Off to the Races: Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot is one of the most important flat racing events in all of Europe, and is a highlight of the English social season.

The final race day on Saturday happened to fall on the first day of summer, which as far as I’m concerned is an event in itself!

With the sun shining down, the Brits totally go for any excuse to get outdoors, dressed to impress, and pop bottles!

Royal Ascot Royal Enclosure

Royal Ascot Girls

Royal Ascot Parade Ring Hat

Royal Ascot Ladies outside

The dress code for Royal Ascot is part of what makes this event so glossy – day dresses and hats for ladies, and top hats for the gents.

Where else would a top hat ever be appropriate?

Royal Ascot Parking Lot

Royal Ascot Phone

It all kicks off with the royal parade – the Queen in all her pastel splendor trotted out in a horse-drawn carriage.

Royal Ascot Queen Carrige

Adoring eyes all look to the country’s beloved monarch!

Before the races, we all slip into the paddock to eye up the contestants.

Royal Ascot Paddock Stables

Royal Ascot Paddock

Royal Ascot Paddock Standing

Then the horses are saddled up and led into the Parade Ring to warm up just before the race.

Royal Ascot Ring

Races

Royal Ascot Horse

Royal Ascot Parade Ring Shot

Royal Ascot Time Check

The boys study their race cards and check their watches to make sure all bets get placed in time.

Royal Ascot Tote Betting

Then it’s out to the track to watch the race!

Royal Ascot Commissioners Box View

1Hat

Royal Ascot Track

It’s impossible to describe the drama of the actual race – the cheers of the crowd reverberating off of the grandstand, the thundering of hooves pounding down the track, and the precarious business of jumping up and down when your horse wins without spilling your drink on some poor unsuspecting spectator!

We applaud the winning horse as he is proudly led into the Winners’ Enclosure to cool down and be celebrated.

Royal Ascot Jockey Winning

Royal Ascot Parade Ring View

Royal Ascot Richard Pankhurst

Royal Ascot Parade Ring John Interview

Royal Ascot Parade Ring Trophy Steven Fry

British television personality Stephen Fry was on hand to present the trophy and probably make a witty remark or two… He seemed to be enjoying himself as much as the rest of us.

Royal Ascot Couple

Royal Ascot David and Serena

Royal Ascot Jockey

Eventually, we tumbled into the winners’ box for a toast to the victorious steed!

Royal Ascot Winners Box

The room buzzed with positive energy, the air sticky with excitement.

And that was before the Queen showed up to dole out prizes to the champion of the next stakes.

Royal Ascot Queen

Royal Ascot Queen Pink

Royal Ascot Queen Stroll

The Queen absolutely loves horse racing, and is practically a fixture at Royal Ascot.

We drifted around the Royal Enclosure for a while sipping champagne until we were led up to the Commissioner’s Box. It’s not quite clear who was crazy enough to let a couple of ragamuffins like us through, but believe me when I say I strode right in!

Royal Ascot Commissioners Box Bar

Royal Ascot Commissioners Box Hat Shelf

Royal Ascot Commissioners Box Hat Shelves

The best bit was the adorable little tea cakes shaped like crowns.

Royal Ascot Commissioners Box Petit Crown

Completely befitting the royal theme!

After the final race of the day, all of our friends gathered in the owner’s and trainer’s car park for refreshments.

1Carpark

Royal Ascot Trophy

Royal Ascot John and Rachel

Boujis nightclub hacked in all the way from London and set up a tented outpost among the parked cars – including a dj and bongo player – and passed around free food and drinks to us weary racegoers.

Royal Ascot Carpark Bongos

Royal Ascot Carpark Crack Babies

I highly recommend the curative powers of a cool Crackbaby after a long day in the sun at the races!

Although all this horsing around had left me feeling a little un-stable.

And I clearly needed to giddy-up back to London.

Royal Ascot Carpark Boujis Crack Baby

Royal Ascot Boujis Carpark

We savored the last few golden hours of sunlight, then piled into cabs to go home, leaving Ascot in the distance.

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