Zara Phillips




Zara Anne Elizabeth Phillips was born on May 15, 1981, at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington. The second child of the Princess Royal, she got her unusual first name from her uncle, Prince Charles. "The baby made a rather sudden and positive arrival," recalled Princess Anne, "and my brother thought Zara (a Greek name meaning 'bright as the dawn') was an appropriate name."

Zara's wedding to Mike Tindall

There is more than a touch of her grandmother to Zara's looks - as photographs of the two laughing reveal - but while the Queen is listed in the Guinness Book Of Records for having the second most titles in the world (only Spanish aristocrat the Duchess of Alba has more), her eldest grand-daughter does not hold any at all. Princess Anne was adamant her two children remain without a title, believing life would be hard enough for grandchildren of a monarch.

Like her uncles and maternal grandfather, Zara was educated at the challenging Scottish boarding school Gordonstoun. She began her studies alongside her brother at the local primary school, and was sent to boarding school in Dorset when she was eight years old, because her mother wanted her to mix with children from ordinary local families.

After sitting her A Levels, Zara decided to take a year out, spending three months of it in Australia and New Zealand. Suddenly the press picked up on the photogenic blonde out bungee-jumping and enjoying Sydney nightlife.

From there she enrolled at Exeter University in south-west England, and went on to qualify as a physiotherapist.

These days the young royal has abandoned her "royal rebel" tag, leaving behind the days of her tempestuous, tabloid-friendly relationship with jockey Richard Johnson and embarking on a stable relationship with rugby player Mike Tindall, who she met in in Sydney just after England beat Australia in the rugby World Cup in November 2003. The loved-up pair live in a cottage on her mother's Gatcombe estate, and professional sportsman Mike is credited for encouraging Zara to take her sporting talent seriously.

In June 2003 Zara secured a sponsorship deal with Cantor Index - the first royal to accept a commercial deal - which helped her Three Day Eventing career to flourish. In 2005, at Blenheim Palace, she emulated her mother by winning the individual European Eventing Championship title and went on to become World Eventing Champion in 2006.

Zara's equestrian accolades were accompanied by a tide of public support, with the gifted young rider being named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December 2006 and winning an MBE for services to equestrianism in 2007. She was selected to represent Britain in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but was withdrawn from the team after her mount Toytown sustained an injury during training. She is now looking towards London 2012.

Royal watchers were still reeling with the excitement of Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton when, just before Christmas 2010, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Zara had become engaged to long-term love Mike - and that the Queen and Prince Philip were 'delighted'.

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