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!
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?
It all kicks off with the royal parade – the Queen in all her pastel splendor trotted out in a horse-drawn carriage.
Adoring eyes all look to the country’s beloved monarch!
Before the races, we all slip into the paddock to eye up the contestants.
Then the horses are saddled up and led into the Parade Ring to warm up just before the race.
The boys study their race cards and check their watches to make sure all bets get placed in time.
Then it’s out to the track to watch the race!
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.
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.
Eventually, we tumbled into the winners’ box for a toast to the victorious steed!
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.
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!
The best bit was the adorable little tea cakes shaped like crowns.
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.
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.
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.
We savored the last few golden hours of sunlight, then piled into cabs to go home, leaving Ascot in the distance.