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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge make their Royal Ascot debut

The Queen was also among a strong turn out from the Royal family

By Harriet Line, Press Association

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge braved an untimely downpour as they made their debut appearance at Royal Ascot.

William and Kate ditched the umbrellas as they paraded along the famous racecourse in an open-top carriage - smiling and waving to the crowds despite the sudden shower.

It was the first time the Duchess, who wore a beige Dolce and Gabbana dress and Jane Taylor hat, had visited Royal Ascot - a key date in the racing and social calendar.

Crowds cheered as the procession of the Royal Family - led by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in the first carriage - pulled into the parade ring.

The royals mingled with guests in the ring before making their way to the royal box, from where they watched the first race - in which one of the Queen's horses was competing.

Kate, who was talking to a guest in the box, ended the conversation so she could sit down to watch the race intently.

But the Queen's horse, Light Music, failed to win - and television duo Ant and Dec presented the Jersey Stakes trophy to the owners of Ribchester instead.

The 90-year-old monarch, who wore a cyclamen pink outfit by Stewart Parvin with a hat by Angela Kelly, has two more horses competing in the last race of the day on Wednesday.

The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge will present trophies to the winners of two Stakes.

Alongside her husband, the Queen was joined by the Duke of Argyll and William Farish in the coach.

Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Lord and Lady Vestey followed in the second carriage, while the Earl and Countess of Wessex were in the third coach with the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark.

William and Kate were joined by Wentworth Beaumont and his wife as their carriage made its way along the racecourse.

Heavy rain plagued the first day of racing at Royal Ascot, but the weather was warm and dry during Wednesday morning until the start of the royal procession.

There were concerns that the royal carriage would not be able to travel along the course on Wednesday because the saturated ground had become so soft.

But the procession went ahead as planned despite the rain, although the Queen and Camilla held umbrellas up to the rain as they trundled along the course.

Olympic champion cyclist turned jockey Victoria Pendleton was also at the races on Wednesday.

She said she would love to race at Royal Ascot one day but "as an amateur it's never going to happen".

Pendleton, who wore a homemade hat and a Paul Smith dress, said: "Everything has changed now I have got a bit more of an understanding of what I'm looking at."

Ant and Dec were among the first to enter the racecourse on Wednesday morning ahead of presenting a trophy in the afternoon.

Dec said: "We haven't got anything racing so we can relax and enjoy the day.

"It's a great day out. It's nice to put a top hat on - you don't get much of an opportunity to do that now, do you?"

Kate surprised racegoers when she joined William to present the Duke of Cambridge Stakes trophy to the owner of the winning horse Usherette.

The Duchess was not expected to assist in the trophy giving but entered the parade ring with her husband to cheers and claps from the crowd.

She shook hands with the owner, trainer and jockey as William awarded the trophies.

Usherette, owned by Sheikh Mohammed's racing operation Godolphin, was ridden by jockey Mickael Barzalona.

Charles and Camilla presented the Prince of Wales's Stakes trophy to the owners of the racehorse My Dream Boat.

Paul and Clare Rooney received the trophy - which has a prize fund of £750,000 - from the royal couple in the parade ring.

The Prince and Duchess then congratulated the trainer, Clive Cox, and jockey Adam Kirby.

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