32 touching moments between Princess Anne and Zara Tindall

The Princess Royal and her only daughter, Zara Tindall, share a love of sports, but it goes far beyond that as these photos prove

L-Princess Anne with her two young children, R- Princess Anne hugging Zara Tindall
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's always been something exciting about a prominent mother-daughter duo. Judy and Liza. Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Princess Anne and Zara Tindall.

For fans of the Royal Family, there's always been a sense that the women call the shots. Queen Elizabeth made it a matriarchy for a historic 70-year reign, and her daughter, Princess Anne, served by her side, breaking boundaries and changing traditions for much of that time. 

As the Princess Royal welcomed children of her own, royal fans got to see her forming new mother-daughter magic with her own daughter, Zara Tindall. These are some of their most special moments together...

32 touching moments between Princess Anne and Zara Tindall

Zara's birth starts a royal tradition

Princess Anne presents her daughter, Zara Phillips, after giving birth

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On May 18, 1981, Princess Anne gave birth to her second child - and her only daughter - Zara Phillips. 

Giving birth at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, the Princess Royal debuted her daughter to the press eagerly awaiting outside in a typically on-brand no-fuss manner, leaving the hospital and posing for photos as if she hadn't just given birth. 

This, as royal fans know now, has become something of a tradition, with everyone from Princess Diana to Princess Catherine introducing their children to the world outside the Lindo Wing.

A magical Christmas

Princess Anne with her daughter, Zara Tindall, and other family members in 1985

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This adorable family moment could be a Christmas card. 

It was a rare white Christmas for the UK in 1985, with plenty of snowfall making for a heart-warming memory between Princess Anne and her young daughter as they joined family members including Princess Diana for the Sandringham church service. 

Double denim divas

Princess Anne and a young Zara Phillips

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Princess Anne has always been known for following her own fashion rules, and this has led to her being an unlikely style icon. She was, after all, pushing for sustainable and recycled fashion long before it became a megatrend. 

Back in the 1980s, the Princess Royal stumbled upon another unlikely trend - pulling off matching double denim with her daughter, Zara, as they attended a horse show. 

Matching jumpers

Princess Anne and her children wearing matching jumpers

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No one is immune from being forced to match with their siblings - not even royals. 

While it's usually a source of embarrassing childhood photos, this one is much more heart-warming as Princess Anne joins in with the matching jumpers, twinning alongside her daughter, Zara Phillips, and son, Peter Phillips.

The jumpers were worn for a charitable cause. 

Hitting the ski slopes

Princess Anne and Zara Phillips skiing

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The royals are renowned for their sporting prowess, and two of the most athletic (and the only two to date to take part in the Olympics) are Princess Anne and Zara Tindall. 

In 1989, the mother-daughter pair were snapped soaring down the ski slopes, making it look oh-so-easy. 

Sharing the importance of charity early on

Princess Anne with her two children, Peter and Zara Phillips

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Anne, Princess Royal is celebrated for being one of the hardest-working members of the Royal Family, racking up a number of patronages and attending hundreds of official engagements each year.

In this sweet moment with her children, she is pictured showing a cheque for Save the Children in 1989, sharing the importance of hard work and giving back.

Piggy backs

Princess Anne giving daughter Zara Phillips a piggyback

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One might hear the title of Princess Royal and assume that Princess Anne would be prim and proper. As this photo proves, that's not quite the reality. Famous for her love of nature and keeping things casual, Princess Anne looks in her element shepherding her daughter around on her shoulders as they take in the great outdoors of a rural horse show. 

Holding hands at the horse show

Two photos of Princess Anne with her young children

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The Royal Family is not particularly known for public shows of affection, but Princess Anne - a regular trailblazer who has never been afraid to cut her own path - never hesitated to get cosy and hands-on with her children. 

With her hair wrapped up in a scarf (taking style cues from her mother, Queen Elizabeth II), Anne looks relaxed and at ease leading Zara around the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Showing support as a family

Princess Anne with Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips

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Perhaps the strongest testament to the bond between Princess Anne and both of her children is how regularly they all show up for one another. 

It's rare for Peter Phillips and Princess Anne to miss the chance to support Zara at her horse shows and trials.  

A family day out in 1985

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips with their two young children

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A sweet and heart-warming family memory captured on film as Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, enjoy a breather with their two young children, Peter and Zara. 

While Peter watches on, Zara is all energy as she struggles to sit still, cheekily clambering all over her mother.

A much needed mother-daughter pep talk

Princess Anne and Zara Tindall

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Sometimes the best mother-daughter moment isn't all hugs and kisses, it's giving some much-needed tough love. 

It looks as if Zara Tindall was struggling during one of her horse trials in 2011, and it was up to her no-nonsense mother, the Princess Royal, to give some inspiring and straight-to-the-point advice. 

Sharing a big hug

Zara Tindall hugs Princess Anne

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Zara Tindall's relaxed, open body language when around her mother says it all about their great bond. 

Indeed, it seems that Princess Anne has never been one to be too stern or judgmental of her children's decisions, allowing for more freedom than one might expect for those growing up royal. 

One such incident that's often cited is when Zara debuted a pierced tongue at age 17 - something which Anne reportedly took in good humour, simply asking if she could "still talk".

Dressed like Mum for Easter, 1992

Princess Anne and Zara Phillips with other members of the Royal Family, including Princess Diana

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In 1992, 11-year-old Zara joined her mother, Princess Anne, and other family members including cousins Princes William and Harry for an Easter Service. 

Growing up fast, she cut a regal figure not too dissimilar to her mother, opting for a structured black blazer that complemented the Princess Royal's black ensemble. 

The family that rides together...

Princess Anne, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall on horseback

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Princess Anne was joined by both of her children for a charity ride in 1992. 

It felt like an inevitability that a love of horses would unite the family, as it had previously done with Princess Anne and her mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The late Queen famously had a life-long bond with the animals, ever since getting her first pony as a child. 

Horsing around

Zara Tindall on horseback talking to her mum, Princess Anne

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This dramatic shot of Zara, mounted on horseback, approaching her mother during a horse show, captures how hands-on the Princess Royal has been as her daughter has progressed to be a champion equestrian. 

It appears as though Zara is seeking some advice from her mother, and it even looks like Anne is playing the role of horse-whisperer as the animal focuses intently. 

Zara joins mum for a day at work

Princess Anne and Zara Tindall launch two ships

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In 2003, a 21-year-old Zara Phillips joined her permanently busy mother, Princess Anne, for a rare public engagement together. 

Anne had the honour of being joined by her daughter as the chic, well-dressed couple launched two ships together. 

The pair officially launched two new cruise ships, the Adonia and Oceana.

Always by her side - even in a jeep

Princess Anne rides her jeep alongside Zara Tindall on horseback

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Royals do things differently than most other mother-daughter duos, so if you've never ridden a horse alongside your mother driving through the countryside in a jeep, don't judge yourself too harshly. 

While Zara was training for horse trials at the Festival of British Eventing, Anne sped alongside for moral support, with her granddaughter cheering on her mum in the backseat. 

Family fun at Cheltenham

Zara Tindall, Peter Phillips and Princess Anne watch the horse races

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Princess Anne must be a fun mum, as she's joined by her grown-up children for a fun day out at the Cheltenham races in 2003, desperately trying to capture all the action using her binoculars. 

The Princess Royal still regularly attends the likes of Royal Ascot or Cheltenham with her children and their partners.

Keeping the grandkids busy while Zara competes

Princess Anne with Mia Tindall

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While Zara technically isn't included in this sweet moment, it perfectly captures how hands-on Princess Anne is with her grandchildren - and how Zara can put her attention elsewhere while Anne is on Grandma duty. 

The Princess Royal was being kept on her toes by granddaughter Mia Tindall while Zara took part in horse trials at the Festival of British Eventing in 2016. 

Victory hugs

Princess Anne hugs Zara Tindall

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Princess Anne is a trendsetter and a trailblazer - she was the first royal to ever take part in the Olympics back in 1976, and her competence at equestrian events saw her take part in several other European tournaments. 

Passing the torch on proudly, this powerful embrace took place after Zara was triumphant during the Blenheim European Eventing Championships in 2005.

Zara hitches a ride

Princess Anne carries Zara Phillips on her back

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Sure, Zara Tindall has made a name for herself as a champion equestrian, but she first mastered the art of giddy-up riding on the shoulders of her mother. 

In matching denim ensembles, this cute photo shows Anne ferrying Zara about.

Mum-daughter day out at Cheltenham, 2000

Zara Tindall and Princess Anne

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In 2000, 19-year-old Zara Phillips joined her mother, Princess Anne, for a day out at the Cheltenham Races. 

Debuting a short, cropped haircut, Zara showed that, just like her mum, she wasn't afraid of mixing things up when it came to her looks, and she wasn't afraid to try something not typically thought of as traditionally royal. 

Princess Anne helps break the rules for Zara

Princess Anne and Zara Tindall at Royal Ascot, 1989

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Princess Anne and Zara Tindall have both respectively proven themselves to be pioneers and rule-breakers (in the best way). So, it's not particularly surprising that the pair joining forces led to something as traditional as the Royal Ascot changing their set-in-stone ways. 

In 1989, the eight-year-old Zara was allowed to join her mother for the horse racing - even though children are typically prohibited from attending the glamorous annual affair. 

For the honour, Zara looked like a real young lady in a smart, floral dress and straw hat.

All smiles for Royal Ascot, 2022

Princess Anne and Zara Tindall at Royal Ascot

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From attending the Royal Ascot races as an eight-year-old in 1989 - breaking all rules and protocols that had come before - to turning up in 2022, Zara Tindall loves being by her mother's side for the glamorous racing festival. 

Princess Anne was joined by Zara Tindall as they led the carriage procession on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. 

Not the typical mother-in-law

Princess Anne with Mike and Zara Tindall

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Pop culture and uninspired male comedians rely on the classic trope of a mother-in-law being one of the worst evils in the world. 

For Mike Tindall, who married Zara in 2011, it couldn't be further from the truth. 

The former rugby champ has been vocal about his great bond with Princess Anne, even telling fellow contestants of ITV's I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of here! about a most embarrassing incident which the Princess Royal laughed off with aplomb. 

On the reality show, he talked about how at a party for Zara he ripped his trousers in front of Princess Anne. But, as he said, "It happened to be that my boxers that I had on at that time said 'nibble my nuts'."

He added, "As I've turned round, she's [Anne] gone, 'I'd rather not.'"

Princess Anne and Zara play with Mia

Princess Anne and Zara Tindall with Mia Tindall

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This one is a sweet grandmother-mother-daughter moment, as three generations of active and outdoorsy women were caught having a ball at the Festival of British Eventing. 

Taking place on Princess Anne's Gatcombe Park estate each year, the Princess Royal, her children and now her grandchildren regularly make appearances. 

In 2022, Anne and Zara enjoyed a chat as they swung Mia Tindall around.

Zara joins Princess Anne for Royal Ascot, 2000

Princess Anne with Zara Tindall at Royal Ascot

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During the Royal Ascot races in 2000, Zara Phillips attended with her mother wearing a most daring and out-there dress.

The sexy number - which featured more leg than most Royal Ascot attendees might have been used to - was a style standout for Zara. 

While the dress was daring, we can't help but notice a slight nod to Princess Anne's enduring style icon prowess in Zara's choice of accessory. She appears to be wearing a wraparound pair of sunglasses - the very same style Anne has been wearing for decades.

HRH - her royal hugs

Princess Anne hugging Zara Tindall

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There have been countless photos of the Princess Royal wrapping Zara Tindall up in her arms over the years (and now, Princess Anne is equally as affectionate and hands-on with her grandchildren). 

Their enviable bond is perhaps why Zara didn't hesitate in referring to Princess Anne as her ultimate "role model" in a past interview. 

Proud at Zara's MBE

Princess Anne, Timothy Laurence, Zara and Mike Tindall

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Princess Anne might have decided against giving her children titles at birth, but Zara Tindall still found herself picking up a fancy honour in 2007. 

Anne beamed on as her daughter earned her very own MBE (a Member of the Order of the British Empire) for her services to equestrianism.

Zara sticks close by after the Queen's death

Princess Anne and Zara Tindall meet mourners after the Queen's death

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It was a life-changing moment for the nation when Queen Elizabeth II - the longest-serving monarch in British history - passed away in 2022. While the country felt the loss of the only monarch many had ever known, the Royal Family lost their mother, grandmother and matriarch. 

So it was heart-warming to notice how closely Zara stuck by her mother in the days following. It isn't Anne's steadfast husband who is the nearest to her as they greet mourners and well-wishers, it is Zara on hand to provide comfort and support if needed.

Paying homage to her mother on her wedding day

Mike and Zara Tindall on their wedding day

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In 2011, arguably the biggest event on the royal calendar was the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. 

However, a few short months after their April nuptials, Mike and Zara Tindall got hitched in a much more intimate affair. Getting married in Edinburgh, Zara paid tribute to her mother on the big day in the most chic of ways. 

The bride secured her veil with Princess Andrew’s Meander Bandeau, a diamond tiara that originally belonged to her great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg. Princess Alice gave the tiara to Queen Elizabeth II as a wedding present in 1947, and in turn, the Queen later gave it to her daughter. 

Zara borrowed this diadem plus a pair of diamond frame earrings that belonged to her mother.

Presenting her daughter with her first Olympic Medal

Princess Anne gives Zara Tindall her Olympic Medal

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Princess Anne became the first member of the Royal Family to compete in the Olympic Games, riding one of the late Queen's horses, Goodwill, in the equestrian three-day event at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. 

Princess Anne's daughter, Zara Phillips, followed in her mother's footsteps by competing in the same equestrian three-day event at the 2012 London Olympics. Zara won a Silver Medal during the Games.

In what might be one of the most iconic and unforgettable moments, Princess Anne got to present her daughter with her first-ever Olympic Medal in her capacity as President of the British Olympic Association. 

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.