Phillips and her aptly named horse, High Kingdom, powered round a grueling cross-country course in Greenwich Park. They achieved 10th place at the end of the second day of the Olympic equestrian three-day event, which saw almost a fifth of the participants fall or fail to finish the course.
More than 50,000 fans basking in a day of sun and games spread themselves out over the 180-acre city park, home to the Meridian line and a historic naval museum. The crowds cheered as riders and their horses jumped over obstacles, splashed through water and twisted and turned around a treacherous 3.5-mile course of obstacles with names like The Planet and the Moon, the Coffin and the Altar.
Whoops, applause and some gasps – when a horse or rider fell - followed every competitor, but the crowd clearly supported the 31-year-old royal Olympian.
"The noise of the crowd was completely deafening. I couldn't even hear my watch beeping at the minute markers," Phillips told Reuters later.
Phillips had plenty of support from family including cousin Prince William and his wife, Catherine, William’s brother, Harry, and Camilla, wife of her uncle, Prince Charles. Phillips' mother, Princess Anne, a former Olympic rider, watched too.
Phillips helped the British team reach second place in the overall team rankings, behind the German team. Tuesday’s equestrian competition features show jumping.
“I was really impressed," said fan Anna Patrick, 45. "She deserved her place on the team, and not because she’s a royal."
-- Janet Stobart
Photo: Zara Phillips of Britain rides High Kingdom as she competes in the cross-country phase at Greenwich Park at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Credit: Markus Schreiber / Associated Press