Charles cuddled by Zara Phillips

Zara Phillips warmly embraced her uncle Prince Charles at the start of Royal Ascot yesterday (17.06.08).

Zara – daughter of Charles’ sister Princess Anne – showed her affection for the future king by throwing her arms around him in the royal box at the world-famous horseracing event in Berkshire, England.

Charles looked quite taken aback by the hug although he seemed pleased when his glamorous niece planted a cheek on his cheek. Earlier in the day, Zara impressed onlookers with her extravagant hat and stylish top and skirt.

Queen Elizabeth’s eldest granddaughter stuck to the event’s strict dress code, wearing a cream pussy bow blouse, high-waisted black skirt black skirt and flower and feather detail hat.

Keen horsewoman Zara – who was forced to pull out of this year’s Olympics due to the injury of her horse Toytown – attended the races without rugby player boyfriend Mike Tindall, who is currently on tour in New Zealand.

Other members of the royal family to attend the event included the queen, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.