AS a Yorkshireman born and bred, some might expect Mike Tindall to be slightly reluctant to give public voice to his emotions.
Yesterday, however, there was no holding him back as he told of his joy following the birth of his baby daughter with royal wife Zara Phillips.
Tindall took to Twitter to say: “Thanks so much for all your kind messages. Definitely the best day of my life today, so happy! The girls are both doing great!”
A few minutes later, the Otley-born ex-rugby union international praised the treatment Zara had received at hospital, tweeting: “Big thanks to all involved at Gloucester Royal, they were fantastic!”
The couple had earlier left the hospital with their baby, who weighed 7lbs 12oz. She is 16th in line to the throne and the Queen’s fourth great-grandchild.
The new family of three are believed to have headed to their Gloucestershire home on the Gatcombe Park estate of the Princess Royal, Zara’s mother.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, Captain Mark Phillips and Mike’s parents, Mr Phillip and Mrs Linda Tindall, have been informed and are delighted with the news.
“The baby’s name will be confirmed in due course.”
Prime Minister David Cameron sent a message to the happy couple via a tweet – using the hashtag #royalbaby – saying: “Many congratulations to Zara and Mike Tindall on the birth of their baby girl.” Congratulations also came from Tina Cook, who won an equestrian eventing team silver medal with Zara at the London Olympics.
She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled for her, speaking as someone who’s got two children myself. It’s very exciting that she can now join the mummy ranks.
“I’m so thrilled for them that they’ve got such a lovely baby. I’ve spoken to her already and she and the baby are doing good.”
Mary King, another member of the eventing team, said: “It’s brilliant, a future Olympian no doubt in years to come.”
The new arrival will not bear a royal title and will be known as plain Miss Tindall.
Tindall has no title himself and Zara, born down the female line, is not entitled to be an HRH.
The birth means that the Queen’s nephew, Viscount Linley, shifts one place down the line of succession to 17th.
Life appeared to be carrying on as normal for the Princess Royal yesterday, despite her family’s high-profile baby news.
Anne, who was wearing a long coat, hat and dark glasses, drove up to a gatehouse near the entrance to Gatcombe Park and collected several dogs before putting them into her 4x4 and driving back down the lane away from the main road. Tindall, a former pupil at Wakefield’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, met Zara in a bar during his victorious Rugby World Cup campaign with the England team in Australia in 2003.
They married in July 2011 in a ceremony staged in Edinburgh and attended by the Queen and senior royals.
Zara’s pregnancy was confirmed by the Palace last July, just a few weeks before the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby son Prince George. At the time, Tindall again took to Twitter to express his delight, joking that he hoped their child would not inherit his nose, which has been broken eight times during his rugby playing career.
Zara had a tumble while riding at the Barbury International Eventing and Show in Marlborough, Wiltshire, the week before the announcement but was not hurt.
She has in the past said she plans to get back in the saddle and return to eventing following her baby’s birth.
Zara has also set her sights on the Rio Olympics in 2016, having previously declared: “I would definitely love to go to another Olympics.”
Tindall’s mother, Linda, is a social worker, while father Phil is a retired bank official who played rugby for Otley for 10 years until a knee injury ended his career in 1973.