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Zara's father Captain Mark Phillips to divorce after finding love with 35-year-old

04 MAY 2012

Captain Mark Phillips, the former husband of Princess Anne, is to divorce for a second time after falling for an American equestrienne 30 years his junior.

The 63-year-old, who is the father of Zara and Peter Phillips, has left his wife of 15 years to set up home with Lauren Hough, the Daily Telegraph reports.

And according to sources, he broke the news to Sandy (pictured below with her husband) and their 14-year-old daughter Stephanie earlier this year.

The couple’s separation and impending divorce has been confirmed in a statement released by his solicitors.



CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR GALLERY



"Captain and Mrs Mark Phillips are separating and divorce proceedings have commenced," it said.

"The couple have a daughter, aged 14, and the care and support of her is Capt Phillips’s main concern at this sensitive time.

"Capt Phillips therefore requests that all parties respect their privacy in the months ahead."

The Olympic gold medalist reportedly grew close to 35-year-old Lauren through his work as trainer of the US eventing team.

He spends several months of the year in the States, where he has worked with the squad for 20 years, and is now understood to be setting up home with Miss Hough (pictured below) in Florida.



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Captain Phillips met both his wives through a shared love of equestrianism.

The Princess Royal, whom he wed in 1973, rode for Britain at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, four years after Mark won his gold medal at the Munich Games.

After 19 years of marriage, they divorced in 1992 following confirmation he had fathered a daughter, Felicity.

He then married Hawaii-born Sandy Pflueger in 1997. She was part of the US dressage team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and went on to coach alongside her husband.

Miss Hough was a member of the US team at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and will be coaching the current squad alongside Captain Phillips at the London 2012 Games.

She is the daughter of another Olympian, Charles Hough, who won a bronze in team eventing at the Helsinki Games in 1952, and has herself won countless trophies during her career.

On her personal website, she lists cooking, reading, working out at the gym and "hanging out with her dog, April."

Iconic weddings: Princess Anne and Mark Phillips

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