Royal result - Phillips gets silver lining

GEORGINA ROBINSON
Last updated 10:49 01/08/2012
Zara Phillips
Getty Images
SILVER LINING: Zara Phillips on High Kingdom with her silver medal.

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With a kiss from mummy and a wave to the crowd, Zara Phillips continued the Royals' dream run at the London Olympics.

Fresh from her grandmother's wildly popular opening ceremony cameo, Phillips galloped her way into British hearts with a silver medal-winning performance in the team eventing competition.

It was all so precious and hyper-real. Princess Anne draped the silver medal around her beaming daughter's neck. Harry, Wills and Kate applauded from the stands and Phillips' rugby player husband Mike Tindall relayed every detail to adoring fans on Twitter.

Talk about Royals Inc. Long gone was Zara the wild child, the royal rebel, who tried hard to go against type with a tongue piercing and live-in jockey boyfriend at the age of 21.

A relaxed young woman stood on the dais with her teammates at Greenwich Park Arena on Tuesday afternoon, finally triumphant after the disappointment of two aborted campaigns in Athens and Beijing.

This Zara accepted - basked - in her mother's embrace and graciously acknowledged the crowd's wild adulation.

The only potential downer on the day, an appearance by Phillips' scandal-plagued father Captain Mark Phillips, was deftly contained when he announced last week that as coach of the American eventing team, he might be too busy to watch his eldest daughter compete.

So it was an all-star royal turnout. Princess Anne, her husband Timothy Laurence, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Phillips' brother Peter and wife Autumn, plus cousins Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Tindall, who threatened to disrupt the royal family's renaissance with a spot of dwarf-throwing and blonde-cuddling at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand last year, gave the day a thoroughly modern edge with blow-by-blow commentary on Twitter.

''Z (Zara) next to go in about 15 to 20 minutes,'' Tindall posted from the stands. ''In she goes,'' he said with an accompanying picture of Phillips riding into the arena on her horse High Kingdom.

He gave score updates - ''Z had 7 penalties leaving her on 53.1'' - and shared his delight in the team's success: ''Woooooooooooooooooooooo clear with 1 time team GB silver Medal get in you beauty''.

Despite his headline-grabbing antics in Queenstown, Tindall is widely credited with encouraging his wife to take her equestrian talent more seriously.

He must have played an important part, too, in nursing her through the lows of 2004 and 2008, when Phillips' horse Toytown was injured in the lead up to both Olympics.


The couple have embraced the combined sporting and social opportunities provided by the London Games, stopping for the odd mobile phone photo opportunity while staying focused on Phillips' preparation. She won her medal on the first anniversary of the couples' comparatively low-key wedding.

Phillips herself was ''disappointed'' with her own performance in the team's campaign after High Kingdom knocked down a fence in the jumping leg of the competition.

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But the rapturous applause that bounced around the arena at Greenwich Park was a ''massive lift'' for the 31-year-old.

''It's incredible,'' she said at the end of her ride.

''We're really grateful to everyone who've come here to cheer us on.''

So, you might safely speculate, is Buckingham Palace.

- FFX Aus

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