How Zara Tindall became Prince Harry’s closest royal ally

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Prince Harry last night left his grandmother’s vigil alongside his cousin Zara Tindall, with whom he enjoys a particularly close relationship.

The Duke of Sussex, 38, and Zara Tindall, 41, were photographed sitting side-by-side in the back of a car following the 15-minute vigil at Westminster Hall. Prince William, 40, shared a car with Zara’s brother Peter Phillips, 44.

The decision for William and Harry not to share a car together perhaps reflects a tension that remains between the brothers, despite the joint public appearances and moves towards reconciliation. 

The Duke of Sussex, 38, and Zara Tindall, 41, were photographed sitting side-by-side in the back of a car following the 15-minute vigil at Westminster Hall. Prince William, 40, shared a car with Peter Phillips, 44

Prince Harry and Mike Tindall pose for a photograph with Mike and Zara Tindall at the Invictus Games in 2014. He introduced the pair in 2003

Prince Harry and Mike Tindall pose for a photograph with Mike and Zara Tindall at the Invictus Games in 2014. He introduced the pair in 2003

But it also is a testament to the close relationship Harry has with his cousin Zara. 

Prince Harry and Meghan are also close to Zara, Princess Anne’s daughter, and her husband Mike – although they are not believed to have visited the couple in their new home in LA. The Duke is even godfather to the couple’s youngest daughter, Lena.

Harry, along with his brother William, were were raised in Gloucestershire, just a few miles from where Zara and her brother Peter Phillips grew up.

The four royal cousins were often spotted chatting and joking at royal events, with William previously revealing how it was ‘hard to keep a straight face’ when sitting opposite his cousins in church.

The bond between cousins is particularly close for members of the Royal Family, who might struggle to let outsiders into their inner circle.

Prince Harry and Meghan are also close to Zara, Princess Anne's daughter, and her husband Mike - although they are not believed to have visited the couple in their new home in LA. The Duke is even godfather to the couple's youngest daughter, Lena

Prince Harry and Meghan are also close to Zara, Princess Anne’s daughter, and her husband Mike – although they are not believed to have visited the couple in their new home in LA. The Duke is even godfather to the couple’s youngest daughter, Lena

Both Peter and Zara have been described as 'peacemakers' between William and Harry in the past, with the new Prince of Wales asking his cousin to strand between the pair during Prince Philip's funeral procession in April

Both Peter and Zara have been described as ‘peacemakers’ between William and Harry in the past, with the new Prince of Wales asking his cousin to strand between the pair during Prince Philip’s funeral procession in April

Prince Harry and Zara arrive at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate for Christmas 2004

Prince Harry and Zara arrive at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate for Christmas 2004

Such is the closeness between the cousins that they are all part of a WhatsApp group where they exchange messages on upcoming events and family news.

‘Me, my brother and then a few of Zara’s side like her brother Pete [Phillips] and the cousins are on WhatsApp groups,’ Mike once revealed. ‘I wouldn’t say we’re cutting edge, but it’s just easier for some reason on WhatsApp.’

He added on a separate occasion: ‘It’s just what you do to try and set up get-togethers and we are going to something that is the same.

‘If you are going to go, [we discuss things like] “Are you going to take the kids?” Quite a lot of people have family WhatsApp groups.’

Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Princess Eugenie of York, Princess Beatrice of York, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Lady Louise Windsor, James, Viscount Severn arrive to hold a vigil in honour of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Hall on September 17

Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Princess Eugenie of York, Princess Beatrice of York, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Lady Louise Windsor, James, Viscount Severn arrive to hold a vigil in honour of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Hall on September 17

Both Peter and Zara have been described as ‘peacemakers’ between William and Harry in the past, with the new Prince of Wales asking his cousin to strand between the pair during Prince Philip’s funeral procession in April.

Harry is even said to have introduced Zara to her now husband Mike Tindall.  The former England Rugby pro was said to be ‘drowning his sorrows’ at a bar in Sydney after being cut from the world cup squad when his pal Harry introduced the pair.

The Duke of Sussex also has a close relationship with Mike, who is not a working royal but lives on Princess Anne’s Gatecombe estate. 

Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan Markle, 42, put on a very friendly display with the Duke's cousins as they attended the service at St Paul's Cathedral for Queen's jubilee earlier this year

Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan Markle, 42, put on a very friendly display with the Duke’s cousins as they attended the service at St Paul’s Cathedral for Queen’s jubilee earlier this year

After leaving the service, the royal couple put on a friendly display with both Zara Tindall and her brother Peter Philips

Meghan appeared to beam as she stood alongside Zara

And after leaving the Jubilee service, the royal couple put on a friendly display with both Zara Tindall and her brother Peter Philips (left). 

Harry attended Mike’s stag do in 2011, while Mike cheekily offered to be Prince Harry’s best man when he announced his engagement to Meghan Markle.

The former England rugby captain text his cousin-in-law to say: ‘I’ve written my speech, I’m ready’.

To which Harry replied: ‘Sorry mate that job’s full but I do need someone to show people where to park their cars.’

Mike also joked he didn’t receive an invite to Prince Harry’s stag party, joking at the time: ‘It was probably a very wise decision on his behalf that I wouldn’t be there, I think.’ 

Mike and Zara have also stood by Harry and Meghan on their rare return trips to the UK following Megxit.

During the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral to mark the Queen’s Jubilee earlier this year, the pair were pictured giggling away with Zara.

A royal family visit to a museum in Sandringham, where the children climb on a fire engine, January 1988. From left to right Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth, Peter Philips, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Harry, wearing a blue coat, Zara Phillips and Prince William

A royal family visit to a museum in Sandringham, where the children climb on a fire engine, January 1988. From left to right Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth, Peter Philips, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Harry, wearing a blue coat, Zara Phillips and Prince William

It comes amid hopes of reconciliation between the brother’s following the Queen’s death, with the princes standing side by side as they walked behind her coffin as it was moved to lie in state at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday.

It was a poignant moment that drew comparisons to walking behind the coffin of their mother Princess Diana at her funeral in 1997.

That came after William and Harry put on an an unexpected united front with their respective wives Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle during a walkabout outside Windsor Castle on Saturday.

But sources close to the brothers are understood to have said there has been ‘no meaningful rapprochement’ as of yet.

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