July 31, 2012

Kate and William showed their support to Zara and Team GB

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sit with Prince Harry as they watch the Team Eventing Jumping Final on day four of the London Olympic Games at Greenwich Park, London

The Royal family returned to Greenwich Park today to cheer on the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips as Team GB took home a silver medal in the Eventing Team Jumping final of the three-discipline Olympic equestrian eventing competition.

The Duchess of Cambridge along with Princes William and Harry joined Princess Anne and the Duchess of Cornwall to watch Zara compete.

Kate wore a blue and white nautical striped top under the navy £500 Smythe blazer that she wore to yesterday's event.

Crowds at day four of the equestrian event gave Zara Phillips resounding cheers as she put in a confident performance in showjumping.

She was third up for the British equestrian eventing team as she continued her promising Olympic debut.

Supporters who had braved gloomy skies in Greenwich, south-east London, fell into a hushed silence as she tackled the course, which included jumps featuring a miniature Nelson's column and bright red post boxes.

But they erupted into delighted cheers once she had finished, waving Union flags.

After the performance the 31-year-old said the crowd gave her a boost as she competed.

She said: 'It's incredible, it gives you a massive lift as you come into the arena. We're really grateful to everyone who has come here to cheer us on.'

Phillips recovered well after making an initial mistake and knocking a bar down on an early jump on her horse High Kingdom.

She said: 'It was a bit slow in the beginning but after that he got faster, it was my fault, not his. I'm really proud of him.'

She said performing in front of a home crowd did not increase the pressure on her.

'It's the pressure that you put on yourself trying to get the best score you can for your team.'

Yesterday was the first anniversary of her wedding to rugby player Mike Tindall, but when asked if she had had a chance to celebrate, she laughed and said: 'No!'

High Kingdom lost both his front shoes in the cross-country yesterday but recovered well, she said: 'I'm really happy with him to be able to do that today.'

Phillips entered the arena to rapturous applause, quickly followed by silence as she tackled the jumps.
She said: 'It makes the noise of the poles falling even louder.'

Audience members today included former prime minister Sir John Major and young Royals Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, who sat behind their mother Anne and Camilla. 

Phillips added: 'There was a mistake that we shouldn't have had because he's a good jumper and obviously it's disappointing for a team sport, but generally I'm really happy with him.'

When asked if the competition had been an emotional experience for her, she joked: 'It's like an emotional roller-coaster.'

Family members have come to support her every day of the eventing: 'It's nice that they've managed to come and watch,' she said.

Alice Fox-Pitt, wife of William, who watched with her five-year-old son Thomas, gave a massive cheer as Tina Cook completed her round, bringing Team GB their silver medal.

She said her husband was 'ecstatic' with the result.

'Gold was there for the taking, obviously it's really disappointing that they didn't get it,' she said.

'It is not Zara's fault there were little mistakes. It's a team, it isn't about one person. William's time faults yesterday were expensive, there's a whole host of reasons - it's never down to one person.'

Mrs Fox-Pitt said the team was still 'thrilled' with their silver, adding: 'Obviously there's still the individual medals to play for.'

During the event there was still a small number of empty seats in the arena, even though organisers sold extra tickets to fill unused spaces.

Team GB began the day in second place after Phillips and her four team mates put in fantastic performances in the cross country yesterday.

A number of riders fell on the tricky course in historic Greenwich Park, but Phillips, Nicola Wilson, Mary King and Kristina Cook all avoided penalties by finishing within a tough time limit.

William Fox-Pitt just missed out when his horse tired towards the end of the course.

Phillips follows in the footsteps of her Olympian parents the Princess Royal, who competed in the 1976 games in Montreal, and Mark Phillips, currently the US team's coach, who won a team gold in Munich in 1972.

In the stands William and Harry both looked smart, with William donning a white shirt under a grey blazer and Harry also wearing a white collared shirt.

Kate and William showed their support to Team GB by wearing a gold and red Team GB badge fastened onto their blazers.

The three young Royals laughed and joked together as they watched the event.

Zara's mother Princess Anne sat with Camilla as they watched the riders gallop around the course.

Anne looked extremely patriotic donning a Team GB bag and two Olympic pins on her navy blazer.

Alongside the family, Zara's brother Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn watched on, both wearing full team GB gear, with matching hats.

The Queen's granddaughter is one of five members of the team, who went into the final day of the competition in second place.

The 31-year-old  scored a penalty-free ride through the treacherous cross-country event yesterday, negotiating her horse, High Kingdom, over 28 obstacles and a slippery course that claimed a dozen fallen riders.

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