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Parade ring becomes a royal affair

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

  • The Duchess of Cornwall

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They usually call a horse race meeting somewhere near London "Royal Ascot", but on Ladies' Day at Cheltenham yesterday it seemed at times race-goers could not move without bumping into a member of the British Royal Family.

While the vast majority of the 50,000-plus crowd revelled in the occasion, royal watchers had a field day as the entire Gatcombe branch of the family came out to enjoy the sunshine.

Princess Anne arrived with her daughter Zara, but without new granddaughter Mia, and spent most of the day mingling with friends in the Parade Ring.

Zara, whose husband Mike Tindall recently and almost accidentally added the title of "racehorse owner" to Gloucester rugby player, spoke about her own attempts to get back in the saddle following the birth of her first child.

"I have been back on a horse already," she said. "It was great, but my muscles are really aching."

The Olympic equestrian medallist said she was looking to get back into serious training "by the end of April", while her husband's racehorse Monbeg Dude – which won the Welsh Grand National in 2012 – is an early favourite for the National at Aintree next month, after Zara was credited with helping its jumping technique.

Zara's brother Peter was also at the second day of the Cheltenham Festival along with his Canadian wife Autumn.

The Princess Royal was accompanied by Andrew Parker-Bowles, the first husband of the now Duchess of Cornwall, and Camilla herself soon arrived, sporting a robust tweed suit, with her son Tom Parker-Bowles. The Duchess was later pictured cheering on the horses she had backed in the big race, the Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase.

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