2 JANUARY 2009

Less than two months after Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall put in a £1.75 million offer for a dream home in Gloucestershire, they have announced their decision to pull out of the deal.

In what was seen as the strongest indicator yet that the pair will wed, the Queen's granddaughter and her England rugby player beau made an offer on the converted six-bedroom Nimrod's Barn, in Upper Kilcott, in November.

Concerns over security have reportedly prompted the couple to reconsider, however. As Zara and Mike spent New Year's day at the Cheltenham races on Thursday, a spokesperson for the couple confirmed the deal was no longer going ahead.

The 27-year-old royal – who doesn't receive the same level of security as other family members as she undertakes no official duties – is believed to have been concerned about press coverage detailing the location of her new home.

While the location of the pair's current residence - a cottage on Princess Anne's Gatcombe Park estate - is no secret, there she enjoys the umbrella protection offered by royal officers who guard the Princess Royal.

Photo: PA
As Zara and Mike enjoyed a day at the Cheltenham races on New Year's day, a spokesperson for the couple confirmed that security concerns have prompted them to withdraw their offer on Nimrod's Barn, a purchase which had been interpreted as taking their relationship to a new level
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