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24 September 2014

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The young royals: Zara Phillips
Zara Phillips GETTY
Zara Phillips has been something of a royal rebel

Zara Phillips, the second child of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, is a young lady who has retained her strong links with her Gloucestershire roots.
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Zara Phillips has followed in her mother's footsteps in her love of horses - she also appears to have inherited something of her mother's occasionally rebellious nature.

She was born on May 15, 1981, at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington and christened Zara Anne Elizabeth at a service conducted in the Chapel at Windsor Castle by the Dean of Windsor on 27 July 1981.

Her unusual name (it is Greek in origin and means 'bright as the dawn') was chosen by Prince Charles.

In a family where tradition usually takes precedence over personal choices her out-of-the-ordinary name - and the fact that her mother wanted neither Zara or her brother Peter to be a Prince or Princess - set the trend for a young royal who has been determined to make her own way in life.

After spending most of her early life at the family home, Gatcombe Park near Minchinhampton, Zara was educated at Scottish boarding school Gordonstoun like her uncles and the Duke of Edinburgh.

She spent time in Australia and New Zealand on a gap year after A levels and later qualified at an equine physiotherapist at Exeter University.

Zara's on-off relationship with Richard Johnson was definitely on at the 2003 Cheltenham Festival

Her rebellious nature was revealed when photos taken at the 100th birthday celebrations of her grandmother the Queen Mother showed her sporting a tongue stud.

In December 2000 she escaped serious injury after overturning her Land-Rover near Bourton-on-the-Water.

Eyebrows were further raised by her on-off romance with leading jump jockey Richard Johnson.

She moved into his north Cotswolds home and the couple sold an interview and pictures to celebrity magazine Hello before the romance cooled in 2002.

A keen sportswoman, Zara has played hockey for Cheltenham Ladies' College, but horses remain her first love.

Zara enjoys hunting and three-day events and is a lively and enthusiastic - not to mention extremely photogenic - president of Club 16-24, which aims to attract more young racegoers to Cheltenham Racecourse.

She says: "Club 16-24 enhances the incredible atmosphere of Cheltenham, adding that little extra element of fun."

Zara Phillips on her first royal  engagement
Zara on her first royal engagement - a double ship-naming at Southampton

Zara's high-profile role at Cheltenham has certainly proved a headline-grabber - her congratulatory kiss after Johnson won the Champion Hurdle on Rooster Booster at the Cheltenham Festival in March dominated the front page of The Sun, Britain's biggest selling daily newspaper.

In May 2003 she performed her first official royal engagement at an event unique in British shipping history.

Zara and her mother the Princess Royal took part in the first UK double ship-naming ceremony in Southampton, with the princess naming the P&O Cruises liner Oceana and her daughter its sister ship Adonia.

In June 2003 Zara announced her first sponsorship deal with Cantor Index, a leading company in spread betting to help cover the costs of her equestrian career.

Zara is particularly close to her cousin Prince William, who is just a year younger than her.

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