Royalty and statesmen




Zara shares a joke with her father Captain Mark Phillips before tackling the course at Gatcombe Park Estate
Photo: © Getty Images
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Normally rather reserved, Princess Anne was at her most relaxed during the horse trials at her Gloucestershire home, and seemed filled with mirth as she watched Zara complete the course
Photo: © Getty Images


7 AUGUST 2006

Unruffled by the tough competition ahead of her, Zara Phillips was in fits of giggles as she prepared to take part in horse trials at her mother's Gatcombe Park Estate. The equestrian star was in excellent spirits, joking with her father and trainer Captain Mark Phillips before tackling the course.

And the positive atmosphere seemed to be infectious, with Princess Anne on equally good form, laughing heartily as she watched her daughter go through her paces in the Dressage section. Making up the good-humoured family group was Peter Phillips, who turned out to cheer on his younger sister in the company of his pretty Canadian-born girlfriend Autumn Kelly.

Behind the smiles, Zara is very much in earnest when it comes to her riding career. The Gloucestershire meeting is a crucial part of the build-up to the Beijing Olympics, in which the sporting royal hopes to represent her country. For the last few years 6am starts have been de rigueur for the young horsewoman as she works to convince selectors of her right to a place on the national team.

Currently European Individual and Team champion, Zara will be in a position to prove her mettle once again when the World Equestrian Games kick off in Aachen, Germany, at the end of August.

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