Royal Ascot: a Week-Long Celebration of British Horse-Racing and Culture

Royal Ascot, a week-long celebration of British horse-racing and culture.

In June of each year, one of Great Britain’s most famous and popular horse-racing events takes place. Royal Ascot, named due to its longstanding ties to the Royal family (dating all the way back to the early 1700s) brings the small town of Ascot to a standstill.

With just under $10million of prize money on offer, competition on the track is as fierce as you’d expect. Despite this, much of the attention is often on the stands of the famous racecourse, with the event still regarded as one of the most prestigious in the British social calendar.

When is this year’s festival?

Royal Ascot week this year begins on Tuesday June 19th and draws to a close on Saturday June 23rd. The racing is expected to be watched across the globe, with as many as 200 countries anticipated to tune in to the coverage.

However, to be there in person for any of the week’s racing is something special. If you are lucky enough to have a ticket for this year’s festival, then take a look at The Winners Enclosure for useful information, such as course details, what sort of races are run and when, and what else you can expect from the week.

Where do the ties to Royalty come from?

Queen Anne officially founded the racecourse in 1711 and has continued to be supported by members of the monarchy since. The Royal Family still play a huge part in the festival, which ensures its place as one of the most glamourous events in Britain’s sporting calendar.

The racecourse itself is located in Berkshire, just six miles away from the historic Windsor Castle grounds.

Is the Queen still involved at Ascot?

Yes, she still plays a huge part in the Ascot week. Before each day of racing begins, attendees are treated to the ‘Royal Procession’, where the Queen and other members of the Royal Family arrive at the track in a horse-drawn carriage, before taking up their places in the Royal Enclosure.

The Queen also owns her own horses that compete at Ascot, her horses have racked up just shy of 500 victories since the 1980s. Her Majesty is believed to have earned around $8million in winnings at Royal Ascot in this time, and still owns over 20 race-horses.

How popular is Royal Ascot today?

The week-long festival attracts over 300,000 visitors, which makes it Europe’s best-attended race meeting. The race meeting is a must-go for race fans in the United Kingdom and beyond. Such is the reputation of the course in British popular culture, it has twice featured in James Bond films.

Much is made of the fashion at Ascot with attendee’s keen to dress in their finest attire to match the regal atmosphere. The sheer number of people attending, combined with the Royal Family and other members of British high society attending ensures a media frenzy each year. The coverage of the fashion, and who is and is not attending, often outweighs the coverage of the racing itself.

Is there dress-code?

Yes, and it’s strictly enforced! For women, a dress with a hat is expected, with rules applying to length, with shoulders and midriffs not expected to be on show. A dress code also applies to male attendees, with black or grey suit to be accompanied by a top hat.

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