The Thursday of Royal Ascot is officially Gold Cup Day – but for thousands of racing fashionistas it is unofficially known as ‘Ladies’ Day’.

As it is not an official Ladies’ Day, there are no Best Dressed or Best Hat competitions – instead, racegoers vie to capture the attention of press photographers, fellow racegoers and simply take the opportunity to wear the hat and outfit of a lifetime!

All of that adds up to fabulous outfits, amazing hats and, most of all, the most fantastic fun.

HATS!

Please click on images for full size pictures.

THE ROYAL PROCESSION

Each day of Royal Ascot opens with a Royal Procession led by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On Gold Cup Day The Queen’s carriage contained Her Majesty alongside The Duke of York, Mr John Warren (her racing manager) and Mr Edward Young.

This was followed by, in the second carriage, The Princess Royal, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York.

The third carriage contained The Earl of Snowdon, The Countess of Snowdon, Captain David Bowes-Lyon and Mrs David Bowes-Lyon, while the fourth carriage brought Mr & Mrs Charles Butter, The Hon. Peter Stanley and The Hon. Mrs. Stanley.

THE FIRST NEW ENCLOSURE IN MORE THAN 100 YEARS AT ROYAL ASCOT OFFICIALLY OPENED – THE VILLAGE ENCLOSURE

On the Thursday of Royal Ascot 2017, Ascot racecourse opened the Village Enclosure – the first new enclosure to open at the Royal Meeting for more than 100 years.

Located on the inside of the track looking back towards the final furlong with Ascot’s iconic Grandstand as a backdrop, the new space has a style and tempo of its own: a ‘pop-up’ summer scene comprising informal boutique dining experiences, innovative bars, and live music throughout the day and into the evening.

The Village Enclosure sits between the Queen Anne Enclosure and Windsor Enclosure in terms of price point and the Queen Anne Enclosure dress code applies.

A picturesque bandstand surrounded by deck chairs is the centrepiece of the village green, along with two other stages where there is a mix of live brass, jazz and funk throughout the day. In the evenings, the main stage will host sets from live bands and DJs and was headlined by DJ Goldierocks on its opening day.

GENERAL SCENES

RACHEL GROOM is Eclipse Magazine's Photography Editor. Known for her 'street' photography she is also an in-house documenter of racing activities at a training yard in Epsom and loves a big day out at the races. You can see more of her work at www.rachelgroom.com

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