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How Zara Tindall's private Scottish wedding paid tribute to step-father Timothy Laurence

The Tindalls got married at Canongate Kirk in 2011

Zara Phillips waving to crowds at her royal wedding with Mike Tindall © Getty
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
July 31, 2023
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Zara Tindall and her husband Mike Tindall have likely spent the weekend reminiscing about their stunning wedding, which took place 12 years ago in Scotland.

Their choice of wedding venue came as a surprise to fans at the time, since royal brides and grooms before them have typically chosen grand London landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Abbey.

Mike and Zara Tindall on their wedding day, 2022© Getty
The couple got married in Scotland in July 2011

Unlike the Prince and Princess of Wales, who tied the knot at the latter three months earlier, Mike and Zara wanted a relatively private ceremony at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh in July 2011. While there have been many mentions of Zara's nods to her late grandmother Queen Elizabeth – for example, with her wedding dress and her diamond tiara – her sweet wedding connection to her step-father and the Queen's former equerry, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, is not as well-known.

Zara Phillips leaves Canongate Kirk after her wedding to Mike Tindall© Getty
Zara may have chosen Canongate Kirk for its special connections to her family

Princess Anne wed her second husband at Crathie Kirk in Aberdeenshire in December 1992, after divorcing Zara's father Captain Mark Phillips. Unlike the Church of England at the time, the Church of Scotland permitted the remarriage of divorced persons under certain circumstances.

Tim Laurence smiling in a suit at Zara and Mike's nuptials© Getty
Tim was all smiles as he attended Zara and Mike's nuptials

Zara's decision to travel north to Scotland may have been a nod to Anne and Timothy, and it's not the only reason the country is close to her heart. The Olympic equestrian's connection to Scotland began at a young age, as it is where she attended boarding school Gordonstoun.

She also spent many summers at her late grandmother's holiday home Balmoral, along with her brother Peter Phillips.

Princess Anne smiling in the car on her wedding day with Tim Laurence© Getty
Princess Anne married her second husband Tim Laurence in Scotland

The royal met the sports star during the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia and they got engaged seven years later, with Zara showing off her split shank engagement ring shortly afterwards. Following their intimate ceremony, Zara and former rugby player Mike headed to the late Queen's official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, for their wedding reception. 

Zara Tindall's engagement ring and wedding band© Getty Images
Zara's split-shank engagement ring from Mike Tindall

The couple have since welcomed three children: Mia, Lena and Lucas, and the family of five live close to Anne and Timothy on the Gatcombe Park estate.

While Zara is more open about her relationship, even engaging in sweet public displays of affection during outings, Anne continues to keep her relationship very private. However, Timothy did make a rare joke about their marriage in 2022, stating: "It's quite amusing that she married first an army officer and then a naval officer. So there must be something about the military that attracts her."

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