THE SPOTLIGHT has fallen on Princess Anne recently after the airing of a documentary to mark her 70th birthday.

The down to earth Princess Royal is known for her hard work and the diligence with which she performs her duties.

And these are characteristics that also applied to her predecessor, who held the title of Princess Royal from 1932 until her death in 1965 - and who was known as ‘Yorkshire’s Princess’.

Princess Mary, who born in 1897, was the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. She was the sister of Edward VIII and George VI and was aunt to our own Queen.

She spent more than 40 years of her life in Yorkshire after her marriage to Viscount Lascelles in 1922, and lived at Harewood from 1930 until her death.

As a royal princess she was hugely privileged but she was also extremely hard-working and had a very strong sense of public duty.

As a 17-year-old she instigated a scheme to send first world war Christmas gift boxes to soldiers, sailors and nurses on the front line

The scheme was set up in1914, after the princess requested a meeting with some of the most influential figures of the day including the Duke of Devonshire and the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith. She went on to raise £31,000 by public appeal to pay for the boxes which were sent to the troops.

The gift boxes took the form of a 5-inch, embossed brass tin which included luxury items such as tobacco or sweets.

By Christmas 1914, 355,716 gifts had reached members of the British Expeditionary force, 66,168 gift boxes had reached men at home on sick leave, 4,600 had gone to the French Mission, fighting alongside British soldiers in France, and 1,390 boxes had reached nursing staff in the army. Over the next four years another two million boxes would be delivered to people involved in Britain’s war effort.

The princess herself became even more involved with the war effort when she formed her own Voluntary Aid Detachment to help provide field nursing services. She also visited hospitals and welfare organisations extensively with her mother.

After a nursing course in 1918, Princess Mary worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital and in 1926 was appointed Commandant in Chief of British Red Cross Detachments.

She became honorary president of the British Girl Guide Association in 1920.

In 1922 she married Henry Lascelles, the 6th Earl of Harewood. Her wedding train was embroidered with emblematic flowers of the British Empire.

The couple made their first home together at Goldsborough Hall, near Knaresborough, where they lived with their sons George and Gerald. King George V and Queen Mary were regular visitors.

They moved to Harewood House in 1930 after Henry had inherited the earldom. Princess Mary continued to live there after the death of her husband in 1947.

She continued to perform some royal duties and her public roles included acting as Chancellor of the The University of Leeds. She suffered a heart attack while walking in the grounds of Harewood in 1965, and died at the age of 67.

Photographs are reproduced courtesy of Harewood House Trust.