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Who is Dolly Maude? Zara Tindall's best friend who helped with home birth

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Zara’s royal baby boy Lucas born at home on the bathroom floor

Zara and Mike Tindall have confirmed the arrival of their third child - a son called Lucas Philip Tindall.

Dad-of-three Tindall shared the details of his son's somewhat surprise arrival on his podcast, revealing Lucas was born on their bathroom floor because they would not have made it to the hospital in time.

The person who realised they were not going to have time to get to the hospital was Zara's best friend of several years, Dolly Maude.

Tindall credited Maude's quick thinking on 21 March which led to a safe delivery at home.

(left to right) Zara Tindall, Timothy Laurence, Princess Royal, Natalie Pinkham and Dolly Maude during day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
(left to right) Zara Tindall, Timothy Laurence, Princess Royal, Natalie Pinkham and Dolly Maude at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. (Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Dolly Maude and Zara Tindall attend day 1 'Champion Day' of the Cheltenham Festival 2020 at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 10, 2020 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Dolly Maude and Zara Tindall at day one of Cheltenham Festival 2020 in March 2020. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Tindall said on The Good, The Bad and The Rugby: "Zara's friend's Dolly, she is more important than I am, she's been at every one of my children's births. She was there and recognised that we wouldn't have got to hospital in time.

"So it was run into the gym, get a mat, get into the bathroom, get the mat on the floor, get towels, brace, brace, brace."

Maude and Zara have been friends for many years, and she was Zara's maid of honour at her 2011 wedding to the former rugby player.

Maude's son Ted, then six, was a page boy. Zara is Ted's godmother.

She was at hand days after the couple's wedding too, as reported in The Daily Telegraph during an interview between Bryony Gordon and Zara, showing how inseparable the two women are.

Dolly Maude (left), The Princess Royal and Zara Tindall watch the race action during Ladies Day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dolly Maude (left), laughs with Princess Anne and Zara Tindall during Ladies Day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. (Andrew Matthews/PA Images)
CHELTENHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 12: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Zara Tindall and Dolly Maude attend day 1 'Champion Day' of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 12, 2019 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Princess Anne, Zara Tindall and Dolly Maude at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2019. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

They briefly lived together in 2003 according to the Daily Mail, when Maude offered Zara a place to stay when her relationship with Richard Johnson was coming to an end.

Maude is a horse trainer, and the two women are regularly seen together at horse racing events like Cheltenham, and Royal Ascot.

She's also been spotted at the lower key Gatcombe events, which Princess Anne used to host on the family estate.

Maude is not very active on social media, but did celebrate being named a superhost on Airbnb in 2018.

According to the holiday rental site, she is the host of a tiny garden refuge - a small home which can fit three people.

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CHELTENHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 16: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Dolly Maude and Mike Tindall attend day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 16, 2017 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Dolly Maude and Mike Tindall are also close now - here together in March 2017. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Maid of Honour Dolly Maude arriving for the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall.   (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
Maid of Honour Dolly Maude arriving for the wedding of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall in 2011. (Owen Humphreys/PA Images)

Maude has described the cabin, which has one double bed and a mezzanine for two children or one adult, as having "the feel of a true hideaway". 

"With the light of the pond outside reflecting on the ceiling, you could be anywhere," she wrote.

Describing herself, Maude wrote: "Country family with a twist. I love to travel to remote places and challenge my boundaries.

"We love animals and the country way of life but a city break never goes unloved. I have a fairly hands off approach to my hosting unless the guests need me in which case we are always to hand across the garden somewhere."

Maude's tiny home has won her rave reviews with guests.

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ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 16: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Zara Phillips and Dolly Maude watch the racing as they attend day 1 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 16, 2015 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Zara Phillips and Dolly Maude appeared to colour coordinate their outfits on day one of Royal Ascot in June 2015. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 14: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Zara Phillips and Dolly Maude watch the racing as they attend Day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Zara Phillips and Dolly Maude are often inseparable at horse racing events - here in 2014 in Cheltenham. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Back in 2008, Maude spoke to Horse and Hound about Zara, as the royal was set to saddle her first runner as a trainer.

Maude said: "Zara does absolutely everything with him. She rides him out every day and schools him — the whole lot is all down to her. She’s done a fantastic job because he is quirky but she’s made him really, really happy."

As pictures show, this is a friendship that has stood the test of time, and Maude is a comfortable part of the family - even getting along well with Princess Anne.

Having been at the births of all three of her children, Maude is definitely Zara's friend for life.