Queen Elizabeth shared a special equestrian bond with her eldest granddaughter
In a new interview with The Australian Women's Weekly magazine, the professional equestrian, 42, spoke about the special bond over horses that she shared with her late grandmother, who died in September 2022 at age 96.
Beyond her royal duties, Queen Elizabeth was a great horsewoman and passed down the passion to her only daughter Princess Anne and later, her eldest granddaughter. Zara took her equestrian career professional in 2003 and told The Weekly that the Queen was an encouraging force.
"She very much knew what was going on in my career as I was growing up," Zara said. "You got to see her real passion and love for the horses and that side of her."
Reflecting on life without Queen Elizabeth, who reigned for a record 70 years, she added, "When you’ve got someone who’s a huge influence in your life, it leaves a hole.”
The late monarch currently has thirteen great-grandchildren, including Zara’s three kids. Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s son Ernest became the first great-grandchild born after the Queen’s death when he arrived in May.
Zara shares daughters Mia, 9, and Lena, 5, and son Lucas, 2, with husband Mike Tindall — and while their son met his great-grandmother, he was very young.
"Lucas doesn’t remember, but the girls do very much," Zara said in the new interview.
Mike, who also took part in the interview, adds, "We've got the photo of Lucas with her, whereas the other two actually remember. She was a big part of our holidays and family time."
Taken at Balmoral Castle in the summer of 2022 (by amateur photographer Princess Kate!), Lucas sat on Mia’s lap beside the sovereign, with Lena perched on the arm of the couch. Zara’s brother Peter Phillips' elder daughter Savannah, 12, sat to the Queen’s left, with her younger sister Isla, 11, behind her. William and Kate’s three kids — Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 —rounded out another row, with Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh’s children — Lady Louise Windsor, 20, and James, Earl of Wessex, 15 — posing behind the Queen.
While exclusively speaking to PEOPLE in April before King Charles’ coronation day, Zara touched on how Princess Anne’s equestrian role leading the procession after the crowning as Gold-Stick-in-Waiting was a thoughtful honor indicative of the tight bond she and her brother the King share.
"It's a busy time for them all, and her and her brother are very close, so it's a nice thing to do," Zara told PEOPLE.
Before the Princess Royal (who also rode in the Olympics!) trotted into the spotlight in the coronation parade, Zara said her family would be thinking of their late matriarch on May 6.
"Obviously, we're going to miss her very much," she said of Queen Elizabeth.
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Members of the royal family came together at Westminster Abbey for the historic crowning of King Charles and Queen Camilla on May 6, and continue to support one another at important events.
On Wednesday night, Zara attended the inaugural Winter Gala for Princess Eugenie’s charity The Anti-Slavery Collective, and cousins posed for a picture together. Eugenie, 33, and her friend Julia de Boinville created the organization in 2017 to combat modern slavery and trafficking, and they raised over $1.2 million at the party in London.
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