Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was in Berkshire on Tuesday, for the opening day of the Royal Ascot race week.

The 39-year-old Indian actress, lauded as one of the most beautiful women in the world, has been busy impressing red carpet observers in the UK and on the continent with a series of high fashion displays, first on the French Riviera for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and then across the Channel, at the Chime for Change concert in Twickenham.

A former Miss World, Rai Bachchan looked graceful and elegant in a black-and-white lace dress, with a charming Philip Treacy hat. The actress, who is mother to 20-month-old daughter Aaradhya Bachchan, was among the more conservatively dressed celebrities on display.

Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins, for example, turned out in a bright orange-and-pink Roksanda creation... but it was her hat that cornered all the attention - a saucy cup perched on the right side of her head, topped off with a twist of pink; incidentally, also designed by Treacy.

"I love the glamour of the day. It's so old fashioned. I'm such a girly girl, I would wear a hat every day if I could," an excited Jenkins said of her costume.

Former England striker Gary Lineker and his wife, Danielle, were also at Ascot for the day. The 52-year-old forward, who turned out for Spurs and Barcelona in his playing days, was far from the highlight though. His 34-year-old wife wore a lace Nina Ricci creation with Christian Louboutin shoes.

And she claimed inspiration from the absent Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, explaining: "My hat is by Jane Taylor, who is Kate Middleton's favourite."

The Duchess, incidentally, has excused herself from all public appointments, ahead of the birth of her first child. Prince William was absent as well and was presumably by Kate's side.

Meanwhile, back at Ascot, there was a spot of bother at the gates when security guards refused to allow hat designer David Shilling entry. The 56-year-old milliner, whose creations are synonymous with Ascot, turned out with a huge floral wreath on his head, only to be told that it was not part of the men's dress code.

"We should be able to wear things that are not offensive. They just don't like my hat. I think men should be allowed to be equal in this day and age. There's no sense of humour," Shilling commented later.

Also present at Ascot on opening day were the royal family, with the Queen leading Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Princess Eugenie, Prince Andrew, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, and Princess Beatrice were also present.