Captain Mark Phillips to divorce for second time after falling for 35-year-old
CAPTAIN Mark Phillips is to divorce for a second time after falling for a woman almost 30 years his junior.
Princess Ann’s 63-year-old former husband has left his second wife, Sandy, to set up home with fellow equestrian Lauren Hough, 35.
Sources close to Capt Phillips said he broke the news to his 58-year-old wife and their 14-year-old daughter Stephanie earlier this year.
The couple's separation and forthcoming divorce were confirmed in a statement from Capt Phillips' solicitors.
It said: "Captain and Mrs Mark Phillips are separating and divorce proceedings have commenced. The couple have a daughter, aged 14, and the care and support of her is Capt Phillips's main concern at this sensitive time.
"Capt Phillips therefore requests that all parties respect their privacy in the months ahead."
Capt Phillips, an Olympic gold medallist in three-day eventing, grew close to American Miss Hough through his work as trainer of the US eventing team.
He spends several months a year in the US, where he has worked with the national eventing team for 20 years, and when he is in the UK he regularly travels around the country designing eventing courses.
He is understood to be planning to set up home in Florida with Miss Hough.
He has reportedly told friends that “I might only be alive for another five or ten years so I might as well be happy”.
Capt Phillips’ decision to set up home with a younger woman is likely to prompt a certain sense of déjà vu for his current wife.
Both Sandy Phillips and Miss Hough are slim, blonde US Olympians who are younger than their predecessors at Capt Phillips’ side.
Hawaiian-born Sandy Pflueger, as she was then, was part of the US dressage team at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and went on to help coach the US team alongside her husband.
Miss Hough was part of the US team at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and will also be helping coach the US team alongside Capt Phillips at the London 2012 Games.