|ZARA AND THE ROYALS’ LOVE OF HORSES|
|When Britain’s equestrian eventing team were presented with their silver medals today, Tuesday July 31st, it was a family affair for one of them.|
|The Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips, was congratulated by her mother, the Princess Royal, who herself competed in the eventing team of the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Appropriately, the medals were presented against the backdrop of Queen’s House in Greenwich.
The Royal family has strong links with horse riding. Events such as the Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire and the Burghley Horse Trials in Lincolnshire have always attracted the royals. The Queen in particular has always been an enthusiastic race-goer, as well as owning racehorses herself.
Royal Ascot is perhaps the most famous – the June racing festival at the course west of London, where the hats are almost as important as the horses. The Derby, held at the Epsom race course in Surrey, is also an important date on the social calendar and was indeed the opening event of the central weekend of the Diamond Jubilee in June.
Horse racing fans have plenty to watch this week: in addition to the Olympic events, Glorious Goodwood takes place at the Sussex course attached to the ancestral home of the Dukes of Richmond and Gordon, direct descendants of King Charles II.
Zara Phillips frequently attends the prestigious Cheltenham Festival in March. She was first spotted with her future husband, England rugby player Mike Tindall, at the Gloucestershire race course where she recently carried the Olympic torch.
She has close associations with Cheltenham, having been “Club 18-24” president of the race course, and she played hockey for Cheltenham Ladies’ College. The couple, who were married in Edinburgh, live in Cheltenham and are often seen at the Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power, a pub bought by a racing industry consortium including Peter Scudamore and Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Polo has also proved very popular, with the Prince of Wales, Princes William and Harry all enthusiastic players. One of the most famous grounds is the Guards Club, in Windsor, which was founded by the Duke of Edinburgh.