The Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall and her husband Mike have lost their baby, a spokeswoman for the couple has said on 24 December.

They had been expecting their second child who was due to be born in the spring. They were both "thrilled" at the news of the pregnancy, which they announced only a few weeks ago. The child would have been the Queen and Prince Phillip's sixth great-grandchild.

The spokeswoman said: "Very sadly, Zara and Mike Tindall have lost their baby. At this difficult time, we ask that everyone respects their privacy."

It is believed she lost her baby after suffering a miscarriage. Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Equestrian champion Zara, and Mike, a former England rugby player, married in 2011. They are parents to three-year-old daughter Mia.

Earlier this year, Mia was pictured holding her great-grandmother's handbag as part of a family portrait to mark the Queen's 90th birthday at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth II\'s 90th birthday
Queen Elizabeth II pictured with James, Viscount Severn (left), Lady Louise (second left), Mia Tindall (holding The Queen's handbag), Savannah (third right), Isla Phillips (right), Prince George (second right) and in The Queen's arms and in the tradition of Royal portraiture, the youngest great-grandchild, Princess Charlotte c2016 Annie Leibovitz/Handout via Reuters

The Queen's granddaughter, who was recently spotted at the Ascot Races, told Country Life magazine, she was looking forward to spending Christmas with her family.

She said: "Having all the generations of my family together at Christmas is my favourite part of the season. Christmas takes on a new magic when you have children."

Zara Phillips
Zara and her husband Mike announced the devastating news of losing her baby today,(24 December). Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images