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Cilla and 'Queen' star Helen join real royals on blustery Ladies Day

June 19, 2008
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Keeping your composure – and your hat - in a 34mph wind is a tricky feat. The pressure is even greater if you're attending Ladies Day at Royal Ascot, an occasion famous for its elegance and inevitably full of cameras.

Leading the glamorous racegoers doing battle with the elements at this year's society gathering was showbiz veteran Cilla Black, who coped with the help of strategically placed pins. She'd struck a dramatic note, contrasting her magnificent red floral titfter with a ruffled pistachio green suit.

Her fellow showbiz veteran Dame Helen Mirren was less fortunate, temporarily losing her wide-brimmed accessory as a gust swept through the Berkshire course. The Oscar-winning actress quickly recovered her sheer black design, however, and later went on to take tea for the first time with the famous figure she portrayed on film, the Queen.

The sovereign's own hat had been the subject of much speculation and apparently frenzied betting. According to bookmakers, scores of punters had put money on her breaking with her customary style to wear a fascinator or opting for a shade of red.

In the event the royal matriarch disappointed them on both counts in a powder blue affair by New Zealand milliner Philip Somerville teamed with a silk shift dress and coat in the same colour.

Her granddaughters, who've been the undoubted stars of this year's Ascot, once again raced away with the fashion honours. Beatrice and Eugenie, both sporting Philip Treacy designs, shared the glory with their cousin's wife Autumn Phillips, who stood out with a fuchsia pink creation.

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Photo: ©
Hats off to the racegoers like Cilla, who managed to hold on to their accessories with blustery winds at Ascot Photo: © Getty Imagesy
Photo: ©
Despite her best efforts Dame Helen did momentarily lose control of hers, though with her customary aplomb she recovered in time to meet the Queen for the first time Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
Prince Andrew's daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, along with Peter Phillips' new wife Autumn, carried off the style honours with their elegant attire Photo: © Getty Images

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