Six months ago the nation's attention was focused on the doors of a London hospital as we waited for our first glimpse of Prince George. On Friday Queen Elizabeth welcomed the arrival of another great-grandchild, though there was rather less fanfare as Zara Phillips, who is married to Mike Tindall, gave birth to a 7lb 12oz girl.
By the time Buckingham Palace announced the birth of the new 16th in line to the throne, Tindall was on her way home. She had entered and left an NHS maternity ward away from the public gaze.
Tindall, 32, had a "straightforward" delivery early yesterday, about 12 hours after being admitted to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Her husband, a former England rugby player, was present at the birth of the couple's first child. Like her mother, the youngster will have no royal title.
Tindall took to Twitter to say: "Definitely the best day of my life today, so happy! The girls are both doing great!" The baby's name has not been announced, though bookies made Elizabeth, Emma and Anne early favourites. The fact that the couple returned to their home on Princess Anne's, the Princess Royal's, Gatcombe Park estate within hours of the birth meant that no media or official pictures were taken of the baby. That led to speculation that the couple could consider selling rights to pictures of their daughter to a celebrity magazine. In 2011 the couple turned down a 1 million pounds offer from Hello! for exclusive photographs of their wedding.
However, in 2002 Tindall was paid 125,000 pounds by Hello! for an interview and pictures in the home she shared with Richard Johnson, the jockey who was then her boyfriend. A spokesman for Mrs Tindall said the couple had not discussed selling the rights to pictures of the baby. Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, Captain Mark Phillips and Mike's parents, Phillip and Linda Tindall, are delighted with the news."
A spokesperson for Gloucestershire Royal Hospital said Mrs Tindall would have used one of the birthing suites on the NHS maternity ward, where her nieces Savannah and Isla were born. The hospital does not have any private medical facilities and other mothers who were in the maternity ward at the same time said they had been unaware they were in royal company.
Vicky Love, 34, who left the ward yesterday afternoon after giving birth to a son on Wednesday, said: "We didn't see or hear anything. It seems as though she was treated the same as the rest of us." David Cameron used Twitter to send a message to the couple, saying: "Many congratulations to Zara and Mike Tindall on the birth of their baby girl."
When the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth last year, she chose the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, and had a similarly short labour, giving birth on the same day she was admitted. ---- Prince leaves helicopter cockpit to fly a desk Prince Harry revealed yesterday that he is swapping the cockpit of an Apache attack helicopter for a desk.
The 29-year-old has ended his attachment to the Army Air Corps and will take up a staff officer role helping to organise ceremonial events, such as Trooping the Colour and First World War commemorations.
The Prince also hopes his role will help him bring the Warrior Games, a Paralympics-style contest for injured service personnel, to London for the first time. He visited the event in the United States last year and has made no secret of his desire to bring the event to the city.