Royalty and statesmen

Princess Anne's daughter Zara takes the initiative, greeting her uncle with customary warmth
Photo: Rex
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Charles, who was in the royal box, initially seemed caught somewhat off guard by his niece's spontaneous gesture...
Photo: Rex

Hugs all round from affectionate Zara as she catches up at Ascot

18 JUNE 2008
She's long had a reputation as the most natural and spontaneous of the Queen's family. Even so Zara Phillips' tactile show of affection in Ascot's royal box came as a pleasant surprise to racegoers - not least to the recipient of her warmth, Prince Charles.

Obviously delighted to see her uncle, Zara, the daughter of his sister Princess Anne, flung her arms enthusiastically around Charles' neck.

For a moment the future king seemed taken aback by her gesture, but quickly recovered to return his niece's embrace with a kiss and a squeeze around the waist.

And the young royal went on to share more hugs, greeting her cousin Eugenie in an equally intimate fashion.

Ascot is one of the most enjoyable occasions of the summer for the equestrian-loving Windsors and everyone from the sovereign and the Duchess of Cornwall to Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Eugenie's sister, Beatrice seemed to be a sunny mood.