EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) ― Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Zara Phillips married England rugby star Mike Tindall on Saturday ― but Britain’s second royal wedding of the year was largely a low-key affair, with only a hint of the glamor and excitement of Prince William’s showstopping nuptials.
Phillips, 30, who is 13th in line to the throne but does not use a royal title, and Tindall, 32, were greeted by hundreds of flag-waving well-wishers and the sound of traditional bagpipes as they left their wedding service at Edinburgh’s Canongate Kirk following a private ceremony.
Britain’s Zara Phillips, the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, and her husband England rugby player Mike Tindall leave Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh after their marriage on Saturday. (AP-Yonhap News)
The often publicity shy bride wore a traditional ivory silk gown and a full-length flowing veil, but posed only briefly for onlookers ― and gave her husband a fleeting, modest kiss ― as they left the 17th century church for a reception at the queen’s Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Unlike William and Kate Middleton’s spectacular ceremony in April, the wedding service led by Rev. Neil Gardner was not broadcast on television and crowds gathered in the Scottish city were warned by police there would be little for them to see.
Members of the public packed along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, the city’s famed cobbled boulevard, cheered loudly for William and Middleton, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as they arrived to join the congregation, traveling in a sleek black sedan with Prince Harry.
Middleton, wearing a biscuit colored coat, dress and large angled hat won a warm reception as she offered a wave, as did the queen and Duke of Edinburgh who arrived shortly before the bride.
While the details of Middleton’s wedding gown were a closely guarded secret, Phillips ― more commonly seen in jeans or sportswear ― made an expected choice in choosing Stewart Parvin, a British designer favored by the queen. She also wore a Greek Key tiara lent to her by mother Princess Anne, and Jimmy Choo shoes.
Parvin also designed the queen’s apricot wool coat and silk dress.
Peta Hunt, fashion director of You & Your Wedding magazine said the ivory gown hinted at the bride’s quirky personality.
“Who else could go to a wedding and have their dress done by the same person who does their granny’s? It allowed her to move with ease and grace, but had an element of fun and flirtiness,” Hunt said.
The occasion was far removed from April’s international spectacle at Westminster Abbey, but neatly reflected the couple’s unflashy style. Tindall had even proposed in a modest setting, as he and Phillips curled up on a sofa at home watching a movie.
Before the ceremony, royal officials confirmed that Phillips will keep her maiden name rather than be known as Mrs. Tindall, largely because of her sporting career.
Phillips is known better for her sporting achievements than her royal heritage, as a world class equestrian who is likely to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Tindall ― who Phillips met in 2003 in Australia during England’s triumphant Rugby World Cup campaign ― is a leading rugby player who has captained his country.
The ceremony was the first royal wedding held in Scotland since 1992, when Princess Anne ― the mother of the bride ― married her second husband, Timothy Laurence. Anne’s elder child, Peter Phillips, married his Canadian partner Autumn Kelly in 2008.
Even the prospect of a brief glimpse of the royal family was enough to entice hundreds to Edinburgh for Saturday’s wedding, including a few dozen stalwarts who camped overnight to win a front row view.
Waving a Canadian flag, Margaret Kittle, 76, said she had traveled from Ontario, Canada, and staked out a spot on Friday night. “I flew over last Saturday and have been here since last night. I started following the royals after I saw George VI and the Queen back home in Canada when I was 4 years old,” she said.
Helen Sutherland, a 65-year-old from Muir of-Ord in the Scottish Highlands, was wrapped in a warm blanket as she waited for a glimpse of Britain’s newest royal couple. “It got chilly through the night, but we want to see the bride and her dress. They seem to be a very happy couple,” she said.
Phillips and Tindall hosted a glitzy cocktail party late Friday for relatives and guests aboard the former royal yacht Britannia, which they had hired for the occasion. The famous ship, once used by the queen to tour the world, was decommissioned in 1997.
But the party was a rare moment of public glamor for the couple, who are known for putting their devotion to sports ahead of their celebrity. The couple’s honeymoon has been postponed because both are due to feature in major events next week ― the bride in horse trials, and the groom in England’s rugby international against Wales.