Saturday 7 December 2019

Royals arrive in style for Zara's big day


SHE'S the royal rebel loved by all her family. So, they were all there on Saturday, to see 30-year-old equestrienne Zara Philips marry 32-year-old rugby international Mike Tindall in Edinburgh.

The couple were determined to have a private ceremony, which nevertheless drew international media and 5,000 well-wishers to the narrow streets of the city's Old Town.

Her family is regal, and she is 13th in line to the throne. The service and celebrations might have been in royal venues, but it was above all a family celebration, reflecting the couple's down-to-earth personalities.

The night before, there had been a glitzy cocktail reception for 150 guests on board the de-commissioned royal yacht Britannia. It is now a tourist attraction at nearby Leith.

Like William and Kate, the bridal couple invited plenty of their own friends -- including sporting legends such as AP McCoy, Austin Healy and Amy Williams. Also on hand, to the delight of the crowds, was actress Katherine Kelly. The actress who plays Becky in Coronation Street, is an old school friend of Mike.

Zara, like her mother Princess Anne, is amongst the most popular royals in Scotland. So, spectators overnighted outside the 17th century Dutch-gabled Canongate Kirk.

It is the church of Holyroodhouse Palace, the Queen's official Scottish residence. Ten minutes before the ceremony, a fleet of royal cars drove up the narrow street.

Princess Beatrice, in turquoise by the Queen's designer Angela Kelly, and sporting a saucer hat, drew special interest, following reaction to her hat at William and Kate's wedding. Princess Anne, in a red pleated skirt and floral top, cheerily waved to the crowd.

Food, however, seemed the overall theme for the delicious-sounding royal dresses -- apricot for the Queen, mint green for Camilla, chocolate and cream for Princess Eugenie and nougat for Kate.

Loud cheers greeted Zara, as veiled, she drove with her father Mark to the Kirk. Her greeting by Reverend Neil Gardner allowed a first glimpse of the dress. By Stewart Parvin, who also designed for the Queen, it is said to have been bought in a bridal shop in Minchampton, near to Zara's family home. In duchess satin and silk faille, the gown had a bell-shaped skirt, with deep satin hem, and a cathedral train.

Inside, Zara was greeted by her group of tiny attendants. She clearly did not follow her mother's decision not to have "yards of children" following her down the aisle. Like Princess Anne, however, Zara borrowed a tiara from mum, wearing Princess Anne's Meander tiara with its distinctive key pattern.

There was a kiss for the relaxed and smiling bride, who is expected to keep her own name, as the couple left relaxed and happy, to cheers.

However, they had saved the best until last. As their car swept into the courtyard of Holyroodhouse Palace, there was a true setpiece Scottish welcome for the bride. The pipes and drums playing on the lawn broke into the Scots wedding ballad Marie's Wedding, as the pair entered the palace for the reception.

Sunday Independent

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