A new royal baby is on its way after Zara and Mike Tindall announced they are expecting a second child.
The Queen – known to Prince George and Princess Charlotte as Gan Gan – is ‘delighted’ at the news of her sixth great-grandchild, as are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Equestrian champion Zara – the monarch’s granddaughter – and former England rugby player Tindall are said to be thrilled at the prospect of a brother or sister for their daughter Mia, who is nearly three.
The latest addition to the royal family will be a playmate for cute-as-a-button Mia Grace, who was born on January 14th 2011.
Following the news Mike Tindall took to Twitter to thanks everyone for their messages.
He wrote: ‘Just a quick one to say thank you for the messages. We are very very happy about the little one on its way. 2017 is already starting well!!’
The arrival of this royal baby will be markedly different to that of George in 2013 and Charlotte in 2015.
Mia, whose name was announced by her father via Twitter, was born on the NHS at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
‘We’d never even contemplated going privately,’ the couple revealed afterwards.
In fact the royal couple were famously public about the birth of their daughter Mia.
Zara become the first senior member of the Royal Family to sell photographs of their baby to a celebrity magazine – for a reported fee of £150,000.
Zara, Mike and their then five-week-old daughter Mia Grace were pictured in 13 pages of Hello! magazine, as well as its front cover.
The first official pictures of Mia were taken at Zara and Mike’s cottage on Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire and came just days after their publicist denied they were planning to make money out of the birth.
The accompanying interview sees Zara and Mike speak about Mia’s birth on January 17 and even reveal how Zara called her grandmother as soon as she returned home from hospital.
Asked whether Palace protocol obliged them to inform the Queen as soon as the baby was born, Mike says: ‘I sent a text to all the family. Zara is very close to her grandmother, so of course she made a phone call once we got back home.’
Like her brother Peter, Zara has no Royal title or taxpayer funding. She earns a living as a professional equestrian, funding her stables through sponsorship deals with firms including Land Rover and Rolex.
Whether we can expect to see baby number two splashed across the pages of Hello! remains to be seen.
The baby will be a second cousin to Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who call their great-grandmother the Queen ‘Gan Gan’. Zara is also one of George’s godmothers.
Tindall once revealed that George’s first meeting with Mia when she was a baby was ‘carnage’, with most of George’s food going on the table rather than in his mouth.
Earlier this year, Mia was pictured holding the Queen’s famous black handbag when the monarch posed for an Annie Leibovitz photograph with her great-grandchildren to mark her 90th birthday.
During her first pregnancy Zara, 16th in line to the throne, continued to ride into her second trimester. While she announced that she had temporarily quit show-jumping to have her daughter, she then surprised spectators by appearing at the Gatcombe trials.
The London Olympics in 2012 brought Zara back into the sporting fold, she garnered a silver medal in front of a home crowd, but didn’t compete in the Rio games earlier this year.
Mia has since grown into a spirited toddler. She’s often proved a photographer’s dream in recent months as she’s regularly seen supporting her mother at equestrian events, often while slurping on an ice-cream or sticking her tongue out.
She’s clearly very close to her father, the Otley-born ex-international who now dabbles in radio and television work, as he’s regularly seen carrying her on his shoulders or swinging her around.
For Mike and Zara, it’s another chapter in a love affair that began 13 years ago, during the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
Prince Harry famously played matchmaker for the pair in the popular Manly Wharf bar.
Tindall was drowning his sorrows, trying to ease the pain of being dropped from the England squad before the semi finals. The relationship quickly developed and they married eight years later.
Since then, they have managed to keep a respectful distance from Zara’s royal lineage and operate much like any other 21st century couple.
Their marriage, in July 2011, saw them tie the knot in Edinburgh in a 45-minute ceremony at Canongate Kirk followed by a lavish reception at Holyrood House.
Daily Mail columnist Richard Kay suggested that their daughter Mia is a perfect mix of her sporty parents, saying: ‘What Mia does have is a glorious mixture of family characteristics.
‘There’s the ball-throwing and scrummaging sporty side from her father Mike Tindall, the Rugby World Cup-winning England star, who married the Princess Royal’s daughter in Scotland in 20ll.
‘There’s the cheeky side of Zara – remember that notorious Ann Summers’s party the young and joyously outrageous Zara (she wore the Royal Family’s first and only tongue stud) gave at which sex toys were sold, while drinks were served by a waiter in a leather thong?’