Scotland tables its approval of Zara's wedding

FORGET toasters or fondue sets. Scotland's wedding present to Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall's nuptials next Saturday will hopefully last much longer.

The couple, who are getting married at Canongate Kirk on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, will be presented with what is described as an occasional hand-carved table specially created by Historic Scotland craftsmen.

Wood for the table comes from an elm felled in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland, and where the couple are expected to hold their reception.

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The announcement of the gift, given by the Scottish Government on behalf of the nation, comes as Edinburgh gears itself up for the country's second Royal Wedding of the year. Phillips, Princess Anne's daughter, was introduced to Tindall, the England rugby captain, by Prince Harry in a Sydney bar during the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

The table, which is still to be finished, is engraved with intertwined thistles to represent the couple's Scottish nuptials. There is also a stag's head with a crucifix between its antlers - the motif of Canongate Kirk. The table is complete with a carving of a heart and lion rampant, which feature on Princess Anne's Royal Standard for Scotland.

A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: "We are creating a small gift of an occasional table for the couple which is being created by one of our craftspeople. The table is being crafted from reclaimed timber from the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and will incorporate symbols including the motif of Canongate Kirk and intertwined thistles to represent their marriage in Scotland. We hope it will provide a fitting reminder of their special day."

The couple announced their engagement in December and amazed Royal watchers and the public alike with the news that they would be married at the unprepossessing Canongate Kirk, where the Queen occasionally worships when in residence at the palace.

The wedding is private, with costs being covered by the families, but it is still causing excitement in the capital as it expects to welcome a host of senior royals for the event.

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