So Zara has forgiven newlywed husband, Mike Tindall, his embarrassing frolics with a blonde in a bar in Queenstown, New Zealand. Zara may have accepted his excuses - too much to drink, wild atmosphere, rugby pals leading him astray etc, etc, but there is one person who is not best pleased: Mike’s awesome mother-in-law, Princess Anne, officially known as HRH The Princess Royal.
A report in Britain’s Sunday Telegraph says that Anne "is angered by roistering rugby star Mike Tindall" and "upset by the antics of her son-in-law, Mike Tindall, with a blonde woman at the Rugby World Cup."
The "Mandrake" column, goes on to add: “Princess Anne, a devoted Scotland supporter, is said be deeply unimpressed with the England captain’s extra-curricular antics in New Zealand.” Then the column quotes an associate of the Queen’s daughter: “She is very angry and upset.”
While Zara cheered Mike on to victory against Romania in Dunedin on Saturday, Anne was still seething. Inside information does not appear in gossip columns like this by chance. Anne may be well-distanced, but I have little doubt that she gave an acquiescent nod to the mysterious "associate".
The point has always been that those born of blood royal get away with mischief and the Palace machinery protects them -- as was the case with the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret -- but those who marry into the family must never do anything to humiliate the royal partner.
Anne can be a particularly difficult character: she is only close to one of her siblings -- Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex -- and rarely sees Princes Charles or Andrew. She has been married twice, to Zara’s father, Mark Phillips, and to former Queen’s equerry, Tim Laurence. There have been persistent rumours about the state of their relationship.
Mike, who has looked whey-faced since the incident over a week ago, has good reason to be afraid of meeting up with Anne. The Sunday Telegraph report may be taken as a shot across the bows, and if Mike has any sense, he’ll know he’s in the last chance saloon. Any further indiscretions and it won’t be just his feisty wife he faces, but the woman who could just turn out to be the mother-in-law from Hell.