12/25/1989 at 01:00 AM EST
Once upon a time the persnickety princess was the bane of the Brits, one of whom, journalist Auberon Waugh, proclaimed her "a demented llama whose poisonous spittle could blind a press photographer at 100 yards."
But this year Something Happened. Purloined billets-doux from equerry Timothy Laurence sired a royal scandal, sparked the demise of Anne's 16-year marriage to Capt. Mark Phillips and produced some historical revisionism: Her blue blood was hardly frigid after all.
As the citizens rejoiced, secure in the knowledge that she could inspire grand passion—and finally giving Anne, 39, credit for years of loyal royal work—the once wicked-tempered princess shed her Eau de Trigger image and burst, at long last, into the winner's circle.