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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ex at the wedding: Toasting Zara and Mike, girl who rocked a royal marriage

By Rebecca English and Ryan Kisiel

Turning heads: Jessica Palmer wore eye-catching orange to her ex's wedding to Zara Phillips

In an eye-catching orange dress and oversized flower fascinator, Jessica Palmer certainly stood out from the crowd at Mike Tindall’s wedding to Zara Phillips.

Just weeks later she was the centre of attention again, but for rather less welcome reasons – after she was seen drunkenly kissing Tindall, her former boyfriend, on a night out.

These exclusive photographs show the 29-year-old at a series of celebrations to mark the England rugby star’s wedding to the Queen’s granddaughter.

In one shot, Miss Palmer wears a slinky black cocktail dress and giggles as she sips champagne on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

She joined the couple’s closest friends and young royals including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for the exclusive drinks reception in Edinburgh at the end of July.

The following day, she teamed her vibrant orange dress with a grey fur wrap, nude heels and a turquoise dress ring as she went to picturesque Canongate Kirk, in the heart of the city, to watch the couple exchange their vows.

She then joined other guests at the Palace of Holyroodhouse for a wild wedding breakfast that carried on into the early hours of the morning.

The Mail this week revealed Miss Palmer as the mystery blonde captured on CCTV at a bar in Queenstown, New Zealand, kissing and cuddling newlywed Tindall.

The incident three weeks ago has overshadowed his team’s rugby world cup campaign and caused acute embarrassment for Zara.

Yesterday it emerged the 30-year-old royal telephoned Miss Palmer after discovering that she and Tindall had dated the year before the newlyweds met.

Miss Palmer, who was brought up in Bath but now lives in Sydney, reassured her that nothing untoward had happened on the night they were caught on CCTV and that they ‘were just mates mucking around’.

Friends have sprung to her defence. Former classmate Vanessa Rooth, 29, who lives in Edinburgh, said: ‘Jess stayed with me so she could attend the wedding. I have spoken to her and she’s upset as this has been blown out of all proportion.

Bubbly: Miss Palmer (left) giggles with a friend as Zara's brother Peter chats with Prince Edward at a pre-wedding reception on the Royal Yacht

‘She’s friends with Zara through Mike; she’s been around their house and helped them celebrate when they got engaged and married.

‘Jess and Mike started off as close friends, had a relationship, but then it petered out and they’ve remained close friends.’

Others took to Twitter, with one describing Miss Palmer as the ‘nicest girl in the world who would never do anything untoward with someone’s husband’.

Sources say Tindall, 32, who met Miss Palmer in 2001 when he was playing for Bath, offered to organise tickets to England’s opening world cup matches when he saw her at his wedding.

Newlyweds: Mike Tindall and the Queen's granddaughter celebrate their wedding In July

Former Eventing World Champion Zara was unable to join her new husband immediately as she was competing in a three-day event in Ireland, so Miss Palmer took her tickets for the team’s first game against Argentina – and flew over to New Zealand especially.

‘Mike asked Jess if she was coming as he knew Zara wouldn’t be able to make the first match and could get tickets,’ the source said.

‘It’s not such a big deal for her as she would only have to travel from Sydney.

‘Jess knew Zara wasn’t going to be there, but they’re all friends and it wasn’t seen as a problem. I doubt, though, they would have got so drunk or been so tactile if she had been there.’

'Just mates mucking around': The pair were seen drunkenly kissing but Palmer reassured Zara that nothing untoward happened

'Blown out of proportion': Palmer is said to be upset at how the incident has come across



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