Derby Day has welcomed a regular face as the Queen arrived to watch the classic race and start her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in earnest.

The event is one of the highlights of the racing calendar and is rarely missed by the Queen who joined 130,000 enthusiastic racegoers for the great social occasion.

They gave the monarch and Duke of Edinburgh a huge cheer as they were driven down the course past the stands and hospitality tents.

The royal couple were joined by a large party which included the Duke of York and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie and the monarch's racing manager John Warren.

The excitement built ahead of the Derby and the Queen was joined by her family in the parade ring as she got a closer look at the thoroughbreds due to race.

When the Derby finally got under way, a great cheer went up and the bars, cafes and restaurants in the stands emptied as spectators flocked to the rails.

The Queen was not on the balcony with the rest of the royal party to watch as the favourite, Camelot, cruised from near the back of the field to a comfortable win. But when it was paraded in the winner's circle, she came out into the bright sunshine to watch the jockey dismount and be congratulated by the owners and trainer Aidan O'Brien, whose horse St Nicholas Abbey had earlier won the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup.

Anthony Cane, Epsom Downs Racecourse chairman, said: "At the end of the day, her love is to come here. You have to remember, she comes here in a normal year in a private capacity not on an official visit. But she comes because she loves it, and this time it's her one trip to Surrey in the Diamond Jubilee."

Grey skies threatened rain but the Queen was dressed in a white silk dress with a blue floral print, and a royal blue crepe wool coat by Stewart Parvin and matching hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan.

A spectacular parachute fall by the Red Devils, the British Army display team, was staged just before the Queen arrived and left the crowd gasping. The men from the Parachute Regiment made pin-point landings close to the finishing line and one soldier even carried a huge Union flag.