Captain Mark Phillips ‘inseparable’ from ‘new girlfriend’ thought to be almost same age as daughter


Princess Anne’s ex-husband Captain Mark Phillips has reportedly found new love with a woman thought to be in her 40s as the pair were pictured supporting his daughter Zara at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Thirty years on from his divorce to Princess Anne, Phillips, 73, was said to be ‘inseparable’ from Belgian equestrian Florence Standaert, who is thought to be almost the same age as the former Olympic gold medallist’s daughter, 41-year-old Zara Tindall.

The Queen’s granddaughter was cheered on by both her father, who turns 74 this month, and Standaert, as she competed in the long-awaited return of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

‘She’s his new girlfriend,’ a source at the event in Lincolnshire told the Daily Mail. The pair were reportedly inseparable at the trials on both Thursday and Friday.

The trials, taking place across four days from Thursday to Sunday, have returned after a two-year hiatus, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Captain Mark Phillips, 73, was seen to be 'inseparable' from Belgian equestrian Florence Standaert (pictured together) who is thought to be his 'new girlfriend' as they attended Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on Thursday and Friday

Captain Mark Phillips, 73, was seen to be ‘inseparable’ from Belgian equestrian Florence Standaert (pictured together) who is thought to be his ‘new girlfriend’ as they attended Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on Thursday and Friday

Standaert is thought to be almost the same age as Zara Tindall, 41, who she was watching compete alongside Phillips at the long-awaited return of the trials

Standaert is thought to be almost the same age as Zara Tindall, 41, who she was watching compete alongside Phillips at the long-awaited return of the trials

Standaert’s long-term boyfriend, Thomas Ryckewaert, ran the Waregem horse trials in Belgium until his death in 2019. 

And a year later, Phillips designed a cross country-course at Waregem, run by Standaert.

Phillips divorced Princess Anne, 72, in 1992 after 19 years of marriage. The couple got married at Westminster Abbey on November 14, 1973 as an estimated 500million people watched on.

Four years later, they had their son, Peter Phillips, before Princess Anne gave birth to their youngest child, Zara who would go on to marry former England rugby international, Mike Tindall.  

Princess Anne is alleged to have had an affair with Sergeant Peter Cross, her then police bodyguard and member of the Royal Protection Squad. 

He began guarding 29-year-old Anne in the autumn of 1979 at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire and during royal engagements. At the time, she had been married to Captain Mark Phillips for six years. 

By September 1980, Mark Phillips is said to have become angered by their ‘over-familiarity’. Cross was told he would have to quit by Commander Michael Trestrail, the Queen’s own bodyguard.

But by the time Anne found out, Cross had already packed his bags and left his quarters. She is said to have gone to her room and wept.

Whether or not the Queen was involved with the decision has never been revealed.

Phillips divorced Zara Tindall's mother Princess Anne, 72, in 1992 after 19 years of marriage (pictured on their wedding day)

Phillips divorced Zara Tindall’s mother Princess Anne, 72, in 1992 after 19 years of marriage (pictured on their wedding day)

The Olympic gold medal winner married Princess Anne on November 14, 1973 at Westminster Abbey

The Olympic gold medal winner married Princess Anne on November 14, 1973 at Westminster Abbey 

Princess Anne with her lover, bodyguard Peter Cross (right) and her husband Mark Phillips (left) in 1980

Princess Anne with her lover, bodyguard Peter Cross (right) and her husband Mark Phillips (left) in 1980

Anne’s first marriage finally fell apart after she embarked on an affair with Commander Tim Laurence in the late-1980s. Cross then reared his head again, twisting the knife further by giving his own insights into her failed marriage to Mark Phillips.

Princess Anne married Commander Laurence, now a vice admiral, in December the same year she divorced Phillips. 

Meanwhile, the Olympic gold medal winner married American dressage rider Sandy Pflueger, 67, in 1997, but it was confirmed in 2012 that they had separated. 

Phillips, who has a reputed fortune of up to £20 million, had already become involved with another woman, Lauren Hough, 45, an American showjumper.

Friends speculated in 2015 that he and Hough would soon get engaged, but the announcement never came. 

Zara Tindall closed the opening day of the trials by posting a score of 28.4 on Class Affair (pictured)

Zara Tindall closed the opening day of the trials by posting a score of 28.4 on Class Affair (pictured)

The Queen's daughter finished the day on fourth on what was a day of British domination as Sarah Bullimore landed her first title

 The Queen’s daughter finished the day on fourth on what was a day of British domination as Sarah Bullimore landed her first title

Tindall's father, Captain Mark Phillips, was spotted watching on with his 'new girlfriend' Florence Standaert

 Tindall’s father, Captain Mark Phillips, was spotted watching on with his ‘new girlfriend’ Florence Standaert

Tindall took time to pose with spectators after competing in dressage during the first day of the trials

Tindall took time to pose with spectators after competing in dressage during the first day of the trials

Former world champion and London 2012 British team silver medallist Tindall, closed the opening day by posting a score of 28.4 on Class Affair to move fourth in a day of British domination.

Sarah Bullimore underlined her credentials to land a first Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials title. 

Tindall had looked relaxed as she walked around the cross country course in Stamford, Lincolnshire, before competing.

The daughter of Princess Anne seemed in her element as she strolled the grounds alongside a dog. Reflecting on the day, Tindall said: ‘I am so pleased with that.

‘He has always had the potential, but his brain takes over a bit, and it did a little bit in a couple of the movements, but he came back and he was much calmer than he has ever been in there.

Tindall (pictured) looked calm and collected before the event started as she walked around the cross country course in Stamford, Lincolnshire

Tindall (pictured) looked calm and collected before the event started as she walked around the cross country course in Stamford, Lincolnshire

‘I am delighted to be under [a score of] 30. It [leaderboard] will probably change a bit tomorrow, but at least you are giving yourself a shout, aren’t you.’

A total prize fund of more than £320,000 is the largest in Burghley’s 61-year history, with dressage followed by Saturday’s cross-country phase and the showjumping finale 24 hours later. 

‘Everyone here understands the cost and time it takes to produce a five-star horse,’ Burghley event director Martyn Johnson said.

‘And the increased prize money reflects the board’s commitment to ensure that Land Rover Burghley continues to be at the pinnacle of our sport.’



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