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Zara Phillips Makes Her Olympic Debut

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Jim Hollander/EPA/Landov

London may still be buzzing about the Queen’s spectacular cameo at the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday, but Her Majesty’s granddaughter has clearly moved on.

Asked about her grandmother’s dramatic entrance, Phillips told reporters with a smile, “I’m not going to answer that. This is sport!”

Indeed, Sunday marked the 31-year-old’s Olympic debut, competing in the Dressage portion of the equestrian three-day eventing competition. And Phillips was clearly delighted to be getting down to work.

The royal beamed as she entered the arena on her horse, High Kingdom, to cheering home crowds. Among the spectators: her husband of nearly one year, Mike Tindall, who watched from the sidelines and planted a huge kiss on her lips as she dismounted in the paddock.

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Prince Phillip, Princess Anne, Zara’s brother Peter and his wife Autumn all watched expectantly from the stands as well. Phillips, a former European and World champion, declared herself “really pleased,” despite a couple of mistakes, and said that entering the arena had been “incredible.”

“It’s an amazing feeling to be part of the Olympics and to ride for your country and just to be there,” she said. “The crowds are amazing as well.” Luckily for Phillips and High Kingdom, the sun came out for their go – later, the competitors were drenched by rain.

She’ll be back in the saddle Monday afternoon for the Cross Country event, which will be far more dramatic that Sunday’s controlled dressage performances (in Cross Country, competitors tackle a course of massive jumps dotted around a three-and-a half mile course).

And Phillips’s cousin, Prince William, and his wife Kate will be there to cheer her on.