Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter Zara Phillips insists she will carry on competing in top class horse trials despite her pregnancy.
Zara Phillips, 32, who was part of the Olympic medal-winning British eventing team last summer, is expecting her first baby with husband Mike Tindall in the New Year, Buckingham Palace announced yesterday.
Although the NHS advises pregnant women not to continue with “inherently risky” sports such as horse riding, former world champion Zara Phillips was competing at the Barbury International Horse Trials at the weekend.
Miss Zara Phillips, who is believed to be three months pregnant, came off her horse at one point, but was later described as “fine”.
Yesterday a spokesman for Miss Zara Phillips, as she is still known professionally, said she would carry on competing for several weeks at least. She is currently entered into three events later this month, with rides on six horses.
The spokesman said: “She will definitely be back in the saddle soon. It’s business as usual at the moment.
“She is entered into several events, but as with any rider, they treat each event on a case-by-case basis and if she pulls out of an event it will be because the horse isn’t ready, rather than her.”
But she later cautioned: “As you can imagine she is following all medical advice from her doctors. She is being sensible about this and is listening to what the doctors are telling her.
“She couldn’t be happier about the baby and would never put her pregnancy in jeopardy.”
Zara Phillips is well aware of the dangers of riding. She broke her collarbone in 2008 after she came off her horse at an event in France.
The animal, Tsunami II, broke its neck and was killed in the fall.
Two years previously her close friend, world-class rider Sherelle Duke, died when her horse fell on top of her during a competition.
The news that another royal baby is on the way was announced formally in a statement by Buckingham Palace yesterday.
The statement said: “Mr. and Mrs. Mike Tindall are very pleased to announce that Zara Tindall is expecting a baby in the New Year.
“The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips, Mr. Phillip and Mrs. Linda Tindall, and members of both families are delighted with the news.
“This baby will be the first child for Mike and Zara and the third grandchild for The Princess Royal.”
Zara Phillips’ baby is believed to be due in January.
The Queen was said to be “delighted” about another addition to her family, as were the parents of Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall.
A spokesman for PM David Cameron said he would “send his very, very best wishes to the happy couple”.
Later Mike Tindall, a former England rugby captain, joked on Twitter: “Thanks for all the kind messages, we are very excited and I agree with you all that hopefully he/she won’t have my nose.”
Mike Tindall has long been the butt of jokes for his misshapen nose, the result of several breaks during his international rugby career.
The baby will be 16th in line to the throne following the birth of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s first baby later this month.
It is believed Zara Phillips’s mother, Princess Anne, rode until she was 34 weeks pregnant.
And eventer Mary King, who rode for Britain at six consecutive Olympics, competed until she was five and a half months pregnant.
Mary King said: “The team doctor said that the baby was perfectly safe inside you, if you’re happy with what you’re doing just crack on.”