Zara's new jewellery empire and why her royal cousins envy her millions

  • Zara Phillips is launching new jewellery ranges to add to business empire
  • Agent brother Peter helps make millions in endorsement and appearances
  • Income dwarfs England rugby husband Mike Tindall and is always growing
  • Commercial success wouldn't be allowed if she was made Princess Zara 

So now it’s her own range of upmarket jewellery, ready for the shops in time for Christmas, no doubt.

Her clothes range has been a money spinner for some years. Surely it can’t be long before Zara Phillips follows the usual celebrity trail and introduces her own brand of perfumes.

And ‘celebrity’ trail — rather than ‘royal’ — is the mot juste. The fact is, had her mother Princess Anne not been shrewd enough to refuse the Queen’s offer to make baby Zara a princess — it’s a curious anomaly that a prince’s daughter is born a princess, but a princess’s daughter is not — none of this money-making would be possible.

Dresseed for success: Zara Phillips in one of her many endorsement deals. This one is for Land Rover

Dresseed for success: Zara Phillips in one of her many endorsement deals. This one is for Land Rover

‘Princess’ Zara wouldn’t be allowed to be making upwards of £1 million a year and rising with her husband, former England rugby star Mike Tindall. She wouldn’t be sponsoring commercial deals with Land Rover and Rolex, or the outdoor clothing company Musto.

Nor could she have become the first member of the Royal Family to be the ‘face’ of an online computer game. And she certainly wouldn’t be about to bring out the Zara Phillips Collection of jewellery in collaboration with Australian designer John Calleija.

Appropriately enough, the range is split into two lines which trade not only on Zara’s riding career but also brazenly on her royal blood.

There’s the Saddle Suite, with saddle-shaped rings, earrings and pendants, and then there’s the Coronet Suite, which is said to represent the band on top of a horse’s hoof — although mention of a coronet has convenient royal connotations. The Zara Phillips Collection will be hand-finished in platinum or white, yellow or rose gold, and set with diamonds.

Mike Tindall, 36, the Yorkshire lad from the former pit village of Crigglestone near Wakefield, with whom Zara has a baby daughter, Mia, talks proudly of their commercial success.

He has said: ‘They (the royals) don’t give us any money. We look after ourselves . . . we run our own life.

Suite smell of success: The princess's new jewellery ranges, the Saddle Suite
Royal connotations: New range the Coronet Suite

Suite smell of success: The princess's new jewellery ranges, the Saddle Suite, left, and the Coronet Suite, right

Indeed they do. But should ‘looking after themselves’ have included selling the first published pictures of the Queen’s great-granddaughter Mia to Hello! magazine last year for a sum thought to be in excess of £100,000?

It wasn’t the first time Zara had flatly ignored the controversy such a deal was bound to cause.

In 2001, and without the millstone of being Her Royal Highness, there wasn’t much Buckingham Palace could say when she and jump jockey Richard Johnson, who was then her live-in boyfriend, invited Hello! to splash intimate pictures of them in their cosy Cotswold home over many colourful pages.

With typical insouciance, Zara arranged the £125,000 deal without getting Palace approval.

This was the forerunner of an even bigger deal by her older — and equally untitled — brother Peter Phillips. He was paid a stonking £500,000 to give Hello! exclusive rights to pictures of his Windsor Castle wedding to Canadian Autumn Kelly.

Why so much? Because he included endless snaps of royal guests, especially Kate Middleton, who was not yet married to William and — at the time — using legal threats against the Press to protect her privacy. The Queen was known to be upset and Prince Charles was furious when they learned of the deal.

Yet Zara, 34, who has inherited her mother the Princess Royal’s rather imperious independence, has pressed ahead with any number of lucrative deals and is seen by envious fellow royals as being well on the way to being wealthy in her own right.

In particular, Prince Andrew’s daughters, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie — who are Zara’s first cousins — have watched her commercial prominence and rising wealth knowing that, for them, this is forbidden territory.

‘They see Zara as the royal cousin with real privilege, not themselves,’ says a friend of Beatrice. They would probably not think this if they weren’t forced to live hybrid lives as Royal Highnesses who are seldom actually invited to do anything royal.

Perhaps this less-than-satisfactory state of affairs explains the endless holidays Beatrice is always taking.

Royal blood: Zara is seen on the left with her sister Beatrice in a family photo from her childhood at Balmoral

Royal blood: Zara is seen on the left with her sister Beatrice in a family photo from her childhood at Balmoral

For her part, Zara has found the perfect formula: being feted as a royal while not having to live like one.

That is not to say she and Tindall don’t live in royal style. Having sold their five-bedroom townhouse in Cheltenham for £1.27 million, they are refurbishing Aston Farm, a house set in 600 acres on Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucester.

Zara’s father, Anne’s first husband, Mark Phillips, lived there for some years after the couple’s divorce.

Power couple: Zara Phillips and former England rugby international Mike Tindall

Power couple: Zara Phillips and former England rugby international Mike Tindall

After the building work, Aston Farm will have a gun room, gym, cinema and games room. It is held in trust for Zara by two of her mother’s great friends, the Duchess of Cornwall’s ex-husband Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles — the Princess Royal’s former boyfriend — and three-times Formula One champion Sir Jackie Stewart.

He’s a man who knows a lot about using his name lucratively in the commercial world and he has given Zara a great deal of advice.

Oh, lucky girl! Just the other week she even found herself the recipient of a windfall in the will of her aunt Sarah Staples, her father’s only sister.

Mrs Staples, who died childless aged 63 last December, left her £722,000 house and estate jointly to Zara, Peter and their half-sister Stephanie, Mark Phillips’s daughter from his second marriage, to Sandy Pflueger.

The house is held in trust for the trio until her husband Francis, 75, dies. But this is small beer for Zara, whose value has soared in recent years.

One friend insisted: ‘Zara has never set out to trade on being the Queen’s granddaughter.

‘She believes she is in demand by companies because of her sporting success — remember, she has been a world champion and Olympic silver medallist.’ But according to marketing experts, being the Queen’s granddaughter has at least tripled her endorsement rate not only to promote the brands that employ her but because of her unique ‘royal’ value at corporate events.

So who is her agent? Her brother Peter Phillips. Three years ago, he opened the London office of Sports & Entertainment Limited (SEL), an Australia-based sponsorship and management company.

Peter has sponsored a number of deals for his sister, for fees of up to £500,000 a year. Zara could be making even more with one deal that goes back to 2010. It is with Musto clothing and may include a share of the profits.

And she continues to be an ambassador for Land Rover (in one memorable advert she wore a mud-spattered ball gown).

And for more than £100,000 a year, she promotes Rolex’s Lady Datejust watch, of which the cheapest model sells at a mere £6,000.

Sporting prowess: Zara Phillips believes that her success is down to her riding career. She has won an Olympic silver medal and is now setting her sights on Rio 2016

Sporting prowess: Zara Phillips believes that her success is down to her riding career. She has won an Olympic silver medal and is now setting her sights on Rio 2016

She is hardly ever without one on her wrist — there it was for all to see when she carried the Olympic torch at Cheltenham racecourse. Advertisement pictures of her wearing the watch have appeared in Vanity Fair and Vogue.

She is also a brand ambassador for John Deere, the tractor manufacturer, and appears in their advertisements. Both she and Tindall have worked for Samsung and multi-billion investment fund Artemis.

As for that online game, Howrse, call up the website and the dominant image shows the Queen’s smiling granddaughter holding one of her horses by its bridle.

Glamorous: It's believed that company's which ay her for appearances want to be associated with her royal blood and glamorous reputation

Glamorous: It's believed that company's which ay her for appearances want to be associated with her royal blood and glamorous reputation

In the equestrian simulation game, which targets pony-loving youngsters, players can use some of Zara’s own horses and her digital image appears offering advice.

Like so many online games — some relentlessly advertised on TV — the entry level of the game is free, but charges are imposed as players progress to more advanced levels, from a minimum £1.47 to £28.78.

Zara gushed in a publicity blurb: ‘It’s great to be involved in a game that lets children and adults alike interact with horses.’

Meanwhile, the couple’s property portfolio continues to be another useful source of family income. There’s Tindall’s £400,000, three-bedroom flat in a Georgian terrace in Bath, which is let for around £1,500 a month, and his £300,000 flat in Dubai, which is also rented out.

No longer a professional player-coach at Gloucester rugby club, he has been launched into reality television with appearances on a Bear Grylls survival programme and Channel 4’s skiing show The Jump.

But his income is dwarfed by his wife’s. For her part, Princess Anne has watched her daughter’s progress with fascination and pleasure. ‘She’s immensely proud of Zara and what she has achieved,’ says one of her oldest friends.

‘Anne has always loved Zara’s independence — it’s what she intended for her, after all. As for making so much money, well, she works hard and deserves it, doesn’t she?’

So where now for Zara? Her ambitious streak is currently being channelled into winning a place on Team GB’s equestrian squad for next summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

So determined is she to get there that Tindall has said they are delaying having a second child. She wants to turn the silver medal she won with the three-day eventing team in the London Games into Rio gold.

Were she to pull it off, it would complete a remarkable treble — a world champion equestrian, a BBC Sports Personality Of The Year and an Olympic gold medallist. Just imagine how high her brand value would soar.

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now