Hat's awkward! Queen Camilla's wide-brimmed headpiece gets in the way as Zara and Mike Tindall try to greet her with a kiss – as King Charles leads the Royal Family at Ascot

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  • READ MORE: Fashionable frontrunners! Glamorous revellers don their finest frocks and statement hats as they kick off the first day at Royal Ascot

The Queen looked effortlessly elegant as she joined the King and other Royal Family members at the first day of Royal Ascot today.

However, Camilla, 76, perhaps came to regret the wide-brimmed hat she wore alongside her matching vibrant blue dress for the carriage procession at the Berkshire racecourse.

Thanks to the statement headpiece, it proved difficult for the King’s niece, Zara Tindall, 43, and her former rugby ace husband Mike, 45, to smoothly greet the Queen with a kiss.

King Charles, 75, and Camilla are proven fans of racing and arrived at the Berkshire racecourse in the traditional carriage possession ahead of the first race, alongside Princess Anne, Peter Phillips and Lady Gabriella Windsor.

They wished racegoers the ‘best of luck’ in chasing the ‘thrill of a Royal Ascot winner’ as the famous meet began.

Hat looks awkward! Queen Camilla's headpiece appeared to get in the way of Mike Tindall greeting her with a kiss

Hat looks awkward! Queen Camilla’s headpiece appeared to get in the way of Mike Tindall greeting her with a kiss

Thanks to the statement headpiece, it proved difficult for the King's niece, Zara Tindall , 43, to smoothly greet the Queen with a kiss

Thanks to the statement headpiece, it proved difficult for the King’s niece, Zara Tindall , 43, to smoothly greet the Queen with a kiss

King Charles , 75, and Camilla are proven fans of racing and arrived at the Berkshire racecourse in the traditional carriage possession ahead of the first race

King Charles , 75, and Camilla are proven fans of racing and arrived at the Berkshire racecourse in the traditional carriage possession ahead of the first race

Royal Ascot 2023 was their first as King and Queen, and the couple – who took on Queen Elizabeth II’s thoroughbreds – watched as their horse Desert Hero won the King George V Stakes, their first winner at the famous meet as owners.

The late Queen was a passionate owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, and had more than 20 Royal Ascot winners during her 70-year reign.

Writing jointly in the official programme, Charles and Camilla said: ‘It gave us immense pleasure and joy to witness Desert Hero’s victory in the King George V Stakes last year, particularly as he was bred by Her late Majesty.

‘We wish all the participants this week the very best of luck in seeking that unique thrill of a Royal Ascot winner.

‘We also hope that those here at the racecourse and watching from home will enjoy five days of the finest racing that this sport has to offer.’

Punters dressed in stunning hats, summer dresses and smart suits will cheer on the riders over the next five days at the Berkshire race course.

It was founded by Queen Anne in 1711 after she declared Ascot ideal for ‘horses to gallop at full stretch’ and has today become a major social event as well as a sporting attraction.

The carriage procession that heralded the start of racing took place in brilliant summer sunshine.

The King and Queen appear deep in concentration as they watch the races in Berkshire

The King and Queen appear deep in concentration as they watch the races in Berkshire

Queen Camilla (centre) reacts as Charyn ridden by Silvestre De Sousa (not pictured) wins the Queen Anne Stakes on day one of Royal Ascot

Queen Camilla (centre) reacts as Charyn ridden by Silvestre De Sousa (not pictured) wins the Queen Anne Stakes on day one of Royal Ascot

Zara Tindall is pictured embracing Lady Gabriella Kingston as they both attend day one of Royal Ascot in Berkshire

Zara Tindall is pictured embracing Lady Gabriella Kingston as they both attend day one of Royal Ascot in Berkshire

King Charles and Queen Camilla are seen arriving at Royal Ascot in a carriage

King Charles and Queen Camilla are seen arriving at Royal Ascot in a carriage

Queen Camilla wore a royal blue ensemble for day one of Ascot
She coordinated her dress coat with a wide-brimmed hat in the same shade

The Queen wore a royal blue ensemble, coordinating her dress coat with a wide-brimmed hat in the same shade

Zara and Mike Tindall put on a glamorous display as they attend the first day of Royal Ascot

Zara and Mike Tindall put on a glamorous display as they attend the first day of Royal Ascot 

The Princess Royal, Lady Gabriella Kingston and Peter Phillips arrive on day one of Royal Ascot

The Princess Royal, Lady Gabriella Kingston and Peter Phillips arrive on day one of Royal Ascot

Today marks the first day of the famous event, which is a favourite among members of The Firm

Today marks the first day of the famous event, which is a favourite among members of The Firm

As well as attending Royal Ascot today, Lady Gabriella Windsor (pictured) was at Trooping the Colour last Saturday

As well as attending Royal Ascot today, Lady Gabriella Windsor (pictured) was at Trooping the Colour last Saturday

The King and Queen were joined in their carriage by Charles Wellesley, the 9th Duke of Wellington who carried Queen Mary’s Crown at the coronation before Camilla was crowned, and his wife the duchess. 

They were followed by the Princess Royal who travelled with her son Peter Phillips, Lady Gabriella Kingston, the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and Charles and Camilla’s racing manager John Warren.

In the third coach was Camilla’s sister Annabel Elliot, her son Sir Ben Elliot, former co-chair of the Conservative Party knighted in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list who is married to the daughter of musician Steve Winwood, and the Earl and Countess of Halifax.

In the final coach was Sir Johnny Weatherby, the racehorse owner and breeder and formerly the late Queen’s representative at Ascot from 2011 to 2020, and racehorse trainer Ralph Beckett and his wife. 

Lady Gabriella’s outing to Royal Ascot marked her first official public appearance since the tragic death of her husband, Thomas Kingston, in February.

The event will be particularly poignant for the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent as she attended the society race event last year with her late husband. 

Gorgeous in green! Princess Eugenie looked typically chic in a summery dress for the outing
Gorgeous in green! Princess Eugenie looked typically chic in a summery dress for the outing

Gorgeous in green! Princess Eugenie looked typically chic in a summery dress for the outing

Say cheese! Zara and Mike pose for a selfie while at the first day of Royal Ascot today

Say cheese! Zara and Mike pose for a selfie while at the first day of Royal Ascot today

King Charles III attends day one of Royal Ascot 2024 at Ascot Racecourse
King Charles III attends day one of Royal Ascot 2024 at Ascot Racecourse

King Charles III attends day one of Royal Ascot 2024 at Ascot Racecourse

The Princess Royal alongside Lady Gabriella Kingston arrive by carriage on day one of Royal Ascot

The Princess Royal alongside Lady Gabriella Kingston arrive by carriage on day one of Royal Ascot

The King and Queen were followed by the Princess Royal who travelled with her son Peter Phillips, Lady Gabriella Kingston, the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and Charles and Camilla's racing manager John Warren

The King and Queen were followed by the Princess Royal who travelled with her son Peter Phillips, Lady Gabriella Kingston, the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and Charles and Camilla’s racing manager John Warren

The King and Queen were joined in their carriage by Charles Wellesley, the 9th Duke of Wellington who carried Queen Mary's Crown at the coronation before Camilla was crowned, and his wife the duchess

The King and Queen were joined in their carriage by Charles Wellesley, the 9th Duke of Wellington who carried Queen Mary’s Crown at the coronation before Camilla was crowned, and his wife the duchess

Zara looked elegant in her yellow print dress, featuring a cinched waist and statement sleeves

Zara looked elegant in her yellow print dress, featuring a cinched waist and statement sleeves

Her war hero and financier husband, Mr Kingston, was found dead aged 45 at his parents’ home in the Cotswolds. 

He died from a ‘traumatic head wound’, an inquest heard in March. His death was not being treated as suspicious, and no one else was involved. 

The royal family have proved a strong beacon of support for Gabriella, 43, in recent months. 

At the weekend, Ella, as she is known by friends, made a low-key appearance at Trooping the Colour after being invited by the King. 

She was seen watching the parade with family inside the palace, including her brother, Lord Frederik Windsor and his wife, Sophie Winkleman, whom she stood next to. 

Lady Gabriella was photographed observing the performance behind Princess Anne, her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Lawrence and the Duke of Kent.

Lady Gabriella hung back from the balcony and watched the RAF flypast from inside Buckingham Palace.

Along with other junior royals, Ella had made regular appearances on the balcony until the arrival of Covid-19 in early 2020.