Equestrian Zara Phillips downplays royal links
LONDON, England (AFP) — Zara Phillips, the high profile member of Britain's London 2012 equestrian team, skilfully downplayed her royal connection here yesterday.
As the daughter of former Olympic equestrian Princess Anne and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Phillips has inevitably found herself the focus of fierce media scrutiny as she prepares for her long-awaited Olympic debut.
And appearing at a press conference at Greenwich Park 48 hours before the Olympic Games begins, she was asked if she felt any added pressure with her brothers Princes William and Harry and Williams's wife, Kate, set to turn up to support her.
Smiling resignedly she shook her head, replying: "Obviously they're my family, so why should it be weird?"
Phillips, married to former England rugby captain Mike Tindall, treated another inquiry with similar dexterity.
Quizzed as to whether she had received any advice from her grandmother she smiled: "If I did do you think I would tell you that!"
With her mother having competed at Montreal in 1976 and her father, Captain Mark Phillips, winning gold four years earlier she was asked if they then had imparted nuggets of wisdom to her.
"Not really," said Phillips, who missed both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics when her horse Toytown suffered injuries before each Games.
"Obviously both my parents made it to the Olympics but for all of us competing here this is an Olympic Games but it's also just another competition.
"In terms of pressure you've got to deal with it. All of us here have been to championships, some more than others, the fact that this is an Olympics makes it even better and gives us even more drive to do well."
In a bid to prevent Phillips' royal links dominating the press conference Team GB leader Will Connell had opened the session in playful fashion by telling the assembled media: "I can reveal hot off the press that every grandmother and grandfather and mother and brother are delighted and thrilled that their granddaughter or sibling or sister is competing at the Games."