Current World and European individual eventing champion Zara Phillips has been awarded an MBE in the 2007 New Year Honours. The 25-year-old is the first senior member of the royal family to receive such an award.

“I’m honoured I’ve been recognised for my achievements in equestrianism and pleased British Eventing nominated me,” she told the BBC. “I’m delighted for the sport.”

The MBE is yet another bright spot for Zara in a 12-month period which saw her experience real highs and lows, including being crowned world individual eventing champion in Aachen in August on her outstanding horse Toytown shortly after the tragic death of her friend, fellow event rider Sherelle Duke.

Other awards that Zara has collected during 2006 include the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, HOYS Equestrian of the Year, Petplan Equine Eventing Award from the Animal Health Trust and the Jane Holderness-Roddam Trophy from British Eventing,

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Other individuals recognised in the New Year Honours include:

  • Penny Henderson, secretary of Royal Windsor Horse show
  • John Potts, maintenance manager at Ascot racecourse
  • Russell Adams, deputy head coachman at the Royal Mews
  • Kevin Hutchinson, coachman at the Royal Mews
  • Cyril Roberts, Royal box steward for Guards Polo Club
  • Alan Chesters, former chairman of the North West Rural Affairs Forum
  • William Graham, head of education for farming and countryside education
  • Mary Longsdon of the Fell pony society
  • Michael Seals, chairman of the national fallen stock company