Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Second British royal wedding announced
LONDON - Queen Elizabeth II's eldest grand-daughter Zara Phillips is to wed her rugby-playing boyfriend Mike Tindall, Buckingham Palace announced Tuesday, in a marriage of world-beating sports stars.
Setting up the prospect of two royal weddings in 2011, the announcement comes a month after her cousin Prince William, the second in line to the throne, revealed his engagement to university sweetheart Kate Middleton.
Phillips, 29, the daughter of the queen's only daughter Princess Anne, is an eventing world champion and 12th in line to the throne.
Tindall, 32, who played in England's 2003 World Cup-winning team, proposed on Monday at their home in Gloucestershire, southwest England.
They couple have been together for seven years and have largely kept their relationship out of the spotlight. They have not yet set a date but it seems likely they will tie the knot next year.
"The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter Zara Phillips to Mr Mike Tindall, son of Mr Phillip and Mrs Linda Tindall," a Buckingham Palace statement said.
A palace spokeswoman added: "The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are delighted with the news."
While William and his fiancée are to wed at Westminster Abbey on April 29, Phillips' wedding will be a more low-key event, possibly at St George's Chapel in London.
Bookmakers Paddy Power offered 500-1 on the royals making it a double royal wedding on April 29.
Phillips has followed in her mother's footsteps in becoming an equestrian champion -- Anne won gold at the 1971 European eventing championship -- and has carved out her own life away from palace pressures.
Anne decided her two children would not bear royal titles and they do not carry out royal duties. The British press dubbed Phillips a "royal rebel" after she had her tongue pierced as a teenager.
She was the three-day event European champion in 2005 and won the world championships in 2006, but pulled out of the Beijing Olympics due to an injury to her horse Toytown -- the same fate which befell her at the 2004 Olympics.
Phillips, who hopes to compete at the 2012 London Olympics, previously had a three-year relationship with jockey Richard Johnson.
Reports said she met Tindall on the night England won the rugby World Cup in Australia.
The Gloucester captain has 66 England caps and played in all but one of England's seven matches at the 2003 World Cup but missed the 2007 tournament with a broken leg.