Mike Tindall's mystery blonde an 'old flame'

Last updated 14:45 03/10/2011
Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips
Reuters Zoom
Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips leave the church after their wedding.

Tindall's night out: video claim

Queen Elizabeth's grand-daughter Zara Phillips (black cap)  with her friends at the England-Romania Rugby World Cup match in Dunedin.
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Queen Elizabeth's grand-daughter Zara Phillips (black cap) with her friends at the England-Romania Rugby World Cup match in Dunedin.
Mike Tindall and a friend
REVEALED: The mystery blonde who spent a drunken night with English rugby player Mike Tindall has been revealed as Jessica Palmer.

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The mystery blonde who spent a drunken night with English rugby star Mike Tindall is reportedly an "old flame".

New footage released to British tabloid Daily Mail, which provides a clearer picture of the girl, has prompted "friends" of Tindall and new wife Zara Phillips to come forward with her identity.

The reports come as Tindall admitted more details about his night out with the woman in Queenstown.

Tindall, 32, has until now maintained he went back to his hotel alone after security camera footage caught him cavorting with a young woman in Queenstown's Altitude bar during the early hours of September 12.

But the Mail forced Tindall to admit that he and the blonde went to a second bar, Cowboys, for more than an hour.

While Cowboys has refused to release CCTV footage to Fairfax, journalists at the Daily Mail have viewed the footage.

The paper said while there the pair "behaved like a smooching teenage couple in full view of other members of the England party".

The Mail reported the footage could create "severe matrimonial friction''. The Mail said it showed the blonde talking to other England party members as well as landing kisses on Tindall.

It also reportedly provided a much clearer image of the girl, prompting a number of people to tell The Mail she was an ex-girlfriend of Tindall's from Leeds.

One friend said: "She and Mike knew each other before she started Leeds University because their families were friends.

"During her second year they became more than just friends. They weren't officially a couple but everyone knew they were together and they didn't hide it.

"They were quite tactile on nights out. He would stay over at her student house in Headingley quite often - about once a month. He would come on nights out with us to Creation nightclub and pubs in Headingley, although he wasn't a student."

The friend said it was not 'a big deal' at the time because Tindall wasn't a celebrity like he is now.

"She was very fond of him but she was only young and I don't think she wanted anything serious. He seemed a bit more keen on her if anything."

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Cowboys owner Leo Molloy confirmed to the British paper that Tindall and the blonde had been captured on the bar's security cameras but he would not release footage.

"Our position is that if it's not a crime, then we won't release the footage,'' he told The Mail.

Before the footage was released, Tindall had denied the claims of a second bar visit so insistently that a partner from the Queen's law firm Farrer and Co, acting for the Rugby Football Union, called The Mail to say he had gone back to the hotel alone.

However, yesterday Tindall's PR company Juniper Sport issued statement.

"Mike Tindall gave his PR consultants and the Rugby Football Union his assurance that he had not attended the Cowboys bar, having left the Altitude bar.

"In good faith, his PR consultants, the RFU and the RFU's solicitors relied upon that assurance when dealing with last week's story.

"However, Mike now accepts that this recollection was incorrect and he apologises unreservedly for this misjudgment,'' the statement said.

Zara, 30, jetted in to visit Tindall shortly after the story broke and they were seen in conciliatory mood after England's win over Romania.

She has since departed but was expected to return to support her husband later in the tournament.

There are likely to be some probing questions from Zara when she returns given the detail contained in the video from Cowboys.

Until now, she has brushed off her husband's behaviour, saying the woman was an old friend.

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