Pregnant royal in a last event at Brightling

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One of pregnant Zara Phillips’ last events before announcing she was quitting competitive riding on Wednesday was the Brightling Park International Horse Trials at the weekend.

Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest granddaughter was at the Robertsbridge competition having insisted just days after she revealed her pregnancy she wanted to remain in the saddle.

A statement by her agent that she would carry on riding professionally for as long as possible started worldwide debate.

The NHS strongly advises pregnant women not to ride for fear they either fall or get kicked by their horse. There is also a risk of placental rupture, caused by the animal’s jolting.

Zara, 32, who is three months pregnant, is a professional three-day eventer and is expecting her first baby with husband and rugby player Mike Tindall.

She won silver at the London Olympics last year as part of the British three-day eventing team.

On Wednesday the news was she had cancelled a string of gruelling trials until after the birth, due early next year.

A spokesman for Princess Anne’s daughter said nothing was medically wrong but Zara’s pregnancy weighed heavily on her decision to give up.

“The fact is that all of Zara’s horses have now qualified for the events she wishes to enter them for next year,” they said.

“She has done so well already this season, she does not actually need to compete any more.”