Zara Phillips' proposal on the couch watching TV

MIKE TINDALL AND ZARA PHILLIPS:  'Saturday night, on the sofa with the dogs watching X-Men, that's what our life is like. Rock 'n' roll, baby.'
MIKE TINDALL AND ZARA PHILLIPS: 'Saturday night, on the sofa with the dogs watching X-Men, that's what our life is like. Rock 'n' roll, baby.'

Her cousin Prince William's romance and wedding represented one of the world's most closely observed events this year, but Zara Phillips's engagement has been a much more relaxed affair.

Details have emerged of how tough-boy Mike Tindall, the England rugby captain popped the question to the Queen's eldest granddaughter, Zara, 30, a professional horse event rider, and it was not a royal occasion.

''I had been thinking about it for ages,'' Tindall, 32, known by his teammates as Fridge, told The Mail on Sunday.

''Then my brother got engaged and so did a certain Duke of Cambridge, so I thought I'd better get on with it. I was upstairs plucking up the nerve to do it, while Zara was downstairs watching television. It was all about shock value. I wanted to catch her when it was quiet and she wasn't expecting anything. I walked in there and got down on one knee with the ring.

''She was on the sofa, so that made it easier. I said, 'Will you marry me?'. She started laughing but she said yes. That was a relief. Saturday night, on the sofa with the dogs watching X-Men, that's what our life is like. Rock'n'roll, baby.''

The couple will marry at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh on July 30 in a service expected to be attended by the Queen, William and his wife Catherine.

After the April 29 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Zara's nuptials are expected to be quite low-key, much the same as the life she shares with Tindall.

''Our life isn't as grand as people think,'' he said. ''We both work hard at what we do.'' Tindall returns to training the day after his wedding, in preparation for the World Cup.

Sydney Morning Herald