Monday 25 September 2017

Ruth Dudley Edwards: All hail Zara, patron saint of stiff upper lip

The royal and her rugby-playing husband have not caved into the media scrum, cheers Ruth Dudley Edwards

Sometimes I have fantasies about making punishments fit crimes. Jailed bombers would have the testimony of the bereaved and the mutilated played into their cells all day; noisy neighbours and young tearaways would have to listen for long periods to Mozart's late string quartets; and night and day intrusive hacks would be stalked by paparazzi and private investigators.

Said hacks have really got me worked up with the so-called revelations about Mike Tindall, aka 'The Fridge', an enormous English rugby player who recently married Zara Phillips, an equestrian champion, who happens to be a granddaughter of the Queen.

Tindall and Zara have in common an ambition to excel, a fierce professionalism, great physical courage and stoicism in the face of pain, misfortune and disappointment. Tindall has broken various bits of himself over the years, had a lung punctured and a liver torn and has been unable to play for long periods, but always he gets back on to that muddy field. Zara has fallen off many a steed, has missed the Olympics because of an injured horse and, in 2008, had another horse tip over a hedge, breaking her collarbone and his neck.

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