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Musto ambassador Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall on their royal romance

There’s a spread in tomorrow’s OK! magazine about Musto ambassador Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall on their royal romance – and getting on the ride side of the mother-in-law!

‘While a certain Duke and Duchess’s start to married life has taken up untold column inches in recent months, another royal wedding has taken a backseat – until now.’


Zara Phillips is due to wed Mike Tindall this weekend at Canongate Kirk, followed by a lavish reception at the official residence in Scotland of HM the Queen – the Palace of Holyroodhouse.  ‘It probably will be a white wedding although sometimes I can see the attraction of sneaking away without telling anyone,’ said Mike following their engagement last December.

While they won’t have the pomp and the ceremony of William and Catherine’s April nuptials, the proceedings won’t be the intimate affair that Mike perhaps hoped for.  This royal-meets-commoner love story began in Sydney during the 2003 Rugby World Cup.  The couple were introduced by Mike’s team-mate Austin Healey in a bar.  ‘Austin is a bit of a joker – maybe he was matchmaking, I don’t know,’ Mike has revealed, adding: ‘But he lied to me and said Zara wanted me to text her to say where we were going out after the final.  So I did.’

What started as a friendship blossomed into a relationship between the equestrian champion and the captain of the English rugby team.  Before long, Mike got approval from Princess Anne, Zara’s mother, to move in to Zara’s cottage on the Princess ROyal’s 750-acre Gloucestershire estate.  But it took Mike, 32, eight years before he asked for 30-year-old Zara’s hand in marriage at their home: ‘I was upstairs, plucking up the nerve to do it, while Zara was downstairs watching television.  It was all about the shock value – I wanted to catch her when it was quiet and she wasn’t expecting anything,’ said Mike of their engagement.’

MIKE ON ZARA

I proposed to her, and then she picks up the phone and rings her mum…

Her mum says: ‘Can we get his nose straightened for the wedding?’ The worst thing was, she’s so keen for it, she’s happy to pay for it!

I had been thinking about it for ages, waiting to ask…

But then my brother got engaged, and so did a certain Duke of Cambridge.  I thought I’d better get on with it.

I’ve never been in love before…

But Zara is the love of my life.

I just really liked her.  It wasn’t love at first sight – I wasn’t looking for romance…

But, naturally, I wasn’t unmoved by her.  She is a stunning woman.  There was something there.

We want kids but haven’t set a date yet…

I am a traditional bloke, but I’ll be a good dad.  I’ll get stuck in, get up in the middle of the night and change nappies.  I love children.

I’d quite happily not work, learn to cook and stay at home with the kids…

And as a champion showjumper, Zara can go on for longer than I can!

I’m a bit more laid back and she sometimes gives me the kick up the a**e I need…

But I’m good at getting her to relax a bit.

My missus can drink many people under the table, especially a footballer…

Zara could probably take the team on.

I’d love Zara if she worked behind a checkout at Tesco…

She just happens to be Princess Anne’s daughter.

You’ve got to respect Princess Anne…

If you didn’t show her respect, you’d soon know about it.  But I do and we get on very well.  I call her ‘Ma’am’.

I got down on one knee…

Zara was on the sofa, so that made it easier.

ZARA ON MIKE

We tell each other we love each other every day…

I’m an affectionate person and so is he.  I don’t like it when people don’t like you touching them and so on.

I don’t think I’ll still be riding at 40…

Though there are a couple of people who are still riding after having kids.  People say that you lose your nerve after having kids.  It’s the risk…

I did get Mike on a horse at the beginning of our relationship…

I had a bigger horse in those days who could carry someone like him, but he was trying to impress me then and now he’s given up.

We have a cleaner…

But I do go into cleaning frenzies where Mike calls me Monica because I start chucking everything out.  He gets out of the house.

He’s quite good to live with as long as he’s getting his food…

He doesn’t cook.  I’m threatening to send him on cooking lessons, but it hasn’t happened yet.

I would love to have children in the future – but I’ve got a lot to do before then…

Taking part in an Olympics on your home ground is something you dream about.

Mike’s the most laid-back person in the world to have around…

We understand what sport throws at you.  I understand when he’s injured what he feels like.  When I met him, my horse Toytown was injured and it was the worst possible time.  He’s always there for me to say: ‘What do you think?’  It’s not that you know so much about the sport, it’s just an opinion that you trust.  If sometimes he gets frustrated about rugby, I think I’d always understand.’

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