Friday, July 15, 2011

'It must remain private': Palace vetoes Zara's £1/2million wedding deal with Hello!

By Rebecca English

Zara Phillips has been forced to turn down a £500,000 wedding deal with a celebrity magazine after Buckingham Palace vetoed the arrangement.

Princess Anne's daughter is to marry England rugby captain Mike Tindall on July 30 in Scotland and was keen to sell the photographic rights to Hello!.

But she has been advised that the ceremony at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh must remain a 'private, family affair', the Mail understands.

Zara, who is 13th in line to the throne but has no royal title and does not take any money from the public purse, is said to be frustrated by the decision.

The 29-year-old world champion eventer, who is hoping to represent England at next year's London Olympics, believes that as a private individual who has to earn her own living she should be entitled to secure a deal if she chooses.

And she has still not ruled out selling a glossy 'at home' feature to the magazine in the run-up to her big day.

Zara has conducted several such interviews with the publication in the past involving both her fiancé and previous long-term boyfriend, jockey Richard Johnson.

But she is also keen not to offend her grandmother whom she adores and enjoys a warm relationship with.

Palace officials are mindful of the debacle following the 2008 wedding of her brother, Peter Phillips, to Canadian Autumn Kelly.

Debacle: Peter Phillips, the Queen's eldest grandson, and Autumn Kelly leave St. George's Chapel in Windsor. Their decision to sell snaps angered the Palace

The Queen was not consulted by her grand-son over his decision to sell the exclusive rights to the Windsor Castle ceremony and reception also to Hello!.

Mr Phillips allowed the magazine's photographers to take pictures of senior members of the royal family – including his grandmother and aunt, the Countess of Wessex, who was embarrassingly shown dancing at a post-wedding disco – plus then royal girlfriends Kate Middleton and Chelsy Davy.

Images of the girls subsequently appeared over more than 20 pages of the 100-page glossy spread, riding a coach and horses through their repeated requests for privacy.

One senior royal confirmed to the Mail that the entire family was kept in the dark until the magazine hit the news-stands – believing the photographer present was taking snaps for the couple's personal album. Many expressed their outrage directly to Peter and his bride.

Although the couple have since been forgiven, palace officials strongly feel the episode 'cheapened' the image of the monarchy and are determined that it never happens again.

Sportswoman: Zara Phillips at the Barbury Horse Trials near Swindon. She hopes to represent Great Britain at the Olympics next year

Royal sources confirmed to the Mail this week that the issue of a magazine deal had been discussed but ruled out.

Instead, a small number of hand-picked photographers will be allowed into the Palace of Holyroodhouse to record the arrival and departure of the bridal party and their immediate families.

This includes fellow newly-weds, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Queen, Prince Harry and the Tindall family.

The ceremony and reception afterwards will be strictly off-limits to commercial photographers.

High profile: Zara Phillips and David Beckham launch Samsung's 2012 Olympic campaign at Canary Wharf on June 13. Much of her income is from sponsorship

'The decision has gone down like a lead balloon with Zara as she feels she should be able to do what she likes with her wedding,' said a source close to the bride-to-be, who lives with her fiancé in Cheltenham.

'She's been offered a deal with Hello! and finds it frustrating to have been advised against it when Peter was allowed.

'She believes that because she is a private individual without a title, who does not “sponge” off the public purse, she should be able to sell the rights to her wedding.

'A lot of her income as a world-class eventer comes from sponsorship and the wedding will be a huge boost to her profile.

'But the palace has put its foot down and said her wedding must be kept private. Zara is disappointed but will respect that decision.

'It may be that the odd picture is released for the benefit of Hello! and the like but nothing approaching the scale of the sell-out her brother was involved in.

'It has been made clear to Zara that if she goes ahead with releasing images to the magazine then they will be heavily edited by the Palace and she will not be able to cash in on the royal name.'


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