Royal Ascot is an annual horse race with more pedigree than Red Rum. Dating back to 1711, it is attended every year by a host of British royalty who come to as much out of a sense of tradition as to indulge their gambling habits – one of the Queen Mother’s two great pleasures, the other being gin.
But with a reputation for hedonism, your average Joe and Jane can have just as much fun. Here’s how the New York Times chose to describe proceedings:
The festival, held every June at Ascot Racecourse west of London, is essentially a five-day party built around top-class horses. Each day starts with a Royal Procession and ends with drunken singing around the bandstand. In between, of course, there are the races — 36 in total, including seven top-level Group 1 contests.
This year promises to be especially raucous because of the Queen’s Jubilee, with organisers erecting over 2.5 miles of bunting and estimating 170,000 bottles of Champagne will be drunk by the 300,000 race-goers over the course of five days!
And while we’re sure all the racing malarkey is jolly good fun, Ladies’ Day is when we pay most attention, as the emphasis switches from horses to fashion. You can even bet on the colour of the Queen’s hat!