Royal Ascot Ladies Day has, for a long time, been one of the most important and distinguished dates in the horseracing Calendar, having been established by Queen Anne in 1711.
The fact that several members of the Royal Family are often in attendance, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself turning up regularly contributes hugely to the meeting’s reputation around the world.
This is without mentioning the races themselves, with such famous races as the Prince of Wales Stakes, the Coronation Stakes and, of course, the Ascot Gold Cup taking place over the five days of the event.
More often than not though, the glamour of the event overshadows the sport for many and with good reason. The day of the Gold Cup is particularly famous and is known around the world as Royal Ascot ‘Ladies’ Day’.
On Royal Ascot Ladies’ Day racing always seems to take a back seat – despite the prestige of the Gold Cup and the fact that it has historically been the most important day of racing – to Fashion, with ladies from around the world attempting to impress the millions watching at home with their outlandish clothing and sublime hats.
And it is the hats that, year in year out get most of the attention. This is thought to be a result of the meeting’s homage to aristocratic history. The wealth of the aristocratic attendees of Royal Ascot in its formative years apparently attracted many ladies to the event who would attend to keep up with the latest fashions.
The Ladies’ Day that we recognise today though was reportedly created by Beau Brummel, who suggested to his friend the Prince Regent that only spectators in formal wear should be permitted to attend the third day of the Royal Ascot meeting. The extravagance of the hats has presumably got more and more outlandish year upon year.
Some of the more strange hats we have seen in recent years include those inspired by ice cream, Lego and lobsters! With all the excitement that happened at the event many visitors may have needed to use a bet calc to know exactly how much they were likely to win at the races.
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…