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Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Phillips (daughter of Princess Anne, The Princess Royal) has earned herself a spot on Great Britain’s Olympic team. She is an accomplished equestrienne, even being voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2006 and receiving an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2007 for services to equestrianism. Riding her horse High Kingdom, Zara will compete in three-day eventing, a sort of “horse-riding triathlon” which includes dressage (sometimes referred to as “horse ballet”), show jumping, and cross-country riding.

Photo by “Smudge 9000” (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Zara follows in a long line of royals (even though she is technically not royal) that have competed in the Olympics, including: Queen Sofia of Spain (sailing team reserve, 1960) and her son Felipe, Prince of Asturias (sailing, 1992); King Harald of Norway (yachting, 1964); Prince Albert II of Monaco (bobsledding, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002); and Zara’s mother Anne (eventing, 1976). Zara’s father, Captain Mark Phillips, also competed in eventing, winning Olympic gold in 1972 and silver in 1988.

Third time’s the charm for Zara; she had hoped to try for a spot on the 2004 and 2008 Olympic teams, but injuries to her horse Toytown forced her to bow out of competition before she could qualify. However, she and Toytown did team up again when Zara carried the Olympic torch late last month.

Good luck to Zara (though I hope she will understand if I cheer for the USA)!