…And They’re Off!
Royal Ascot! Europe’s best attended race meeting. (Above: HRH Princess Beatrice, HRH Sophie Countess of Wessex, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, HRH Princess Eugenie)
Ascot is a little town in the County of Berkshire, and is home to the famous Ascot Racecourse. Queen Anne in 1711 started this tradition when she founded Ascot Racecourse. The first race, “Her Majesty’s Plate”, with a purse of 100 guineas (a vast amount for the day – a guinea was 21 shillings, just over one pound), was held on 11 August 1711.
It is only six miles away from Windsor Castle – an easy ride for the Queen and Prince Philip who love anything to do with horses and horse racing.
There are many horse races at Ascot during the season but the most famous is “Royal Ascot” when a lot of royals come to watch the horses race. This is not just any race. There is a strict dress code for not only the Royal Enclosure, but all of the stands.
We thought it would be fun to show you the current dress code:
The dress code set out below is designed to help racegoers dress appropriately for the occasion.
Ladies are kindly reminded that formal daywear is a requirement in the Royal Enclosure, defined as follows:
Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.
Jackets and pashminas may be worn, but the dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.
Trouser suits are welcome. They should be full length and of matching material and colour.
Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.
Ladies are kindly asked to note the following:
- Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted.
- Midriffs must be covered.
- Fascinators are no longer permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches / 10cm).
Gentlemen are kindly reminded that it is a requirement to wear black or grey morning dress, which must include.
- A waistcoat and tie (no cravats)
- A black or grey top hat
- A gentleman may remove his hat within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Garden. The customisation of top hats (with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands) is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure.
- Black shoes
Girls (aged 10-16) should dress for a formal occasion. Smart summer dresses are suggested. Hats, headpieces and fascinators may be worn but are not compulsory.
Boys (aged 10-16) should dress in accordance with the gentlemen’s dress code, or may wear a dark-coloured lounge suit with a shirt and tie (no hat required).
Overseas visitors are welcome to wear the formal National Dress of their country or Service Dress.
SERVING MILITARY PERSONNEL
Serving military personnel are welcome to wear Service Dress or equivalent.
Grandstand Admission racegoers have the choice to follow the dress code for the Grandstand or that of the Royal Enclosure.
Ladies within the main Grandstand Enclosure are encouraged to dress in a manner as befits a formal occasion.
Ladies are kindly asked to take particular note of the following:
A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times.
Strapless or sheer strap dresses and tops are not permitted.
Trousers must be full length and worn with a top that adheres to the guidelines above (i.e. strapless or sheer strap tops are not permitted).
Jackets and pashminas may be worn but dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Grandstand Admission dress code.
Midriffs must be covered.
Shorts are not permitted.
Gentlemen are required to wear a suit with a shirt and tie.
Girls (17 or under) should be dressed for a formal occasion. Smart summer dresses are suggested. Hats, headpieces and fascinators may be worn but are not compulsory.
Boys aged (13-17) should wear a suit or jacket with a shirt and a tie. Younger boys (12 or under) should be dressed smartly but are not required to wear a jacket or tie.
A scene from Ascot you might all be familiar with is this one from the movie My Fair Lady that takes place on Ascot’s Opening Day. Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) makes her first appearance in a society setting as a test run for her newly acquired social skills. Even here Freddie Eynsford-Hill is quite taken with her. And just look at these fabulous clothes!
(You might remember these are the two characters, Eliza and Freddie, that we told you about last week who in grade school were played by Catherine Middleton who went on to land the real life role of , Her Royal Highness, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Andrew Alexander who went on to land a role in Downton Abbey.)
It is always fun to dress up and go out – at least your Two Chums feel that way. If you do not have anywhere special to go, create an occasion. Get together with some friends and organize an event. It could be as simple as dressing up and going to someone’s home to watch a horse race!
More joy – yes, more abundance!
PS How about this for a hat! Quite patriotic, we would say! (Yes, someone really did wear this!)