This year’s Royal procession included Prince Harry
and
Duchess Meghan.

Photo by Alan Hunt, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Royal Ascot is the most prolific event on the U.K. horse racing calendar, attracting over 300,000 racegoers, with millions more tuning in on TV around the world. It is also the most valuable race meeting of the year, with £7.3 million in a guaranteed prize pool. There are 8 Group One races, and 19 Group races in total. Here are some fun facts about this year’s Royal Ascot.

82,000 Bottles of Wine

The Royal Ascot is a sociable affair, as is shown by the level of alcohol consumption during the five days of the event. This year, the exclusive sponsor Hallgarten & Novum Wines reported that 82,000 bottles were sold. Rosé and white wine were strong sellers, probably due to the hot weather. Favourite choices included Gerard Bertrand, Gris Blanc and Chateau De L’aumérade rosé. The crowd also drank their way through 21,000 jugs of Pimm’s.

Fine Dining 

Royal Ascot is also a place for food lovers, with over 320 chefs serving up gastronomical delights across 12 restaurants as well as 17 private dining facilities providing for the wealthy.

Seafood was on the menu, with 8,000 Cornish crabs served up across the five days as well as 5,000kg of salmon and 3,500 fresh lobsters. Meat-eaters chomped through 5,000 Angus steaks, 2,400kg of sirloin and 7,000 rumps of lamb.

Meanwhile, those with a sweet tooth enjoyed getting through the 240,000 handcrafted tea cakes, 120,000 butter scones with 1,200kg of clotted cream and 60,000 finger sandwiches, washing it all down with 80,000 cups of tea. Yes, Royal Ascot is an English event.

Dress Code 

Many places have a dress code, but not so many have one as strict as the Royal Ascot. You can get into a casino wearing smart casual attire while football game requires not much more than the right coloured shirt, but the Ascot is a dress code to be followed to the letter.

This year, men had to wear socks, and they would be refused entry if they didn’t. The socks must be worn with a grey or black morning dress, including a waistcoat and tie, top hat and shoes.

Women should wear their dress at a minimum length of just above the knee while dress straps should be at least 1 inch in width. Strapless tops are not allowed, but as of last year, women can wear full-length jumpsuits and trousers. Given the strictness of the dress code, there is still an opportunity for fashion and expression.

Royal Connection 

Everyone knows that the Royal Ascot has a connection to royalty. The clue’s in the name. But not everyone knows why. The Ascot Racecourse was founded by Queen Anne in 1711, and since then, a further 11 monarchs have visited. The Ascot race week became a Royal week in 1911.

The Queen is an owner and breeder of horses, and her entries have won races at the Ascot on multiple occasions. There are stakes with royal themes, such as the King George V Stakes, Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Windsor Castle Stakes. This year, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan joined the royal procession.

Extensive Decor 

A lot of effort goes into the Royal Ascot, and it shows in the aesthetics and the atmosphere. A total of three miles of bunting is put up for decoration, and 13,000 flowers are planted on the 171-acre racecourse to brighten up the week.

Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there’s a lot more to learn…

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