Buckingham Palace has announced the engagement of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh’s eldest grandchild Zara Anne Elizabeth Phillips, 29, to longtime boyfriend, rugby player Mike Tindall, 32.
Phillips is the daughter of Princess Anne and former husband Capt. Mark Phillips.
A statement on the Royal Family’s official website says, “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.”
BBC News reports Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are “delighted” by the engagement. They quoted Phillips, who is 12th in line to the throne, as saying she was “shocked” and “very happy.”
According to People, Philips’ engagement ring is described as a single solitaire diamond pave’ set diamonds on a split shank set on a platinum band.
The couple met in 2003 in Sydney during the Rugby World Cup through Phillips’ cousin Prince Harry. Mike Tindall is currently a player and captain for Gloucester. He remains on the England team.
Mike Tindall is a noted equestrian and was a member of the 2003 England World Cup Rugby winning squad. He has also attended various events for equine and children’s charities.
Zara Phillips: Accomplished Equestrian
Zara Phillips followed her mother’s footsteps and is an accomplished equestrian and former Eventing World Champion, having won the World Championship in Aachen.
In 2006, Phillips and her horse Toytown won individual gold at the World Equestrian Games in Germany. That year, she was voted BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year.
In 2007, Phillips was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year’s Honours List for her services as an equestrian.
Phillips fell from her horse in 2008 during a cross-country event near Pau near the French Pyrenees when her horse fell at a fence. She suffered a broken collarbone. Her horse, Tsunami II, suffered a broken neck and had to be put down. News of her horse’s death devastated Phillips. The previous year, the horse fell after jumping a small hurdle of laurel, considered the easiest obstacle on the course.
No Word on a Wedding Date:
A wedding date has not yet been released and it is not known if the couple will wed before or after Prince William and Kate Middleton, but it is likely there will be two royal weddings in 2011. St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle is a possible venue for the wedding. It is the same location Zara’s brother Peter Phillips married Autumn Kelly in 2008.
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Latest News and Diary – The official website of The British Monarchy
BBC News – Zara Phillips to marry rugby star Mike Tindall
Princess Anne’s Daughter Zara Phillips to Marry Mike Tindall : People.com