IT was, in the end, the greatest show on turf. Not the Derby, the classic flat race which is one of the highlights of the equestrian calendar, but the joyous family day out enjoyed very publicly by the Queen at Epsom Racecourse the other day. The biggest gathering of the Royal Family since the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge rendered the disappointing third-place finish of her much-fancied colt Carlton House almost trifling. Kate dazzled in a collarless off-white jacket over a diaphanous white frock which showcased long legs shod in this seasons nude platform shoes. On her head she wore a Forties-style cappuccino-coloured hat with her hair rolled tightly to the nape of her neck. She was on the arm of her husband Prince William, resplendent in top hat and tails, accompanied by a similarly-clad Prince Harry. MO Their appearance alongside Prince Andrew with his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra and Prince Philip at a private rather than a public occasion, underlined the astonishing sense of renewal within the Firm. From the moment the Queen stepped from her Rolls-Royce to the strains of the National Anthem played by the Central Band of the RAF at 1pm, she appeared at her ease. At 3.30pm she strode across to the parade ground to see Carlton House, named after a historic London Royal residence, being walked around the ring by his stable girl. She laughed and chatted with other owners, her mood doubtless reflecting the fact that her horse had been declared 5-2 favourite by the bookies. By 4pm, it seemed that more eyes were on the Royal Box, garlanded in Her Majestys racing colours of red, purple and gold, than were watching her longstanding jockey Ryan Moore as he entered the stalls. -DM