The silver medal-winning Olympian gave birth to her first child, as yet unnamed, with her husband, the former England rugby star, Mike Tindall, at her side.
Tindall described yesterday as “definitely the best day” of his life, reporting on Twitter that “the girls are both doing great.”
The latest addition to the royal family, who weighed 7lb and 12oz, becomes 16th in line to the throne and is the Queen’s fourth great grandchild.
After the birth in the early hours of the morning at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, the couple and their child left for their home on the Princess Royal’s Gatcombe Park estate.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, Captain Mark Phillips and Mike’s parents, Mr Phillip and Mrs Linda Tindall, have been informed and are delighted with the news.”
It added: “The baby’s name will be confirmed in due course.”
The new parents met at a Sydney bar while Tindall was playing at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
They were married in July 2011 at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh in a ceremony attended by the Queen and senior royals.
Zara, one of Britain’s leading equestrian riders, enjoyed a relatively low-profile pregnancy, at least in comparison to the media frenzy surrounding the birth of Prince George of Cambridge last summer.
Her pregnancy was confirmed by the palace last July, just a few weeks before the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby son.
She took a tumble while competing at the Barbury International Eventing and Show in Marlborough, Wiltshire, a few days before her pregnancy became public knowledge.
However, she was described as “fine” by a spokeswoman for Juniper Sport, a PR and sports agency that represents her.
In the days leading up to the birth of their baby daughter, Zara – who is a horse trainer – was watching three of her entrants run in the Heythrop Hunt Point-to-Point races in Aldsworth, Gloucestershire, on 12 January.
She won a silver medal at London 2012 with eventing equestrian team-mates William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Tina Cook and Nicola Wilson, and is planning to take part in the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.
Her Olympic team-mates were among those to send messages of congratulations following the birth.
Cook said: “I’m absolutely thrilled for her, speaking as someone who’s got two children myself. It’s very exciting that she can now join the mummy ranks.”
Prime Minister David Cameron also sent a message to the happy couple in a tweet – using the hashtag #royalbaby – to say: “Many congratulations to Zara and Mike Tindall on the birth of their baby girl.”
The baby girl follows Zara’s brother Peter Phillips’ two children and Prince George to become the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s fourth great grandchild. Mr Phillips’ daughters, Savannah and Isla, were also born at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in Gloucester.
‘Well-balanced and laid-back’ commoner is 16th in line to throne
ZARA Phillips and Mike Tindall’s baby is the Queen’s fourth great-grandchild, but will not bear a royal title.
England rugby star Tindall has no title and Zara, born down the female line, is not entitled to be HRH. Her father, Captain Mark Phillips, was believed to have been offered an earldom by the Queen when he married Princess Anne but chose not to take it.
The latest addition to the royal family will be known as plain Miss Tindall and the new parents are hoping their laid-back approach to life will rub off on their first born daughter.
Prior to the birth, they were interviewed by Australian Women’s Weekly, with Tindall saying: “I think we’re both quite well-balanced and laid-back as a couple, so hopefully he or she will pick up on that.”
Sixteenth in line to the throne, her arrival means that the Queen’s nephew, Viscount Linley, shifts down one place in the line of succession to 17th place.
News that Zara, the Queen’s eldest granddaughter, was pregnant was announced by Buckingham Palace in July as the nation awaited the arrival of George, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby.
Name will carry great weight
New parents Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall may choose a name for their daughter in honour of a past queen.
Among the favourites with bookmakers are:
CHARLOTTE: Queen Charlotte, born in 1744, was married to George III. Charlotte was her second name; her first was Sophie. A keen botanist, she founded Kew Gardens, had 15 children and was a patron of the arts. Some historians have argued that she was of African descent. Her daughter, born in 1766, was also called Charlotte and was later known as the Princess Royal. George IV named his only child Charlotte, but she died in childbirth at the age of 21.
ELIZABETH: The Queen is held in great respect by her family. Zara’s great-grandmother, the Queen Mother, was Elizabeth. Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, ruled from 1558 until 1603.
VICTORIA: Her reign lasted a record 63 years after accession in 1837. She became the figurehead of a vast empire and her reign spanned the 19th century.
ANNE: Queen Anne was the last of the Stuart monarchs who became queen, aged 37, in 1702 and reigned until her death in 1714. Married to Prince George of Denmark, she gave birth to more than a dozen children but none survived her. Anne suffered from poor health and her weight ballooned towards the end of her life.