Eugenie and Bea among famous faces donning fabulous hats for Ladies Day

Ascot's brand new racetrack and stands were awash with bright brims, feathered fascinators and quirky creations on Thursday, as Ladies Day - the highlight of the UK's premier racing event got underway.

At the fore among the scores wearing eye-popping headpieces were royal sisters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. The Duchess of York's younger daughter embraced this season's trend for bold colours, combing a vivid green disk with a deep violet top. Beatrice meanwhile chose a more subtle black and white titfer, decorated with a single plume.

Also adopting the monochrome look was Erin O'Connor, who'd picked out a feathered creation by milliner Stephen Jones. "Ladies Day is a very necessary occasion for women - dressing up is not something we get to do very much these days," said the model, elegant in cream jacket and black trousers.

Admitting that it was "almost normal" for her to wear a hat, she added: "I like to think that they are like a full stop or an exclamation mark to an outfit."

It's a view that Jasmine Guinness presumably shares, judging by the statement-making number she wore. The heiress was the centre of attention in another piece by Stephen Jones – a fierce creation exploding from a skullcap, crafted from extravagant black feathers positioned in wheel-like shapes. The inspiration behind the piece was apparently Mickey Mouse's famous ears.

Other ladies at the Royal Ascot race meet included Rod Stewart's wife Penny Lancaster Stewart – pretty as a picture in a wide-brimmed purple number and butterfly print dress - and Carol Vorderman, who was almost hidden under her enormous black and white floppy hat.

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