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Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips and husband expecting baby

Britain's Zara Phillips (L) and her husband Mike Tindall walk to St. Mary's church to attend the annual Christmas service on the Royal Estat
Britain's Zara Phillips (L) and her husband Mike Tindall walk to St. Mary's church to attend the annual Christmas service on the Royal Estat

LONDON (Reuters) - The Queen's granddaughter, Zara Phillips and her husband, rugby player, Mike Tindall are expecting their first baby in the New Year, Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Monday.

Phillips' mother, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, her father Captain Mark Phillips and other family members are delighted at the news, the statement added.

The pair are known in Britain for their sporting success with Phillips, 32, the 13th in line to the throne, winning an equestrian silver at the London Olympic Games in 2012 and her 34-year-old husband famous for formerly captaining the England rugby union team.

They met in Australia during England's Rugby World Cup campaign in 2003 and married eight years later in Edinburgh at a ceremony attended by the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and other members of the royal family.

Just six weeks after the 2011 marriage, CCTV footage showed Tindall hugging and kissing another woman at a bar in New Zealand, where his team was competing at the World Cup. He later apologized over the incident and said the woman was "just an old friend".

The baby will be the Princess Royal's third grandchild. The only daughter and second child of Queen Elizabeth, Anne married Mark Phillips in 1973 but the couple divorced in 1992 after having two children, Zara and Peter.

Britain is currently awaiting a more imminent royal birth with Prince William's wife Kate Middleton expected to give birth this month to a baby who will become third in line to the throne.

(Reporting By Costas Pitas; editing by Paul Casciato)

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