The Queen looked proudly on as Zara Phillips drove a Range Rover in an off road challange and changed a tyre at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Wednesday. Casually dressed in jeans and a blue jacket to announce a new engineering scholarship programme, the Olympic royal rider spoke about how inspiring both her grandmother and her mother were in encouraging young women to consider a career in engineering.
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Before Queen Elizabeth II became a monarch, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) at her own insistence in 1945, aged 18. Having enlisted as a Subaltern, Zara's grandmother progressed by the end of the war to the rank of Junior Commander. As part of her training to become a fully qualified driver, the then Princess had to learn how to fix a car, including changing the wheel and basic engine maintenance.Meanwhile, Zara's mother Princess Anne is the patron of Women in Science & Engineering (WISE), which helps organisations to inspire women and girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Having taken home a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics as part of Team GB's eventing squad, Zara, 31, is herself an inspiration to women. She remembered her GB team at the campaign launch as she talked of equal opportunities. "I'm delighted to be supporting the Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship which provides young women with the opportunity to progress their career. In the Three Day Eventing world, I compete equally with men and enjoy the challenge. In fact, on the Olympic team there was actually only one man and we all made a great team. There are equal opportunities for both men and women to succeed in engineering and now is an exciting time to get involved."
The Queen's granddaughter won't be the only GB showjumping team member to attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show - held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle and featuring 174 classes including show jumping, driving and dressage. Ben Maher MBE, Nick Skelton OBE and Peter Charles MBE will also be appearing. The Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship will provide a £9,000 bursary and mentoring to three female students or apprentices who would like to explore a career or further studies in engineering.