The highlight of the summer horse racing calendar is undoubtedly the Royal Meeting at Ascot, attended every day by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. At the time of writing (late May) there were still some tickets available from £37. This year’s Royal Ascot will be held on 18th to 22nd June 2019.
Royal Ascot Dress Code
Royal Ascot is synonymous with sartorial elegance; fashion woven into the fabric of history. The dress code encourages guests to contribute to an occasion heralded as a major fashion event in its own right. With high fashion, the latest trends and style in abundance on every day of the Royal Meeting, it is a chance to showcase your finest outfits. Our tip for those of us who love a high heel is to carry a pair of ‘flatties’ in your handbag. It’s quite a long walk from Ascot station and the trains are often crowded. You’ll be relieved to shed your heels at the end of a long day and travel home in comfort. That’s if you haven’t arranged a taxi to deliver and collect you.
Every day of the Royal Meeting at two o’clock sharp, horse-drawn Landau carriages bearing Britain’s longest-ever reigning monarch make their way through the Golden Gates to start official proceedings. Watching the Royal Procession make its way down the Long Mile and through the historic racecourse is a staple of the Royal Ascot experience; a spectacle not to be missed.
Four young women attending Royal Ascot at the prestigious Ascot racecourse in Berkshire. Photo Credit: © Ben Selway via Visit Britain.
Exploring Windsor Castle
How can you get to see Her Majesty if all the tickets are sold out? Well, every day the Queen hosts lunch at Windsor Castle for family members and favoured guests, usually drawn from the horse racing community, whether trainers, jockeys or sponsors. Before boarding the Landaus at Ascot, the royal party can be seen leaving the Castle in various royal limousines. Hire a registered Blue Badge Tourist Guide to escort you to Windsor Castle. Your guide will know where and when to watch the party travelling past.
Beforehand or afterwards, your Windsor-accredited guide can take you round the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, including a visit to St George’s Chapel where Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in 2018. Your Blue Badge Tourist Guide will even know how to point towards Frogmore Cottage where the favourite royal couple is ensconced with baby Archie – although the home is hidden away from public view.
The State Apartments are furnished with some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Holbein, Van Dyck and Rubens. Many of the works of art are still in the historic settings for which they were first collected or commissioned by royalty.
You can see whether Her Majesty is in residence by looking at the flag on top of the Round Tower – if the Royal Standard is flying it means the Queen is in residence, the Union flag denotes her absence.
Soldiers of the Queen’s Guard near the Round Tower at Windsor Castle. Photo Credit: © Visit Britain.
Windsor is renowned as the favourite home of the Queen and is where she keeps her own horses, including the Fell ponies she rides out accompanied by her Head Groom, Terry Pendry. The Queen has been riding since her first lesson at the age of three and is a world-class breeder of horses. She is the first reigning monarch to win Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup, with her filly Estimate in 2013. Watch the clip on YouTube if you want to see the monarch expressing genuine joy. We wish her Majesty the best of luck at Ascot 2019!