The Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips packed up her belongings today to begin the task of moving home – to mum.
Zara and rugby star husband Mike Tindall sold their white stucco marital home earlier this month in order to live on Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Park estate near Minchinhampton, Glos.
The couple’s £1.2 million house in Cheltenham, Glos., had been quietly on the market for “some time” before it was snapped up by Shaun Wills, finance director of clothing company Superdry.
And yesterday the royal pair started loading their possessions, packed in numerous brown boxes, into removal vans to make the 20 mile trip south to their new home.
Items including plastic wrapped chairs, a wide-screen Apple Mac computer, wicker baskets and a mattress were carefully carried out of the house throughout the day and loaded on to the blue lorries.
An eyewitness, who saw Zara briefly return to house to “check everything was in order”, said she looked slightly stressed during the process.
He said: “For most of the day it was just the removal men on their own, but then later in the evening Zara came back to check everything was in order and being dealt with properly.
“She looked quite stressed if I’m honest. She drove in really fast, disappeared into the house and just went again.
“I don’t think she’s been living her recently, I think her and Mike have already moved into the other house and she’s just coming back to check everything is ok. I don’t thinks she’s spent a night here in a long time.
“She had a lot of stuff, must have been at least three or four lorries worth, but then it is a big house so it is to be expected.”
The house, on the estate of the Princess Royal, already stables Zara’s horses and is where she trains both racehorses and her three-day eventers.
Despite buying their Cheltenham home shortly after their wedding, in July 2011, Zara has always kept the home she previously lived in on her mother’s estate.
And moving back home will make the estate even more of a family affair – with Zara’s brother Peter, his wife Autumn and their two daughters, also living there.
The couple bought their detached house, which is on a main road but set back in its own grounds, before their wedding at Canongate Kirk, on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
The move reportedly surprised friends after they opted for a house in a town with no special security arrangements.
But the couple said they liked the house’s proportions and wanted to lead as ordinary a life as possible.
Mike and Zara’s first home was a cottage called The Bothy at Gatcombe, and was given as a gift from the Princess Royal.
Gatcombe Park is situated between the villages of Minchinhampton and Avening, in Glos., and is around six miles north of Highgrove House, the country residence of HRH The Prince of Wales.
The house and farming estate were bought by Queen Elizabeth II in 1976 for her daughter and the husband Captain Mark Phillips.
Now the Princess Royal lives in the large manor house with her second husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, while Mark lives in the adjoining Aston Farm with his second wife.