Sometimes you stumble upon some royal gems on YouTube, like I did a few years back when I found video of Zara Tindall’s (née Phillips) christening. It took place at Windsor Castle in July 1981, just two days before her uncle, Prince Charles, married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
If Charles was nervous about his impending nuptials (or dreading them, as the public is now aware), you wouldn’t know it. The doting uncle kissed his niece’s head as the Queen held her proudly before parents, godparents (Prince Andrew, the Countess of Lichfield; Helen, Lady Stewart, Andrew Parker Bowles and Hugh Thomas) and grandparents sat for official photos.
It’s fun to see Her Majesty act like any other grandmother (which, she is. But still. It’s the Queen, so it’s strange to see her cooing over an infant when she’s usually wearing her poker face).
Anyhoo, there’s the monarch, soothing a fussy Zara, who was just two months old at the time. Let’s not forget to mention Zara’s older brother Peter, who was only 3 at the time and looking adorable in his red shorts.
Zara wore the Honiton lace christening gown passed down through Queen Victoria’s children. Lady Louise Windsor was the last to wear the original before a replica was made by the Queen’s Senior Dresser, Angela Kelly, for future royal generations.
The clip is from a Thames Television documentary titled, “Princess Anne, Her Working Life,” which first aired later that year.
Like Her Majesty, Zara is very into horses; she’s a professional rider and won silver at the 2012 London Olympics. Since Zara grew up without a title and out of the glare of the spotlight, she’s been able to enjoy a lighter relationship with the Queen, whom, royal biographer Ingrid Seward has said, wasn’t afraid to discipline her grandkids.
“She’s at her most relaxed around them [Zara and her husband, Mike Tindall]; as a child she used to give Zara a smack around the legs when she was naughty, which was frequently,” Seward said, according to the Daily Mirror. “The Queen gets on well [with Prince William and Kate], but don’t have the same kind of easy-going giggly time with her as Zara and Mike do.”
Fun fact: Prince Charles actually named Zara. “The baby made a rather sudden and positive arrival,” Anne said, according to Hello! “And my brother thought Zara was an appropriate name.” Zara is an Arab name that means “Bright as dawn.”