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FeaturesPrincess Anne and Family

Zara at 40: The Early Years

Anne, Princess Royal; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Zara Tindall
Stephen Lock/ i-Images

The daughter of the Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips, Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall (née Phillips) was born 15 May 1981 at 8:15 p.m. in the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London, weighing in at 7lbs and nine ounces. Other members of the Royal Family have been born at the same hospital including her cousins, Princes William and Harry, and Zara’s older brother, Peter. At birth, Zara was sixth in the line of succession to the throne; she is now currently 19th in the line.

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Zara’s older brother, Peter, was born on 15 November 1977. At the request of their mother, the siblings do not hold any royal or noble titles. They are also not automatically entitled to royal status by birthright as they are the grandchildren of a monarch in the female line. According to the BBC, Zara’s parents rejected the offer of titles from The Queen to help their children lead a more normal life. Zara has two younger half-sisters, Felicity Wade (née Tonkin from her father’s affair with Heather Tonkin) and Stephanie Phillips. Stephanie is the daughter of her father’s second marriage to Sandy Pflueger.

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Zara was christened on 27 July 1981 at Windsor Castle, just two days before her uncle, the Prince of Wales, married Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral. It was actually her uncle, the Prince of Wales, who suggested Zara’s name. Her godparents are her maternal uncle, the Duke of York; the Countess of Lichfield; Helen, Lady Stewart (the wife of Sir Jackie Stewart); Andrew Parker Bowles, and Hugh Thomas.

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Zara would attend Beaudesert Park School in Stroud, Gloucestershire, and Port Regis School in Shaftesbury, Dorset, before following other members of the Royal Family in attending Gordonstoun School in Moray, Scotland. The school was attended by the Prince of Wales in the 1960s. The Duke of York and Earl of Wessex would follow in their brother’s footsteps, but the Princess Royal was not educated at Gordonstoun. At the time, the school was only for boys. She would later send both Zara and Peter to the school and serve on the school’s board of governors.

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During her school days, Zara participated in many activities including hockey, athletics, and gymnastics. She later studied at the University of Exeter and become a qualified physiotherapist before pursuing her equestrian career.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.