The Royal Ascot may be the most prestigious English horse race, but it’s also one of the biggest fashion events of Britain’s high-society calendar. Royals and socialites flock to the Berkshire green for five days of equestrian action and more importantly the fanciest fashions.
Ever since it’s inception in around 1711, the Royal Ascot has set the scene for exquisite sartorial style, but it must be noted, one can’t just turn up in any old thing, there’s a strict Royal Ascot dress code.
Women must wear dresses of an appropriate length, meaning just above or below the knee, dress straps must be a least 2.5cm thick (no spaghetti straps!), hats are serious business, no facinators, however a headpiece which has a solid base of 10cm or more in diameter is acceptable.
Meanwhile, for the gents, socks are a must, as are black shoes, a waistcoat must be paired with a tie (no cravats) and a black or grey top hat is to be worn.
Now you’re clued up on the fashion dos and don’ts, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable fashion moments in the history of the Royal Ascot horse races.
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Meghan Markle’s first Royal Ascot look will go down in the books as a royal success! She stunned in a belted Givenchy shirt-dress.
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The brighter the better for Queenie! This year the monarch donned a sunshine yellow coat-dress that only she could pull off.
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An English rose? Danish fashion designer Isabell Kristensen, drew inspiration from the green’s floral surrounds.
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Zara Philips went for bold colours and stripes in 2016.
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Princess Beatrice opted to top her nude coat-dress with a statement hat brimming with exotic-looking feathers, in 2017.
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A racegoer to day one of this year’s races took the theme very literally.
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Prince Diana was so ahead of her time! The Princess of Wales wore a chic striped suit by Roland Klein and hat by Philip Somerville in 1987.
She’s the Queen of Colour! Fuschia was the hue du jour, for Her Majesty in 2017.
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Duchess Catherine in a bespoke Alexander McQueen floral lace dress and a white topper adorned with pearls and a lace bow, at the Royal Ascot in 2017.
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Princess Beatrice waves from underneath an interestingly shaped hat, 2016.
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The Queen laughs off fashion faux pas in 2016, as she and a jockey notice they’ve couple-dressed for the occasion!
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Queen Elizabeth with Princess Anne and the Queen Mother in pink at Royal Ascot, 1970.
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Now that’s a fashion statement! Princess Anne stepped out in chic emerald ensemble in for day three of the races in 2017.
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Princess Diana wore a suit like no other royal. In 1990, she opted for this Catherine Walker dusty pink and purple ensemble.
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Perhaps one of Princess Beatrice’s more demure looks, 2015.
Gertrude Shilling, a stalwart of outrageous fashion at the Berkshire race course. In 1969 she wore a show-stopping apricot number with an enormous, matching, cartwheel hat.
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Princess Michael of Kent was seen wearing a black and white outfit, including a large feathered hat and a post-surgery black velvet eye-patch, in 2016.
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Kate loves wearing white lace to the races, and why not when it looks so stunning! Here she is having a laugh in 2016.
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Diana poised in a polka dot day dress and matching hat designed by Victor Edelstein.