was stationed in the South Atlantic up to October 1996, where it was responsible for patrolling the Falkland Islands. Laurence made his return to the Ministry of Defence in July 1997, first serving as a member of the Naval Staff and then, after receiving a promotion to the rank of commodore in June 1998, participating in the Implementation Team for the 1998 Strategic Defense Review.
Laurence was a Hudson Visiting Fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, from January 1999 until December 1999. During that time, he researched and penned a paper about the connection between humanitarian aid and peacekeeping. After that, he was given the rank of commodore and appointed to the position of assistant commandant for the Navy at the Joint Services Command and Staff College on June 15, 1999. Laurence worked once again for the Ministry of Defence in the capacity of Director of Navy Resources and Programmes from the year 2001 to the spring of 2004.
On July 5, 2004, Laurence received a promotion to the rank of rear admiral and was appointed to the position of Assistant Chief of Defence Staff with responsibility for Resources and Plans. On the 30th of April in 2007, he was promoted to the rank of vice admiral and given the position of chief executive officer of Defence Estates (later renamed Defence Infrastructure Organisation).
In July of 2009, Laurence was given the position of Head of Profession for the Property Asset Management community within the British government. Practitioners in the fields of construction procurement, estates and property management, and facilities management and contract management are members of this community. In acknowledgement of Laurence’s extensive range of asset management responsibilities, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has bestowed upon him the title of Honorary Member.
After spending his career in the navy, Laurence took early retirement in August of 2010, and he is currently pursuing a portfolio of mostly non-executive and charity interests, with a special emphasis on property and redevelopment.
He was a member of the board of directors of the company that specializes in project management, Capita Symonds, until the year 2014, and he is currently the non-executive chairman of the property developers Dorchester Regeneration.
Purfleet Centre Regeneration is a recently founded company that specializes in the reclamation and regeneration of sites, and he serves as the non-executive chairman of the company. Up until 2015, he held the position of senior military adviser at PA Consulting.
Since April 2015, Laurence has held the position of chairman of the English Heritage Trust, and he served as vice chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission up until the 30th of June, 2019. The HMS Victory Preservation Company counts him as a trustee on its board. His involvement in the transportation industry also includes serving on the Great Western Advisory Board. Tennis, golf, yachting, field sports, and visits to historic battlefields are some of the additional activities.
In 1986, when Laurence was serving as an equerry to Queen Elizabeth II, he had the opportunity to meet Princess Anne. At the time, there were several rumors circulating that her first marriage to Captain Mark Phillips was on the verge of dissolving. The Sun newspaper published an article in 1989 that acknowledged the existence of private letters written by Laurence to the Princess but did not identify the source of the messages. A statement was made by Buckingham Palace, which read: “The Queen’s Equerry, Commander Timothy Laurence, was the person whose letters were stolen, and they were addressed to Princess Royal. We have nothing to say about the contents of the personal letters that were sent to Her Royal Highness by a friend. These letters were stolen, and a police investigation is currently underway into their contents.”
On December 12th, 1992, Laurence and Princess Anne were married in a Church of Scotland ceremony in Crathie Kirk, which is located close to Balmoral (the Church of Scotland permits second marriages for divorced people). There was no peerage bestowed upon him upon marriage; nevertheless, in 2008 he was designated a personal aide-de-camp to the Queen, and in June 2011 he was invested as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.
After her divorce from Mark Phillips, Princess Anne remained the owner of her rural residence Gatcombe Park, which is located in Gloucestershire. Following her marriage to Laurence, she and her new husband rented an apartment in the Dolphin Square complex in Westminster, London, to use as their primary abode. After then, they moved back into the apartments at Buckingham Palace, and they now also have an apartment in St. James’s Palace.
- Mentioned in Despatches on October 18, 1983, for exceptional service in Northern Ireland for the period beginning on February 1, 1983, and ending on April 30, 1983.
- 2004: On August 1, I was given the position of Personal Aide-de-Camp to the Queen (ADC)