CORONATION Street star Helen Flanagan has spoken of her excitement at joining thousands of spectators for her first Royal Ascot.

The Bolton actress, who is currently on maternity leave from the hit soap, was dressed head to toe in Julien Macdonald for her day at the races.

Helen said: "I've been to Ascot but this is my first time at Royal Ascot and I'm really looking forward to it.

"It's the fashion I really enjoy and the day's a chance to dress up and have some fun."

The actress who plays Rosie Webster gave birth to daughter Delilah, aged one, last summer, and also has a four-year-old daughter Matilda, both with Celtic footballer Scott Sinclair.

Wearing a chic trouser suit and hat by Macdonald, the Helen added: "Having the royal family here also makes it really special."

The Queen was due to be be joined in the royal box by the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and senior figures from the monarch's household.

The Queen arrived in her carriage procession as the rain began to fall but she and Charles did not seem to mind the wet conditions in the open-top coach but Camilla, seated beside her, put up a see-through umbrella.

Popular jockey Frankie Dettori won the first race of the day, the Queen Mary Stakes, and received his prize from former Strictly Come Dancing judge Dame Darcey Bussell.