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Zara Phillips with Mike Tindall at Southern Cross Hotel, Dunedin, New Zealand on Friday. (SNPA / Richard Hood)

The Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips, has joined her husband, Mike Tindall in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The couple faced an intense media swarm during a very public breakfast.

It’s the first time that the two of them have been together since the emergence of stories – and videotape – of Tindall’s encounter with a still unidentified woman in a Queenstown bar last week.

The New Zealand Press’s Stuff website wrote that there were “no signs of tension over the England rugby player’s boozy antics” but neither of the newlyweds – the couple were married seven weeks ago – had anything to say about the tabloid scandal.

Phillips had successfully eluded the media in her trip through New Zealand to Dunedin, even avoiding a large phalanx of reporters at the Dunedin airport.

Meanwhile, at a press conference, Tindall was pelted with questions about the incident. Tindall said he was eager to play rugby and that he hoped the media distraction has not affected his game. But when pressed for more details, or any words of contrition, team manager Martin Johnson stepped in and cut off questions and answers.

Phillips is expected to stay in Dunedin and to attend her husband’s matches.

Here’s a video report, courtesy of The Telegraph:

In other royal-related news:

• People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is asking the royal family to stop bird hunting. Fox News says it has obtained a letter that the animal rights group sent to the Duchess of Cambridge asking her to intercede to put an end to the centuries-old royal sport.

“We understand that Prince William has given a gift of ‘game birds’ to Prince Harry for his birthday,” PETA president Ingrid Newkirk wrote to the Duchess. “There is no honour in buying birds and reducing them, as if they were clay pigeons, to shooting targets.”

Newkirk wrote: “May I ask you to use your influence on the Princes and ask them to reconsider this gift? You are in a unique position to be able to wield considerable influence over whether people everywhere view animals and their place in our world with kindness or blithely ignore their suffering.”

Representatives of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were unavailable for comment, Fox said.

• Meanwhile, royal officials are trying to save other birds, by making plans for the emergency inoculations of swans. So far this year, viruses are known to have caused the deaths of 180 birds, the most severe disease outbreak in many years. The Queen officially owns all swans in Britain’s open waters, and The Telegraph reports that she is being regularly briefed.

• And in other animal ailment-related royal news, a mystery disease that can be fatal to dogs has hit Sandringham, the Queen’s estate in Norfolk. Within hours of being walked on the grounds, at least eleven dogs in the last several weeks have come down with the sickness, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea and listlessness. Last autumn, 37 dogs were diagnosed with the “Seasonal Canine Illness” – and six of them died. The cause of the disease is not known, and the Queen, a well-known dog lover, was reported to be so upset that she personally asked the Animal Health Trust charity to look into the situation. The Telegraph reports that the Queen’s dogs are not believed to have been affected.

Portrait of the Queen by artist Darren Baker. (John Stillwell/PA Wire)

• Princess Anne was on hand to unveil a new hyper-realistic portrait of the Queen at a service commemorating the 90th anniversary of the British Royal Legion. The artist, Darren Baker, created a painting that some say looks more like a photograph. In it, the Queen’s wristwatch can be seen to be at 11 o’clock, a reference to Remembrance, or Amistice, Day – the armistice ending World War I was signed on November 11, 1918, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The day of memorial for the war dead is also sometimes called “Poppy Day” – and the Queen is seen wearing five red poppies as well. (via BBC News)

• While Darren Baker tries to make his paintings look like photographs, the Associated Press’s Matt Dunham takes actual photographs, and he’s just been named royal photographer of the year by the Picture Editors Guild. He was also given the award for photographer of the year.

Camilla and Charles react as their car is attacked in London in December of last year. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Among Dunham’s more famous recent photos is the one to your right: an image of Prince Charles and Camilla in their car while it was being besieged by protestors last December. (via



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By Paul Hechinger