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How Princess Anne made her daughter a princess

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

Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall came into the world 40 years ago on May 15, 1981, the daughter of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.

However, only the male offspring of The Queen and Prince Phillip are entitled to pass on a royal title to their children. This is due to the 1917 Letters Patent issued by King George V, which limits the title of Prince(ss) to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sovereign’s sons, and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. This was amended in 2013 to include all the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (i.e. the children of The Duke of Cambridge).

Officially, that means Zara is not a princess. But in a way she is, because in Arabic and Hebrew “Zara” means “princess.”

Zara received her name, not from her parents, Princess Anne and Olympian Mark Phillips, but from her uncle, Prince Charles. To this day, the Prince of Wales is close with his niece, Zara. 

While the name Zara was a departure from traditional royal names, her additional names are what you would expect from a member of the Royal Family. Her first middle name is Anne, after her mother, Princess Anne. Her second middle name, Elizabeth, is for Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother, Zara’s grandmother and great-grandmother, respectfully.

Zara and her husband, former rugby player, Mike Tindall, have given their children names that are unique to the Royal Family. Their eldest is Mia, age seven, two-year old Lena and the newly arrived, Lucas, six weeks old. 

Even though Zara means “princess” and she is Queen Elizabeth’s eldest granddaughter, she will be the first to tell you she is not a princess. In 2010, the champion equestrian was described as a “triple threat: athlete, model, princess” she responded to The Telegraph with ‘athlete’s good. The others can get dropped…I’m not a princess anyway so I find that quite weird to be labeled as one.

When speaking with The Times, Zara commented how relieved she is to not have HRH before her name, saying ‘I’m very lucky that both my parents decided to not use the title and we grew up and did all the things that gave us the opportunity to do.