Without question Royal Ascot is one of the most famous gathering for Horse enthusiasts in the world. It is a wonderful spectre of some of the best horse racing in the world mixed with the grandeur of the Great, Good and of course the Royals. So why is Royal Ascot called Royal?
The Royal Ascot is the centrepiece of Ascot's year and dates back to 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne.
Every year Royal Ascot is attended by Elizabeth II and other members of the British Royal Family, arriving each day in a horse-drawn carriage with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day and the raising of the Queen's Royal Standard. the royal party arrives through the gates of Windsor Great Park in open carriages, drawn by Windsor greys. They are then taken through crowds of well wishers to the Royal Enclosure. It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often exceeds coverage of the actual racing. There are three enclosures attended by guests on Royal Ascot week, one being the Royal enclosure, one, the Queen Anne enclosure and one the Windsor enclosure.
Now, there are indeed strict etiquette rule to be observed at Ascot and most notably is the dress codes! Thankfully in recent times items such as fascinators have been banned from the Royal enclosure, why on earth you would with to put something on your head that resembles a badly assembled nest on your head is beyond me. Now if you are lucky enough to be in the Royal enclosure the dress codes are the following. The Rules of etiquette are the same for all but dress codes vary however for Gentlemen in the Royal enclosure the dress code is black or grey morning dress with matching top hats for the men, For Ladies lets go for something a little more special, fascinators are not permitted and formal daywear is required, Ladies are also not permitted to wear spaghetti straps, halter necks, off-the-shoulder outfits or expose midriffs. All Dresses and skirts should be of modest length, which is defined as falling just above the knee or longer and dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater. Pashminas and Jackets maybe worn but dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal enclosure Dress code. For the Queen Anne enclosure ladies are asked to wear something that befits a formal occasion which is similar to the above. For Gentlemen it is a matching suit with shirt and tie, and finally the Windsor enclosure, it is smart clothes as no formal dress applies but sport shirts will not be permitted.
The Royal enclose is the invitation-only area of the racecourse, to be admitted you have to be proposed by someone who is already a member and has been a member for up to four years but bear in mind that not everyone is allowed in, and memberships are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Anyone with a criminal record or anyone who have been declared bankrupt are not permitted. It should also be mentioned that until 1955, divorcees were not permitted.
Tuesday is the first racing day and is the favourite day to attend. Wednesday is the bookmakers’ favourite and it is said that more betting than any other day takes place. Thursday is of course Ladies’ Day, and finally. Friday and Saturday are less busy and quite popular with the young as they are permitted on these days.
When parking bear in mind Number 1 Car Park is the best, and a very smart area to enjoy a picnic. Number 7 Car Park is also reserved for Royal Enclosure members only. However most car parks a suitable just remember where you leave the car!
And remember You don’t place a bet yourself, you inform a functionary which horse you ‘fancy’ and tell them to find the best odds for you and place your bet which they will happily assist with.
When attending such racing events you talk about ‘The Going’. which is a description of ground conditions experienced by the horse. Always remember the Going scale is the following: heavy, soft, good to soft, good, good to firm, firm and hard. The Going is always announced seven days before the meeting.
This week on twitter I asked the question: As RoyalAscot is upon us my question is do you think dress codes are still relevant in the 21st Century?
The results were wonderful and interesting
Which thankfully shows me that most people agree with myself that dress codes are important and very much part of the world we live in.