Zara Tindall: The ‘rebellious’ royal who found quiet with husband Mike

Zara Tindall arrive at her wedding in 2011

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The Queen’s eldest granddaughter celebrates her 41st birthday today. Zara Tindall — daughter of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips — is likely to spend the big day in private with her family. However, tonight, her children — Mia, eight, Lena, three, and Lucas, one — will feature in the final performance of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, so it is suspected that Zara and her husband, Mike Tindall, will be in attendance. 

Ahead of Zara’s birthday, Mike shared a photograph of the pair on Instagram. 

The couple, who had been taking part in a charity golf day which raises money for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and The Matt Hampson Foundation, cuddled up for a sweet photo on the golf course.

Mike captioned the loved-up snap: “Couldn’t resist getting a photo with my sporting idol!!!”

The couple have been together since 2003, a time when Zara had been enjoying a party lifestyle.

Mark Phillips described his daughter as a “wild child” and referred to an unexpected piercing Zara had chosen to get. 

In 1998, Zara showed up at Prince Charles’s 50th birthday party with a tongue piercing. 

Mark told The Times in 2015: “She [Zara] used to be wild child, didn’t she, tongue studs and all? She still is.”

The captain suggested partying is part of the sporting life: “You’re living on the edge. That’s why the adrenalin has to be there and it’s why at the end you go, ‘Yes! I made it!’”

Despite Mike’s involvement in the sporting world, some royal experts have claimed that he had a “sobering influence” on a “rebellious” Zara, and contributed to the quieting down of her lifestyle. 

During the 2021 Channel 5 documentary, ‘Zara & Anne: Like Mother, Like Daughter’, royal commentator, Victoria Arbiter, said: “I guess, in a way, Mike Tindall really tamed Zara’s rebellious streak.”

Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl added: “For all of Mike’s reputation for being hard-living, hard-playing, he actually was a pretty sobering influence on Zara.”

Ms Nicholl claimed that Mike’s sportsmanship and ambition contributed to Zara’s successful career outside of the Royal Family

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Zara is an accomplished equestrian, having earned the title of world champion and won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. 

Meanwhile, Mike is a former professional rugby player who was part of the England squad that won the 2003 World Cup. 

She said: “The one thing that the family really loved was that he [Mike] encouraged her [Zara] to start taking her sporting talent seriously. 

“Of course, he was a big rugby player at the time — captain of the England rugby team — and here he was saying to Zara: ‘You can go after this. You can do this.’

“And that is exactly what she did. So I think the family will always be very grateful to Mike for encouraging her to pursue that ambition.” 

Last month, Zara was spotted back in the saddle at the Barefoot Retreats Burnham Market International Horse Trials in Norfolk. 

She has taken time off from competitive riding in recent years to focus on her family. 

Mike and their three children accompanied the royal rider and were seen cheering her on as she took part in the event. 

While Mike and Zara’s children will play a special role in today’s Jubilee celebrations, it is unknown what part the Tindalls will play in the celebratory weekend next month. 

The Queen has limited the iconic balcony scene to working members of the Royal Family, meaning that Zara and Mike do not make the cut. 

It is expected that they will attend other events, such as the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and the Derby at Epsom Downs.

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