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Queen happy to be on home turf in wet and windy start to Royal Ascot

Published 14/06/2016

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive for day one of the 2015 Royal Ascot Meeting at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive for day one of the 2015 Royal Ascot Meeting at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire

The Queen brightened up a wet and windy first day at Royal Ascot after describing her trips to the famous racecourse with her family as among her "most cherished" memories.

Fresh from her birthday celebrations, the 90-year-old monarch wore a bright mustard yellow coat and a printed yellow and blue dress by Stewart Parvin.

She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, 95, Prince Harry and the Duke of York in a horse drawn carriage which made its way along the famous racecourse and into the parade ring, despite the soft ground.

The Duchess of Cornwall, who was following in the second carriage, used an umbrella to shield her pink Bruce Oldfield outfit and Philip Treacy hat from the rain.

Heavy downpours soaked racegoers arriving earlier in the day - forcing thousands of female guests wearing eye catching head pieces to hide under umbrellas as they descended on the world-famous Berkshire course.

The Queen, who has attended every royal meeting during her reign, wrote of her fond memories of Royal Ascot in a foreword in the official programme.

She said: "I have been deeply touched by the kind birthday wishes I have received this year and to have this milestone commemorated in the title of Royal Ascot's centrepiece race, The Gold Cup.

"Of my many memories, visits to Royal Ascot with my family are amongst the most cherished."

The Queen first attended Ascot when she was 19 years old and is a passionate horse owner.

One of her horses, Dartmouth, will be running in the Hardwicke Stakes on Thursday.

Zara Tindall, the Queen's granddaughter, posed for selfies with racegoers as she made her way into the parade ring to greet the carriages.

The Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal and Princess Beatrice also travelled in the procession.

The wet weather has not hampered racing, despite the ground being at its softest since 1971.

Actress Elizabeth Hurley awarded the first trophy of the day for the winner of the Queen Anne Stakes, while Harry, the Princess Royal and Beverley Knight were making presentations later.

Royal Ascot - one of the highlights of the racing and social calendar - attracts many of the world's finest horses to compete for more than £6.58 million in prize money. More than 300,000 racegoers are expected to attend this week.

Each year, racegoers make their way through the equivalent of 478 bathtubs of champagne while around 400 helicopters and 600 limos will transport the most glamorous guests to the racecourse.

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From Belfast Telegraph