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Rugby helped me bond with Royal family - Mike Tindall

25 July 11 12:14
Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips

Rugby player Mike Tindall has said the sport helped bring him closer to wife-to-be Zara Phillips' "normal family".

The England star is due to marry the Princess Royal's daughter in Edinburgh on Saturday, in a ceremony attended by the Queen and Prince Philip.

Tindall, 32, said he had known Zara's mother through her involvement with Scottish rugby and had also played against Zara's brother, Peter.

"They're good, fun people... a normal family", he told the Reader's Digest.

"I've been on the edge of their world all the time I've been playing rugby. I know William and Harry because they are great England supporters, and I've played against Peter."

Princess Anne is also the patron of the Scottish Rugby Union and presented Tindall with a trophy during this year's Six Nations tournament.

The couple will exchange vows in an Edinburgh church at the weekend surrounded by their families and friends.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will join Zara's parents, Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, at the Canongate Kirk on the city's Royal Mile.

Also believed to be attending are the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke of York and his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Former England rugby captains Lawrence Dallaglio and Martin Johnson are also said to be among the other guests.

The wedding reception will be held at Holyroodhouse - the official Royal residence in Scotland.

Miss Phillips, 30, has confirmed her dress is being designed by Stewart Parvin, who has also made clothes for the Queen.

Tindall, who plays his club rugby for Gloucester, also told Reader's Digest that the couple's different backgrounds was "not a problem".

He added that his family were also very comfortable with the marriage: "They just want me to be happy. They can see I am, so they're not worried, and they love Zara."

The Queen's eldest granddaughter and Mr Tindall met during England's Rugby World Cup-winning campaign in Australia in 2003.

Palace sources say the wedding will be private, with costs covered by the families.

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