Queen's granddaughter hears sound of her failure

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Zara Phillips and her fateful mistake (Alex Livesey / Getty Images)

Zara Phillips and her fateful mistake (Alex Livesey / Getty Images / August 1, 2012)

The big mistake and a later brush with a rail that made the crowd gasp threw them off pace enough to be penalized for finishing the course three minutes slower than required.

The rail knockdown added four points to Britain’s score, the time penalty another three -- seven in all.  The British finished 4.5 points behind Germany.  Among the three (out of five) on her team whose scores wound up counting, only one other rider incurred a penalty, of one point.

“It is disappointing for the team score but generally I’m happy,” she said.  “It was an emotional roller coaster.”

Phillips and High Kingdom had a strong cross-country phase Monday.  They were among just nine of 70 riders to get through the hilly, tortuous, 3.5-mile course cleanly even though the horse lost its two front shoes along the way.

(Wasn’t that what King Richard III said in Shakespeare’s eponymous play?  My kingdom for a horseshoe?)

Phillips fared better than her mother had in 1976.  The Princess Royal, riding one of the Queen’s horses, suffered a concussion from a crash in the cross-country phase of the team competition and was 24th  in the individual event.

Zara also had a better day than her father, 1972 gold medalist Mark Phillips, now coach of the U.S. team.  The USA wound up seventh.

So there was the expected question about what she had said to mum and dad.

“Why are we always talking about my family?” Phillips said.  “Everybody’s family is here.”

It was either that or talking about the possibility she had made a royal hash of things.



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