Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Wait years for a Royal wedding... 'Shocked but very happy' Zara to marry England rugby star Mike Tindall after seven-year romance



all after seven-year romance

Understated: Zarah Phillips and her fiance Mike Tindall after they announced their engagement

Zara Phillips is to marry her rugby player boyfriend Mike Tindall in a move that could make 2011 the year of royal weddings.

The Queen’s 29-year-old granddaughter said she was astonished by Monday evening’s proposal – despite a seven-year courtship.

And the level of her surprise was evident as she and Tindall, 32, posed for hastily arranged photos outside their Gloucestershire home.

'Very happy': The 29-year-old daughter of the Princess Royal showed off her diamond engagement ring

As she showed off her diamond and platinum engagement ring, it was painfully clear that Zara had not even had time to have her nails done in preparation for the big announcement.

But while it seems a trip to the manicurist might be on the cards for the second royal bride to be – their engagement comes five weeks after that of Prince William and Kate Middleton – many were asking last night whether the couple would sell the rights to the ceremony in a deal that could be worth up to £1million.

Juniper Sport, the company which rather than Buckingham Palace handles Zara’s PR and her sports sponsorship deals, refused to rule out the possibility.

Loving support: Zara and boyfriend Tindall sharing a kiss at the Badminton Horse Trials in 2007

The spokesman said: ‘With regards to the selling of the rights to the wedding – it hasn’t even been discussed. They’ve only just got engaged and we’re not even at the when and where stage yet.’

Zara’s brother Peter Phillips and his Canadian-born wife Autumn Kelly were paid £500,000 by Hello! magazine for the exclusive rights to their ceremony at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in 2008.

The intimate pictures were taken without the Queen’s full knowledge and Buckingham Palace later made clear it regarded the sale as a serious error of judgment.

If Zara, who is 12th in line to the throne, copied their decision it would not be the first time she has taken advantage of the fees offered by celebrity magazines.

In 2002, the international event rider and her then live-in boyfriend, the jockey Richard Johnson, invited the Hello! cameras into their Cotswolds home for a £125,000 fee.

And in August, Tindall – who is 16st and 6ft 1in – gave an interview to the same magazine.

Any money from a magazine might be welcomed by Zara. Her mother Princess Anne declined a royal title on her behalf, so she has never been entitled to any money from the Civil List.

Love of racing: Zara and Mike Tindell pictured together at the 41st British Grand Prix at Silverstone Motor Racing Circuit

Zara makes hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in lucrative commercial deals with firms such as Rolex, Land Rover and the sportswear label Musto.

But the cost of caring for her 12 horses is thought to be up to £500,000 a year, and she and Tindall have spent £250,000 doing up their Regency townhouse in Cheltenham.
The Queen is expected to chip in by offering a venue for their reception, such as Frogmore, near Windsor Castle. And Zara’s parents are likely to cover much of the costs.

Public appearances: Tindall was by Zara's side at the Cheltenham Festival in 2005

Magazine deal: Zara, pictured far left, front row, as bridesmaid at the 2008 wedding of her brother Peter Phillips to Autumn Kelly. The couple sold the picture rights to the event for £500,000

Red carpet moments: Zara with Tindall at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards in 2007 (left) and at a celebrity charity poker tournament in Monaco in 2009 (right)

It was a very modern way to announce an engagement.

Shortly after 11am, a ‘tweet’ on the British Monarchy’s Twitter page revealed: ‘The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter Zara Phillips to Mr Mike Tindall.’

The news will have gone out to more than 89,000 people who follow the feed, which was also used to announce Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement five weeks ago.

The same message was posted on the Royal Family’s Facebook site, while the news was released to the media by an email from Buckingham Palace.

The Queen joined Facebook last month in what one aide called ‘the final frontier of the Royal Family’s foray into digital technology’.

Meeting the in-laws: Tindall with Zara and her mother Princess Anne and step-father Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence at Buckingham Palace in 2007

Lovenest: In 2009 the couple bought an £800,000 regency townhouse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Zara Phillips to marry Mike Tindall

source: dailymail [endtext]

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