A Royal love child whose birth was one of the biggest scandals in the history of the modern monarchy is now a mother herself - to a little Kiwi baby boy.

Felicity Wade and her husband Tristan Wade welcomed their first child last month, the Daily Mail reported.

The baby boy was born in Auckland.

Wade, former Tonkin, is the daughter of Mark Phillips - also father to Queen Elizabeth's grandchildren Zara Tindall and her brother Peter Phillips.


Wade's mother Heather Tonkins fell pregnant to Mark Phillips after a one-night-stand in 1984.

At the time she was working as an art teacher and he was still married to Princess Anne - the Queen's daughter.

The scandalous affair happened after Phillips met Tonkin at an Auckland riding clinic.

The pair became friends and the affair happened when Phillips returned to New Zealand a year later and invited her to his hotel room.

Infamously, he left his riding boots outside the door to help her find the right room.

When Tonkin discovered she was pregnant a month later she called Phillips to reveal the news and said he told her to have an abortion.

She refused and Phillips paid her a monthly amount through an associate, claiming it to be payments for "equestrian consultancy", the Daily Mail reported today.

Phillips refused to be named on Wade's birth certificate and in 1991 her mother went public with the affair and her daughter's paternity.

"I am doing what I am doing for my child. I hope and pray Mark will do the right thing and make a proper and legally-binding settlement on her," she told media at the time.

It is understood that Wade, known as Bunny when she was a child, has never met her half-siblings.

"We're really delighted with James and glad to have him in our lives," said Tristan Wade this afternoon as he went about tending to horses on his East Auckland rural property.

He declined to make any further comment, waving away questions on how the newborn may help fuse splintered relations with his wife's birth father.

The 'lovechild' born in NZ

Today, Zara, 36, is separated by 12,000 miles and a seemingly insurmountable social gulf from this latest addition to her family, who lives with his mother and British father Tristan in New Zealand.

Yet they are connected by genetics, by appearance and even by a shared love of the equine world.

Felicity, herself a keen rider, is a specialist equine vet, and Tristan is an accomplished polo player, who only two years ago was playing in front of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor.

Felicity, third from left, and Tristan Wade on their wedding day. Photo / Facebook
Felicity, third from left, and Tristan Wade on their wedding day. Photo / Facebook

Back home in New Zealand, the couple share a ten-acre, £1.5 million ($2.6 million) property with a string of horses near Felicity's childhood home, where her mother Heather, now 66, still lives.

Felicity's grandmother - and the newborn's great-granny - was a prominent researcher into Sudden Infant Death Syndrome who made advances to stem the country's skyrocketing cot death rate in New Zealand in the 80s and 90s.

Dr Shirley Lyford Tonkin founded the Cot Death Association and was one of three researchers involved in the development of a foam insert for car seats which helped prevented babies from choking.

She also created the Moe Ora scheme which provides newborn infants with a self-contained sleeping cradle.

She died last year aged 94.

Felicity though has forged a career with a south Auckland veterinary practice where clients speak highly of her skills and dedication but, despite owning a beautiful property, the couple lead a life with few frills, pouring many of their resources into the horses.

The royal scandal

Indeed, horses are at the centre of Felicity's story, which started in 1983 when her mother Heather took a riding clinic in her home city taught by Captain Phillips, still a leading figure in British equestrianism and an Olympic gold medal winning three-day eventer. The pair struck up a friendship and, when Phillips visited Auckland again the following year, he invited her to his hotel and, she later revealed, left his boots outside his door to guide her to the right room.

She later admitted to having been infatuated with the dashing Army officer. After the hotel tryst, she had gone home and relayed the details to her diary, decorating the page with kisses in the shape of a horseshoe.

But when, a month later, she realised she was pregnant and broke the news on the phone to the Captain, then still very much married to Princess Anne and at home with her at Gatcombe Park, he told her - she later claimed - to have an abortion.

Heather Tonkin, who had Felicity, with Captain Mark Phillips. Photo / Getty Images
Heather Tonkin, who had Felicity, with Captain Mark Phillips. Photo / Getty Images

She refused and, eventually, Phillips began paying her £6,000 ($10,000) a year through an associate for what his accounts described as 'equestrian consultancy'. However, when payments became erratic and the Captain refused - gallingly - to be named on his daughter's birth certificate, Ms Tonkin engaged lawyers and, in 1991, finally spoke in public. The result was a furore.

Phillips and Anne had separated by then but courtiers grew increasingly alarmed at the damaging effect the scandal might have on a monarchy already reeling from stories of marital discord between the Prince of Wales and Diana.

Defending her decision to make the matter public and threaten Phillips with court action, Ms Tonkin said in an interview in 1991: "I am doing what I am doing for my child. I hope and pray Mark will do the right thing and make a proper and legally-binding settlement on her.

"I wish I could wake up one morning in the knowledge that the record had been put straight and I don't have to worry any more."

Ms Tonkin, who was 32 when she fell for Phillips, said at the time: "Nothing can compensate for the tears I have cried while trying to plan for Bunny's future, when at any moment I could find myself penniless. Bunny throws her arms around me to comfort me, asking why I am sad. But I have never been able to tell her. My ambition is to get Mark's public acceptance of her and to be able to enter his name on her birth certificate.

"She thinks her father is dead. She is entitled to know the truth."

It was all the more embarrassing for the Royal Family when it emerged that the Captain's aide had tried to force the child's mother to keep quiet. Heather Tonkin, after taking advice from her lawyers, taped five phone calls with Phillips's business agent, during which he dismissed her concerns and threatened to sue her if she tried to put his name on the birth certificate. In one, the agent tells her: "If you want to cause a flap, everyone's just going to deny it."

He warned her that the 'clout' lay with Phillips and added: "When this thing hits the fan, your daughter's life will be ruined."

Instead of a formal agreement, the agent referred to a 'gentleman's agreement', offering the so-called consultancy fees, an arrangement Heather referred to as 'hush money'. And even this stalled when Felicity reached school age.

Captain Mark Phillips, who had a secret lovechild with Heather Tonkin, while he was still married to Princess Anne. Photo / Getty Images
Captain Mark Phillips, who had a secret lovechild with Heather Tonkin, while he was still married to Princess Anne. Photo / Getty Images

Taking the advice of one of Phillips's aides, Heather had taken the heart-rending step of bringing up Felicity to believe that her father was dead. Only when she was eight years old and conducting a school project on her family history, did Heather feel compelled to tell her daughter the truth.

Realising the lie could not continue, she showed her daughter a biography of Mark Phillips written by newsreader Angela Rippon.

Not that the truth did much to comfort Felicity, who had learned that her father wanted nothing to do with her and would never send her a birthday card or enquire about her health. A DNA test in 1991 confirmed Phillips as her father, paving the way for a reported £350,000 settlement from Phillips, money which helped pay for fees at one of Auckland's finest private schools and some profitable property investments to secure Felicity's future.

In 1999 it emerged that Heather and Felicity had been within 15 yards of the Captain at a three-day event where he was the course designer and they were mere spectators. The Captain had appeared oblivious to their presence and, when asked by a journalist if he would meet them, had brusquely replied: "Wrong subject."

Nor has their shared interest in horses bridged the gap between Felicity and her half-sister Zara, a former world champion rider. Zara, the Queen's granddaughter, has made several trips to New Zealand for work and holiday, yet it is thought that the women have never exchanged a word.

Her father's daughter

Felicity, known throughout her childhood as Bunny, would also grow up to share her father's love of horses and with her blonde hair and blue eyes, there were startling similarities between her and Phillips' other daughter, her half-sister Zara, only four years older.

Today, it seems Phillips, now 68, has little intention of being reunited with his daughter in New Zealand, or any inclination to meet his new grandson. The Mail on Sunday was unable to reach her for comment.

In a new twist, however, Felicity's own marriage has brought her back within touching distance of the family her birth did so much to rock. For her new son's father is English expat Tristan 'Tricky' Wade, one of three polo playing brothers from Sussex who have long been fixtures on the same fields as William and Harry.

Two years ago, in March 2015, she and Tricky married in Karaka, New Zealand, with no sign of any guests from among her royal relations.

Shortly afterwards, Tricky headed back to Britain and played in a string of tournaments, including the Royal Windsor Cup at the Guards Polo Club, where many of the matches were watched by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. It's unclear whether Tristan had taken his new bride to Britain and if she, too, was among the spectators, cheering her husband on and, through him rather than her father, belatedly earning a place in the ranks of British high society.

It is a world in which Tristan moves easily. His polo handicap of three is two above William and Harry, though two behind his elder brother Adrian, a professional player and coach who has represented England many times.

Felicity, aka Bunny, on her wedding day to Tristan Wade. Photo / Facebook
Felicity, aka Bunny, on her wedding day to Tristan Wade. Photo / Facebook

"There's nothing fancy about them at all," says one local in New Zealand. "They drive modest old cars but like a lot of horse people, they live for their animals. People here are very fussy about vets and yet Felicity has a great reputation."

For all the world it seems that Felicity has ensured that her son will have the sort of childhood she was denied - one in which he is surrounded by the love and attention of an ever-present father.

- Additional reporting Daily Mail