Britain's Queen Elizabeth is a "normal" grandmother.

Zara Phillips - who is the daughter of Princess Anne - insists the 82-year-old monarch is down-to-earth and loves spending time with her family.

There's much more attention on them now than when I was a child. But we were normal, in that we spent time with our family like anyone else, Christmases and holidays together.

She said: "My grandmother's title was never an issue. She was my grandmother and we knew what her job was. We have a massive amount of respect for her, but to me, she's my grandmother."

Zara is glad her parents decided not to give her or her brother Peter royal titles because it gives them more freedom.

She told Britain's Grazia magazine: "I'm not even a little bit disappointed I'm not Princess Zara. I probably have a different perspective on it than you do. I see what work they do and what it involves to have a title.

"There's much more attention on them now than when I was a child. But we were normal, in that we spent time with our family like anyone else, Christmases and holidays together."

The 27-year-old royal - who is an Olympic level equestrienne - also spoke about her relationship with English rugby player Mike Tindall.

As professional sportspeople, they are often away from home for long periods of time, something the blonde beauty finds heartbreaking.

She added: "That can be really hard. I'm not one of those people who think absence makes the heart grow fonder. If I love some, I want to be with them."

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