The Royal Ascot

A Celebration of Tradition and Prestige

The Royal Ascot is an event like no other, combining thrill, elegance, and centuries of tradition. Since its early days staged for Queen Anne in 1711, it has grown into a highlight of the British social calendar. Ascot Racecourse becomes a who's who of royalty, celebrities, and high society over 5 days of world-class racing, high fashion, and unique ceremonies. It embodies the grand British traditions of pageantry, royalty, and sporting spirit for a global audience.

The Royal Ascot delivers a sensory experience beyond just sport. The parade of horse-drawn carriages bearing the Royal Family signals the daily start. Cheers erupt as the thunder of hooves approaches the finish line. Spectators take in floral scents from the gardens and sample the traditional fare of strawberries and cream. Attendees don their most impressive formal wear, turning the event into a high-profile fashion show. Through it all, The Royal Ascot radiates a captivating and genteel aura found nowhere else.

  • Over 300,000 guests attend across the 5 days of The Royal Ascot, with many more watching globally
  • Race prize purses total around £7.3 million, attracting the top equine  talent worldwide
  • Fashion alone contributes over £50 million to the British economy annually
  • High Tea, champagne bars, and fine dining options provide a luxury spectator experience
  • Musical performances and children's events round out the full cultural showcase

The Origins of The Royal Ascot

Queen Anne first recognized Ascot Heath's potential for racing in 1711. Her Majesty's Plate officially marked the grounds' racing debut and sowed the early seeds of The Royal Ascot tradition. With patronage from successive monarchs like King George III and Queen Victoria, temporary facilities gave way to permanent grandstands and attractions that transformed Ascot Racecourse over the decades. The pageantry increased but racing remained central.

The Gold Cup race began in 1807, quickly earning a reputation as one of Europe's most prestigious contests. Its long distance tests speed and endurance, captivating spectators. High society made the annual pilgrimage to Berkshire as The Royal Ascot grew in fame during the 1800s. While the World Wars interrupted its continuity, the event resumed in 1946, once again allowing guests to immerse themselves in sporting and stylish splendour.

  • King Edward VII further enhanced Ascot's facilities as an avid racing proponent
  • Queen Elizabeth II has attended every Royal Ascot since acceding to the throne in 1952
  • The Royal Enclosure's exclusive access comes with a strict dress code and entry requirements
  • Royal Ascot was held at Newmarket Racecourse twice during World War II
  • The Queen Anne Enclosure offers the liveliest, most vibrant guest experience

The Origins of The Royal Ascot

The Unbreakable Bond: Royalty and The Royal Ascot

The British Royal Family's passion for horse racing has been intertwined with Ascot for over 300 years. The event holds a special significance for the monarchy, with the Queen making it a personal priority every year. Her deep knowledge of the sport earns respect from owners and trainers. Other Royal Family members also lend their active support. The royal presence underpins The Royal Ascot's prestige, charm, and noble sporting spirit.

The Queen has won over 20 Royal Ascot races as an owner, including her first in 1953. She often presents the trophies herself in the parade ring. Her entries this year are set to race in her Platinum Jubilee year. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall maintain a close interest as well. Their enthusiasm for the event spotlights horse racing's continuing importance to the royals. The passion passed down through generations will ensure an unbreakable bond between royalty and The Royal Ascot.

  • The Queen has only missed 2 Royal Ascots - in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic
  • She names all her horses and keeps detailed records on the performances
  • In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II won the Gold Cup with her filly Estimate
  • Zara and Mike Tindall participate annually in sibling double-act race commentaries
  • Prince William and Kate placed a friendly wager on rival rowing crews in a charity race

Time-Honoured Traditions: Customs and Ceremonies

The Royal Ascot presents a cornucopia of quirky and charming British customs - whether centuries-old or of more recent vintage. The daily Royal Procession remains the centrepiece. Guests also relish opportunities to dress up, enjoy a proper English Tea or Pimm's cocktail, and sing along to classic tunes. Peculiar museum pieces like the Ascot Landau carriage become conversation starters. These rituals engage attendees and worldwide fans, bolstering The Royal Ascot's magical allure.

Added in 1845, the tradition of hoisting the Royal Standard flag spotlights the monarch's presence and Britain's royal heritage. Daily singing of the national anthem sets a patriotic tone. Milliners and designers unveil their latest trends and creations. Meanwhile, fans selection of creative headpieces never ceases to entertain and dazzle. These practices demonstrate how The Royal Ascot intertwines novelty and nostalgia to captivate audiences year after year while upholding cherished customs.

  • Royal Ascot once featured its own on-site post office to handle the high volume of mail
  • The custom of awarding prizes - money or plateware - lives on from the earliest race meetings
  • Media partners provide comprehensive style coverage for fashion followers
  • Picnic hampers allow al fresco dining on the lush grounds
  • Retired jockeys reunite annually to contest the Legends Race

Famous Races: Legends of The Royal Ascot

The Royal Ascot has birthed legends - both equine and human - since the early 1800s through its prestigious Group One races like the Gold Cup. Champion racehorse Yeats captured an incredible four Gold Cups in a row. Jockey Lester Piggott memorably rode 11 winners over the meeting at age 51. Trainers like Aidan O'Brien and Sir Michael Stoute have amassed decades of wins and accolades. These virtuosos of the track have gained fame thanks to their Royal Ascot exploits.

Dual Gold Cup winner Estimate brought much joy to the Queen as the first reigning monarch to claim that crown in over 200 years. Other famous horses like Frankel and Black Caviar earned fans worldwide with dominant performances. These four-legged superstars and their connections have cemented their legendary statuses thanks to Royal Ascot moments showcasing their brilliance. For jockeys, training the next Royal Ascot champion remains a career-defining goal; for owners, a lifelong ambition.

  • 2010 saw five consecutive St James Palace Stakes wins by Aidan O'Brien trainees
  • Yeats was the first horse to capture 4 Ascot Gold Cups - from 2006 to 2009
  • Female jockey Hayley Turner notched her first Royal Ascot victory in 2008
  • Australian wonder mare Black Caviar extended her unbeaten record to 22 in 2012
  • The Commonwealth Cup introduced in 2015 carries a £500,000 purse

Unravelling the Magic: What Sets The Royal Ascot Apart

The Royal Meeting name stems from the royal family's support, but its magic comes from the experience - a multidimensional affair blending sport, style, and entertainment. Attendees bask in old-fashioned revelry and camaraderie during both adrenaline-fueled races and lighthearted intervals. Striking costumes create a vibrant, ever-changing spectacle while immaculate lawns and vistas transport visitors back to a bygone era of nobility. World-famous personalities mingle with crowds in a party-like atmosphere, transcending barriers of class and nationality.

A palpable electricity charges the atmosphere whenever the starting gates open. Hats fly in moments of excitement. Between races, brass bands serenade guests as bookmakers take flurries of bets. Limitless champagne, delectable dining, and nearby castle tours add regal touches. No detail is overlooked in this multi-sensory and communal celebration of horses, history, fashion, and culture unique to The Royal Ascot. It continues to refresh timeworn British traditions with modern innovations and accessibility to mesmerise fans worldwide.

  • Glamorous bars like the Moët Champagne Terrace overlook the track
  • St James's Palace provides a stately backdrop to the Royal Enclosure
  • Bench seating in the Grandstand means spectators from all walks of life intermingle
  • Pop-up opera, theatre, and music stimulate creativity and discussion

Unraveling the Magic: What Sets The Royal Ascot Apart

International Appeal: The Global Impact of The Royal Ascot

In recent decades, The Royal Ascot has emerged as a truly global sporting and cultural phenomenon. Its five days of world-class fashion, cuisine, entertainment, celebrities, and horse racing draw ever-growing international audiences in person and on screens. Media coverage now beams outreach ascot to over 500 million homes across 60 countries. Approximately 20 percent of attendees now travel from outside the UK to immerse themselves in the fanfare and festivities.

Top Thoroughbreds also ship in from overseas to compete, including past American and Australian winners. These international participants and racegoers provide significant economic impacts. They also spread awareness of British culture and Ascot traditions worldwide. The event now partners with luxury brands and hospitality groups across multiple continents. The Royal Ascot continues building an increasingly diverse worldwide fan base through highlighting timeless traditions on an international stage.

  • Countries like Australia, France, Ireland, Japan regularly send contenders
  • Foreign horse racing bodies host their own formal Royal Ascot viewing parties
  • On-site broadcasts feature live commentary translations into Mandarin and Arabic
  • Global pop-up venues in locations like New York and Sydney attract new fans
  • Politicians often entertain economic delegations with networking at Royal Ascot

Giving Back: Philanthropy and Community Outreach

The Royal Ascot leadership recognizes the event's good fortune and strives to give back. Organisers have implemented and expanded a range of community-focused charitable initiatives over recent years. These outreach efforts target needs locally around Berkshire and across UK national charities. Such programs allow The Royal Ascot to harness its global profile and resources to impact meaningful causes.

Primary philanthropy channels include The Prince's Countryside Fund, Racing Welfare, and the Berkshire Community Foundation. Causes supported include conservation projects, youth career mentoring, and promoting inclusion in horse racing. Spectators can directly donate or join in fundraising activities on site. In 2022, a charity race between rival rowing crews from Oxford and Cambridge universities will spotlight mental health programs. Continually developing creative charity engagements allows The Royal Ascot's goodwill to reach diverse groups within racing and beyond.

  • Patrons can add charitable contributions alongside their ticket purchases
  • Auctions and prize draws raise funds for various partner non-profits
  • visualise Ascot art competition engages schoolchildren with cash prizes
  • "Racing with Pride" events advocate for LBGTQ+ diversity and belonging
  • Retired racehorses get retrained through the Ascot Horse Rangers program


The Royal Ascot stands in a class of its own, woven into the very fabric of British culture yet also transcending borders as a global phenomenon. More than 300 years of history robes the event in tradition, from the daily Royal Procession to high tea in floral gardens. Its fashion has become nearly as famous as the equine stars thunderously rounding the track bend to the finish line. While the sport remains centre stage, the spectacular collision of heritage and modernity delivers an unparalleled entertainment experience melting barriers of class and nationality. For five days every summer, The Royal Ascot brings pride and timeless magic to Berkshire and fans across the planet.