After a year’s pause due to the pandemic, the Royal Ascot, that most quintessentially English horse race, is back with its bonus show of flamboyant glamour, crazy hats, fun and frivolity — but without the most traditional of presences, that of Queen Elizabeth, who opted not to attend for the first time in her reign.
Fine weather, fast ground, a long list of exceptional horses and a full house of 80,000 hungry, thirsty and betting-minded racegoers (including various members of the British royal house and national and international celebrities), point to success for the 2021 race lasting from June 15 to 19 and with a pandemic-limited daily attendance of 12,000 guests.
Since its inauguration in 1711, the Royal Ascot races, #RoyalAscot, have been considered among the world’s most important, attracting many of the finest racehorses from around the globe competing for millions in prize money.
The equine competition is also one of the top fashion events on the British calendar, with celebrities, supermodels, aristocrats and other racegoers parading in their most extravagant sartorial splendor.
The Queen owns many thoroughbred horses that have won races at Royal Ascot multiple times. She has one horse running this year and, according to royal sources, is following the race on television from Windsor Castle.
Royal aides have also said that she’s planning to attend the races later in the week.
Among the royals appearing among the reduced-capacity crowd were Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne and Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
The event’s dress code requires hats for women and top hats for men and the parade of extravagant chapeaux, crazy fascinators, showy dresses and suits are as much a spectacle as the horses.
Original posted at www.forbes.com