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Meghan Markle Makes Her Royal Ascot Debut

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Meghan Markle has made her Royal Ascot debut alongside husband Prince Harry, wearing a button-down dress in cream by Givenchy, her new go-to designer, and a black and white fascinator by A-list milliner Philip Treacy.

The opening of the annual fixture, which this year will run from 19th to 23rd June, is a key date in the royal family's calendar, not least because the Queen is such a dedicated horse-racing aficionado: she has attended the races every year since she ascended the throne in 1953, and has a habit of backing winning horses, too (rumour has it that she turns to the Racing Post first in her daily stack of reading material).

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Thanks to strict etiquette rules (which bans one of Meghan's favourite styles, the off-the-shoulder boat neckline) fine-tuning the perfect Ascot outfit can be a sartorial minefield, but the new Duchess of Sussex's ensemble showed that it's certainly possible to comply with the Ascot dress code while staying true to your personal style.

The couple arrived at the race course in the third carriage of the royal procession, along with the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Harry's uncle and aunt, and are set to present the winner's trophy for the 4.20pm race this afternoon.

With the Duchess of Cambridge still officially on maternity leave following the birth of her third child, Prince Louis, and the Duke's calendar filled with a series of work engagements (including, no doubt, preparation for his upcoming visit to Israel, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories), it's unclear whether the couple will join Her Majesty in the royal box this year.

Though she officially joined the royal family in 2011, Kate didn't attend Ascot until five years later, though not through any slight on Her Majesty's part: though William and Kate were invited in preceding years, the Duchess was only able to accept in 2016, as part of the Queen's 90th birthday celebrations. In keeping with the occasion, she chose a white lace gown by Dolce & Gabbana paired with a fascinator in cream, and for her next Ascot outing in 2017, she stuck to a similar formula, this time in a high-necked dress by her go-to designer, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

See all the royal arrivals from Royal Ascot in the gallery below...