EDINBURGH, July 30, 2011 (AFP) - The second British royal wedding of the year takes place on Saturday, as Queen Elizabeth II's eldest granddaughter Zara Phillips and England rugby star Mike Tindall tie the knot in Edinburgh.
But the marriage of the two world-beating sports stars has little in common with that of Phillips' cousin Prince William and the former Kate Middleton three months ago, when one million people lined the streets of London to watch.
|AFP - Queen Elizabeth II's eldest granddaughter Zara Phillips (C-R) smiles during her pre-wedding drinks party on board the Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh on July 29, 2011, on the eve of her wedding with Mike Tindall|
All the senior royals, including William and Catherine, are expected to attend Saturday's wedding at Canongate Kirk, but it holds only about 400 guests -- far from the 1,900 who attended the April 29 marriage at Westminster Abbey.
The reception will be held at the nearby Palace of Holyroodhouse, the queen's official residence in Scotland, although the party started early with a drinks reception on Friday night on the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Phillips, 30, is the younger child of the queen's only daughter Princess Anne and 13th in line to the throne, but she does not have a royal title and she and Tindall, 32, have tried to live as normal a life as their careers have allowed.
She is a former eventing world champion, while he played in England's 2003 World Cup-winning team and captained the side in their victorious 2011 Six Nations campaign.
The pair met in 2003 in Sydney, as the England squad celebrated winning the World Cup. Tindall, the jovial, broken-nosed Gloucester captain, claims it was his "pure charm" that won her heart.
During a two-hour party on Friday, he and Phillips, wearing a white one-shoulder dress with a blue print design, mingled with guests on deck of the ship as a live band played and waiters served champagne and canapes.
Catherine, wearing a mid-length green dress, attended with William and her brother-in-law Prince Harry, although there was no sign of the queen, her husband Prince Philip or William's father Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.
Although it has failed to garner the same global interest as April's wedding, the prospect of all the royals in town drew several hundred well-wishers to the 321-year-old Canongate Kirk on Edinburgh's Royal Mile on Saturday.
"I want to see the royals. I think Zara is a really nice girl, not posh. She is just down to earth," said Trish, a 59-year-old Scottish woman, waiting behind a barrier on the short road that leads from the Kirk to the reception venue.
Phillips and Tindall visited the Kirk on Friday for a final run-through of the service.
Both dressed in jeans, they spent about 50 minutes inside with the Reverend Neil Gardner, who will conduct the ceremony, and Tindall's best man Iain Balshaw, his former Bath and England colleague.
They ended with a brief kiss outside the church to the delight of the crowd.
"I think it's really good that they've chosen Edinburgh to get married," said Mary, one of the well-wishers outside the Kirk on Saturday. "And I think it's good that they've chosen something that suits them."