The Princess Royal has told British Olympians that this year’s Games will be "different, but no less important", as she recalled the "single-minded focus" needed to compete.

Princess Anne, 70, was the first member of the Royal Family to compete in the Olympics when she rode the Queen’s horse, Goodwill, in the equestrian three-day event in Montreal in 1976.

As president of the British Olympic Association, she recorded a good luck message for Team GB ahead of Tokyo 2020, which starts on Friday, wishing them every success.

"Although I am sad not to be there in person, I and the whole nation will be cheering for you and proudly supporting you from home," she said.

"I do remember from my own Olympic journey the anticipation and excitement of stepping onto the Olympic stage. 

"But also the single-minded focus on what you need to do. 

"I know that you have all worked incredibly hard for this moment, during the most challenging of times, and I hope you will find the Team GB environment a support and an inspiration for you."

She added: "This is your Olympics. It will be different, but not in its importance to you. Savour it, and above all, enjoy it.  

"Good luck, and I look forward to celebrating your achievements with you in the autumn."

The Princess has been president of the British Olympic Association and Team GB since 1983 and a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1988.

As director of the London Organising Committee, she was involved in London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, formally accepting the Olympic flame in Athens on behalf of London and bringing it back to Britain for its 8,000-mile relay tour of the country.

Her daughter, Zara Tindall, also competed with the British Olympic equestrian team, winning a silver medal at London 2012 in evening.

The Tokyo Olympics will take place between July 23 and August 8.