Rock ‘n’ royalty

On a closed set in West London, cameras and lighting rigs are assembled to the strains of acid jazz and the contented munching of early morning bacon sandwiches. Padding around in a body-warmer, white jodhpurs and thick woolly socks (this is before she had her own clothing line – can you guess who it is yet?), a small blonde girl sips tea from a steaming mug. I’m at a photo shoot with esteemed photographer Mary McCartney, daughter of Sir Paul and sister of designer Stella. But the focus of the shoot isn’t rock royalty, it’s the real thing. “Do you want smiling or serious?” asks the blonde, flashing the whitest teeth I have ever seen. Zara Phillips is sporting immaculate blonde highlights and a glowing complexion only obtained from years of healthy outdoor living. She is sickeningly photogenic and all Mary has to do is point and fire. We get some great shots of Zara in front of the British flag, until someone asks whether the Union Jack is being held the right way up. There is a debate and it’s decided to consult Zara’s older brother, Peter who is loitering by the buffet table eating chips (“shh, don’t tell,” he mumbles through a mouthful of mashed potato: “I’m meant to be on a diet”). He looks at his sister and laughs: “That,” he says, pointing at the flag, “is upside down!” The chunky white stripe on the diagonal cross has to be on the top left-hand side, apparently. This is verified by examining the Union Jack cufflinks that Peter just happens to be wearing (that’s serious patriotism) and the situation is resolved. Peter holds up the flag, just out of shot, while his sister tried to suppress giggles and look sultry…*this is an extract from an interview with Zara Phillips. For more, read Royal Rebel, Zara Phillips*

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