Capt Mark Phillips speaks of new love

Captain Mark Phillips, the Princess Royal's former husband, has spoken of his new relationship with a woman almost 30 years his junior.

The 63-year-old, who coaches the US Olympic eventing team as their chef d'equipe, separated from his second wife, Sandy, and began divorce proceedings earlier this year after falling for fellow equestrian Lauren Hough, 35.

Capt Phillips, whose daughter Zara Phillips is competing in Team GB's equestrian events, has faced criticism and calls for his resignation over his affair with Ms Hough, who is also a member of the American team's coaching staff.

After the Olympics is over Capt Phillips will leave his job, but he says it is not because of the online firestorm he faced in the US.

He told Country Life: "I don't read chatrooms and all that rubbish as it's mostly uninformed and unidentified opinion, which won't change my life.

"I have the total support of the team and that's what matters.

"I'm not out to win a popularity contest.

"It's sad when a sport can't get behind their coaches going into an Olympics, and if that's the future, I'm not sad to be leaving."

Capt Phillips was married to the Princess Royal for 19 years before divorcing in 1992.

In 1997 he married Sandy Pflueger and they have a daughter, Stephanie, aged 14.

The Queen's former son-in-law also denied claims he has bought a house in America, insisting his home is in Gloucestershire.

"Aston Farm is home, England is home and, for the record, I don't own a house in Florida and I'm not about to buy one.

"I'm going to continue working in America, but I'm looking forward to spending more time working here."

Capt Phillips, who gained team gold and team silver in the 1972 and 1988 Olympics respectively, said despite his daughter competing, he is fully committed to the Americans, with whom he has worked for 20 years.

"I am 110 per cent committed to helping the USA win a medal," he told the magazine.

"But if that's not good enough, then I hope the British and Zara will be on top.

"If I can, I will watch Zara, but you're always so busy at a championship.

"The American squad will have my full attention."