Zara Phillips had a few things to celebrate Monday: Her first wedding anniversary - and a penalty-free ride through the treacherous cross-country portion of the Olympic equestrian eventing competition that counted toward Britain's second place position going into the final round.
Phillips' cousins Princes William and Harry and William's wife Kate along with other members of the Royal Family watched her compete, joining an estimated 50,000 less-regal fans in Greenwich Park to support Phillips as she negotiated her horse over 28 obstacles and a slippery course that claimed a dozen fallen riders.
Hers was one of the top three scores counted in Britain's second-place standings going into Tuesday's final show jumping round with 130.2 points. Germany was in the lead with 124.7 points and Sweden was third with 131.4. The United States was fifth with 155.2. "The crowd was unbelievable!" Phillips said after she finished Day 2 of her Olympic equestrian debut. "I hope I didn't take any heads off on the way cutting corners."
Phillips, a former world and European eventing champion who is 14th in line to the throne, said the only drawback to the raucous cheers was that she couldn't hear the timer on her wrist ticking by. Timer or no, her under-the-limit ride added no further penalty points to her 46.1 score from dressage a day earlier and left her tied for 10th place in the individual standings.
Like golf, the low score wins in equestrian eventing. Germany's Ingrid Klimke, part of the gold-winning German eventing team in 2008, was tied for first place in the individual standings with Sweden's Sara Algotsson Ostholt at 39.3 points.
William and Harry watched the competition from the main equestrian arena, joined by William's wife, Kate, and Camilla, the wife of Prince Charles, along with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the daughters of Prince Andrew. Princess Anne, herself a former Olympian eventing competitor, watched from the grounds of the twisty, hilly course dotted with 28 fences, hedges and water obstacles in Greenwich Park, London's oldest royal park.
Phillips said her time - well inside the 10-minute, 3-second time limit - was particularly good given that her horse, High Kingdom, lost a shoe during the ride. That made it tougher for him to keep his footing and make the quick turns needed to complete the 5.7-kilometer (3.5-mile) course within the time limit. "He did amazing," she said. "He really grew up and stepped up to the plate."
She mentioned that it was a special day for other reasons too: Last July 30, she married England rugby star Mike Tindall in the "other" royal wedding of 2011 that followed William and Kate's nuptials.
On Sunday, Phillips' grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, joined her mother in the VIP stands to watch her earn a respectable score in the dressage portion of her Olympic debut. After cross-country, she'll compete in show jumping Tuesday, the final portion of eventing. The big question is whether her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II - an accomplished equestrian in her own right - will come to watch. © GPD AP