Zara Tindall breaks royal protocol at Blenheim Palace Horse Trials

Gemma Strong

She was dubbed a 'royal rebel' during her teenage years, thanks to her infamous tongue piercing. And while Zara Tindall is now a happily-married mother-of-two, she did break the usual rules while competing at the Blenheim Palace Horse Trials at the weekend. The Queen's granddaughter, 38, was seen signing autographs for some young fans, later posing for a number of photographs as she took part in the four-day competition, which includes dressage, cross country and show jumping. Members of the British royal family usually opt out of signing autographs, for fear their signature could be forged. Prince Charles is among those who have previously politely declined such requests, with the response: "Sorry, they don't allow me to do that." He did, however, make an exception in 2010 when he signed a piece of paper for a victim of devastating floods, writing 'Charles 2010'.

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Similarly, you can probably count on one hand the number of times a royal has stopped to pose for a selfie with a fan. In the spirit of goodwill, Prince William once obliged a schoolgirl by Prince Harry has previously admitted that he "hates selfies". During a visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra in 2016, he turned down the request of a young fan, explaining: "No, I hate selfies. Seriously, you need to get out of it (the habit), I know you're young, selfies are bad. Just take a normal photograph!"

MORE: Rules the royal family have to follow, from bowing and curtseying to taking selfies

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The Queen, meanwhile, has also previously admitted that she finds it "disconcerting" and "strange" when she is faced with a sea of people trying to take selfies with her. The implication is that Her Majesty considers it bad manners for wellwishers to be looking at a screen when she makes public appearances as a guest. She spoke about the matter to US ambassador Matthew Barzun, who later told Tatler: "She was essentially saying: 'I miss eye contact'."

MORE: Why Prince William and Duchess Kate rarely hold hands

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Zara was in high spirits at the horse trials as she competed on her horse Watkins on the last day of the event. Speaking to the Blenheim Trials, she said: "[He's] a good little pony. Even when I'm pulling on his face, he's like, 'Yeah, I'm still going!' He's very quick on the fences and away from his fences. He loves the ground. If we jumped all the right things, I was pretty confident. He's a quick horse and he loves the hills."

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