Her visit to New Zealand may have been low-key, but HRH Princess Anne, 59, made her presence felt at a private cocktail reception on Friday night with one well-known Kiwi labelling the royal: "boring as bat sh**".

Wearing a patterned dress and an ill-fitting jacket in the unflattering shade of neon tangerine, with a matronly hair-bun set so rigid it appeared like a beret, the Princess Royal arrived with a gaggle of police and undercover protection officers.

The British royal was the guest of honour at a cocktail party at the Hilton to launch a new campaign for the New Zealand branch of Save the Children. Anne has been president of the charity since 1970.

Cabinet Minister Paula Bennett was there with Governor-General Anand Satyanand, who arrived late to the function due to Friday night gridlock in the city. Organisers told me protocol dictated that Anne could not enter the building until Satyanand had arrived, so she sat in the BMW out the front until he pulled up to the door.

I was fortunate to be invited to the private VIP function before the cocktail reception took place where a handful of well-known Kiwis were given the chance to meet the royal.

Carol Hirschfeld, who MC'd the event, chose kitten heels so as to avoid towering over the princess. That didn't work. Dame Cath Tizard and Lady June Hillary were more on par in the height department.

World fashion designer Denise L'Estrange-Corbet voiced her opinions when I asked her what she thought of the princess.

"She was as boring as f***ing bat sh**, is what she was! The world's hairdressers at your beck and call and your hair looks like a cottage loaf!

"And personality minus! No wonder Diana left them all for dead".

L'Estrange-Corbet is not the only one to denounce Princess Anne. Cherie Blair was not a fan. In 2006, Paul Scott claimed in his biography Tony and Cherie: A Special Relationship that the Prime Minister's wife labelled the royal princess a "bitch".

The pair first met in 1997 at Balmoral and the book claims The Princess Royal took an immediate dislike to the Prime Minister's wife after she suggested she call her 'Cherie'. Anne allegedly replied: "Actually, let's not go that way. Let's stick to Mrs Blair, shall we?"

At the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, the Blairs apparently irritated the Royal Family by "muscling in with an unscheduled walkabout," Britain's Daily Mail said.

Mrs Blair saw Anne and reportedly said Hello, but the Princess Royal allegedly turned her back without saying a word, according to the Mail.

A furious Cherie was unable to hide her contempt and she snapped: "That bitch completely blanked me!"