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'Normal' Zara is a hit with event visitors

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 10, 2014

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Sheltering in the lee of the wind in the top-of-the-range equestrian clothing stall Musto, Zara Phillips had gathered a crowd.

More than 60 fans had queued before her allotted time, with hundreds more joining the end.

Zara, who did not even need a table, a chair or an obvious security presence, was friendliness personified, chatting and signing, posing for photographs as the queue built up in front of her.

For little Beatrix Rowe, an eight-year-old near the front of the queue, Zara is, according to mum Emily, "her absolute heroine", the moment they met was an unexpected surprise.

Mum and daughter had only arrived two hours earlier from Guernsey, pitched their tent for the weekend, walked into the shopping village and stumbled upon Zara's imminent arrival.

"We came last year for the first time, and found it just a lovely outdoor event," said Emily.

"It's just the whole experience and this completes it. Zara is Beatrix's absolute heroine – she's very cool. We haven't even seen a horse yet, although we did hear a buzzer, which I think was something to do with the dressage."

Further back and waiting patiently was Suzette Simms, who travelled across from Slimbridge for the day.

"I love Zara, she's normal and so un-royal, she's great. I admire her for what she's achieved," she said.

"I've been coming to Badminton for 25 years, and it's changed a lot. It's got more expensive, and a lot bigger. I come for the dressage days, and I might come for Sunday, but I stopped going to the cross country day – it's far too busy for me," she added.

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