Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Zara Phillips kisses fiance ahead of pre-nuptial drinks

Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips leaving the Cannongate Kirk in Edinburgh
Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips kiss after leaving the Cannongate Kirk in Edinburgh

Zara Phillips and England rugby star Mike Tindall kissed in front of the cameras after their wedding rehearsal.

The Queen's granddaughter and her fiance arrived at Canongate Kirk in a chauffeur-driven car, cheered on by a large group of well-wishers.

The couple then headed to the Royal Yacht Britannia, moored in Leith, where they held a pre-wedding party for friends and family.

The wedding will be Scotland's first royal nuptials in almost 20 years.

Zara's mother held her wedding to second husband Timothy Laurence in the country in 1992.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie
The royal party, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, leave the yacht

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and other royals will join Zara's parents at the ceremony on Saturday.

Also believed to be attending the wedding are Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the recently wed Prince William and Catherine, and Prince Harry.

Prince Andrew and his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, are also thought to be attending.

Lothian and Borders Police have been working with the Palace and Edinburgh City Council to ensure the smooth running of the wedding.

There has also been a heavy police presence outside the 17th Century church's gates throughout Friday.

After the rehearsals, the royal party moved to the yacht where guests started to arrive at about 18:30 BST, wearing dinner suits and cocktail dresses.

'Enjoyable day'

Supt Ivor Marshall, who is the Silver Commander responsible for overseeing security arrangements, said the wedding was expected to attract significant public interest, despite being a private affair.

He said: "In some ways it is quite difficult to predict, however, given the couple's status as well-known sports stars, the fact many of their guests are going to be well-known, and the fact Zara is a member of the Royal Family, that's going to draw people to the event and we are preparing for that."

Supt Marshall said the kirk's location, close to both the Scottish Parliament and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, yet set on the busy tourist hub of the Royal Mile, presented unique challenges.

While some road closures will be in place, local businesses will remain open and residents, who have been contacted by Edinburgh City Council, will be relatively unaffected.

He said: "The police planning unit is well versed in assisting in the organisation of high-profile and large-scale events in Edinburgh, including the recent Royal Week, the Papal visit last year and the festival.

"Therefore, we will be drawing on that experience to keep policing costs to a minimum and ensure it's an enjoyable day for the couple, their guests and the public."

Police began security preparations immediately following the announcement of Canongate Kirk as the venue.

However, few details of the wedding have been released by the palace.

The nuptials of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall are being billed as a low-key affair - in stark contrast to the recent wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

William and Kate's televised marriage was watched by a world-wide audience of hundreds of millions and attended by a host of celebrities and dignitaries.

The doors of the Canongate Kirk are to be closed to the press and public.

But large crowds are still expected in Edinburgh's Old Town to watch the arrival of the Royal family.

Mr Tindall is likely to have invited some of England's best-known rugby players who are colleagues and friends.

The wedding reception will be held in the Palace of Holyroodhouse - the official Scottish home of the Queen.

Tourist bosses said the nuptials are good news for the capital and the country.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: "The wedding between Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall is wonderful news for Edinburgh and the whole of Scotland.

"It's a great opportunity for tourism in this country and we would urge businesses to take advantage of this great occasion.

"With the Palace of Holyrood, Edinburgh Castle and Royal Britannia, the city has a fantastic wealth of royal attractions for visitors, and I would like to congratulate Ms Phillips and Mr Tindall on choosing Edinburgh's Canongate Kirk as the venue for their wedding.

"Situated on the Royal Mile, there can be few more historic or romantic places in which to get married."

The Princess Royal took a break from the final wedding preparations earlier with a visit to University of Edinburgh, her first formal visit as its chancellor.

She was appointed to the post in March and will be formally installed in September. She succeeds her father, the Duke of Edinburgh, who stepped down last year after holding the post since 1953.

Senior vice-principal Professor Nigel Brown said afterwards: "It was a real pleasure to welcome Her Royal Highness to the university in her first formal visit as chancellor.

"It was an enjoyable occasion and a great boost for staff and student morale."

More on this story