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Maternal Zara keeps her young godson happy as she competes on home turf

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In between competing in the eventing festival - held on her mother Princess Anne's Gatcombe Park estate - Zara makes time to play around with her three-year-old godson Ted, much to the little boy's delight
 Photo: © Alphapress.com

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He wasn't the only one on the receiving end of Zara's affections - the queen's granddaughter shares a tender moment with her mum, the Princess Royal
 Photo: © Alphapress.com

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Rugby star Mike arrives to cheer on his girlfriend of six years, and brings some extra support in the form of his parents, Linda and Phil
 Photo: © Rex

10 AUGUST 2009

Speaking exclusively to HELLO! magazine just last week, Mike Tindall - the rugby star love of Zara Phillips - revealed that it's not a case of "if" but "when" in terms of the question of marriage and starting a family together.

And while motherhood hasn’t beckoned yet, the 28-year-old royal is clearly something of a natural when it comes to keeping children entertained.

In between competing at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park at the weekend, Zara squeezed in time to play around with her three-year-old godson Ted Maude.

Much to the little boy's delight, the blonde equestrian flipped him upside down as the pair larked around in the fields, causing the youngster to burst into a fit of giggles.

"Zara dotes on Ted," the child's mother and Zara's close friend Dolly told a British paper. "They are always playing together. They absolutely adore each other."

The three-year-old wasn't the only big fan of the Queen's granddaughter at the weekend.

Cheering Zara on as she competed in Saturday's dressage section of the competition was her mum Princess Anne – on whose grounds the event is held - her strapping 30-year-old love Mike and his parents Phil and Linda.

As royal watchers eagerly await engagement news from down-to-earth Zara and Mike, friends are already anticipating the expansion of the Phillips/Tindall brood.

"He'll be a great dad when they finally get around to it," Mike's pal and fellow England rugby team mate Iain Balshaw told HELLO! "Although the pitter patter of tiny feet may be some way off.

For his part, Mike has said: "I'm quite a traditional guy, so I think I will be doing it the usual way round: marriage first and then children."

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