While many little girls dream of being a princess, Zara Tindall (whose grandmother is the Queen herself!) is glad she grew up without a royal title.
Zara, 34, and her older brother, Peter, 37, were not entitled to royal status by birth since titles can only be given to a monarch’s grandchildren through sons, not daughters. But the Queen extended a courtesy title to Anne’s children, which she declined.
Their father, Captain Mark Phillips, was a commoner and also turned down a title that would have been given to him as a wedding gift from the Queen when he wed Princess Anne.
“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,” Zara told The Times in a recent interview.
As children, Zara and her brother attended Trooping the Colour and other royal events along with their cousins Prince William and Prince Harry, but their non-royal status allowed them to pursue other career opportunities.
Zara is an accomplished equestrian and even won a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics as a member of the Great Britain Eventing Team. She’s now focused on the 2016 Rio Olympics as well as the European Eventing Championships later this year. And she’s found success in commercial sponsorships.
She credits her parents, who divorced in 1992, for her work ethic.
“I probably get it from my parents,” she said. “Papa said to me, ‘If you want to get to the top you’ve got to do it properly, and if you want to stay at the top it’s even harder.’ ”
As for her former wild child status (Zara made headlines in 1998 when she got her tongue pierced!), she insists that she wasn’t as “wild” as it appeared in the tabloids.
“I don’t know if I was that wild. I guess it looked like that because of my family background. I’m sure that is what it’s probably compared to,” she said.
Zara remains close to her royal cousins. She was even chosen as one of Prince George’s godparents by Will and Kate.
Royals Flashback: 5 Times Prince George Stole the Show
“As soon as Zara introduced Mia to Kate, she put George down next to Mia and they all sat down by the tent,” says veteran royals photographer Mark Stewart.
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