The captain of the England rugby team is a bulldog of a man. He won't be fazed if he has to face the All Blacks in a World Cup final this October. But Mike Tindall was nervous as hell when he came to propose to his girlfriend.
'I was upstairs, plucking up the nerve to do it, while Zara was downstairs watching television. It was all about shock value - I wanted to catch her when it was quiet and she wasn't expecting anything.'
They were at home in their Regency town house in Cheltenham. 'I walked in there and got down on one knee, with the ring. She was on the sofa, so that made it easier. I said, "Will you marry me?"'
And her reaction?
'She started laughing. She was completely in shock. Then, when she stopped laughing, she said, "Yes." That was a relief.'
She is, of course, Zara Phillips - world champion equestrian, Olympic hopeful and former Sports Personality of the Year. Oh, and 13th in line to the throne - the daughter of Princess Anne and the granddaughter of the Queen. Her Majesty is likely to be at the wedding in Edinburgh next month, along with Prince William and his new bride. Their presence will make this high-profile, high-security event the second royal wedding of the year. No wonder the 32-year-old rugby player from Wakefield was nervous about asking.
'I had been thinking about it for ages, waiting to ask, but then my brother got engaged, and so did a certain Duke of Cambridge. I thought I'd better get on with it.'
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