Royal Ascot Ladies Day A Pukka Royal Scene

22/06/2010

Taking the spotlight off the World Cup, the history and unique tradition of Royal Ascot week also attracted thousands of race-goers and visitors from around the world.  Fortunately the weather improved just in time for one of the most prestigious and glamorous flat racing events in the British sporting calendar, Royal Ascot Ladies Day 17 June '10.

Our family have attended Royal Ascot over decades, this year mum and I arrived mid morning at Royal Ascot racecourse just as some people were setting up picnics in the grounds of the car park. We made sure our hats were firmly in place and were keen to explore the refurbished buildings so we headed straight for the Royal Enclosure starting with a stroll in the gardens where various gourmet eateries, private clubs and champagne pavilions were located. A new striking bronze sculpture of a horse's head ‘The Mighty Head' by Sculptor Nick Fiddian-Green was the impressive exhibit featured in the garden this year. We covered a lot of ground walking around and saw the Pre-Parade ring where race horses are paraded and groomed also saw the BBC fashion catwalk area with designers showcasing intermittently and style competitions taking place throughout the day.

Just before 2pm we took our places in the Parade Ring to see all the jockeys make a brief appearance where the crowd cheered for one of the famous favourites Frankie Dettori. Soon after, our sovereign HM The Queen and HRH Prince Phillip arrived in a procession of open carriages followed by VIP guests and members of the Royal family. This was a perfect photo opportunity for me to take photos of The Queen, Prince Phillip and members of the Royal family, a pukka Royal Ascot scene. After The Queen left the Parade Ring we went down onto the Parade lawn where HRH Princess Anne was talking to ex-jockey and commentator Willy Carson also present were the Countess of Wessex and HRH Prince & Princess Michael of Kent the latter whom we chatted to as their daughter Gabriella went to the same school as me, Queens Gate.

We'd spotted show business celebrities in the Royal Enclosure including Sir Bruce Forsyth and his wife Wilnelia, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Anthony Worall Thompson and TV Sports Presenters Clare Balding and Rishi Persad.

Many people at Ascot were focused on their race cards studying the odds and information on jockeys and horses while others like me just had a little flutter for fun placing a minimal bet. Watching races in the viewing area was quite thrilling for everyone and people yelled with great excitement when they saw their horse approaching the winning post.

Apart from racing and betting, fashion is the highlight on Ladies Day where one can see sensational hats of every description and colour making the event an all-day fashion parade.  It was great fun looking at ladies' fabulous outfits and millinery.  Women outdo each other wearing wacky hats for example we saw hats decorated with sweets, cupcakes and a giant heart. Ladies wearing hats decorated with huge plumes of hot pink, purple and yellow feathers looked like they'd stepped out of the musical La Cage aux Folles.  Many ladies opted for couture outfits, vintage glamour and classic chic which I prefer. 

Earlier whilst waiting in the Parade Ring for the Queen to arrive, I took photos of a sophisticated mature lady standing confidently on her own in a flowery dress with huge puff sleeves and a tubular hat creation resembling a modern art sculpture in bright pink - she was possibly a regular Royal Ascot attendee and was a perfect example of English eccentricity at its best!  It was also lovely to see men in traditional old English attire top hats, tails and fancy waistcoats looking extremely smart, a rare sight these days. Some hats blew off in occasional gusts of wind but we managed to keep our hats on the whole time which was good however our shoes irritated us with all the walking.

Merry race goers had a terrific time swigging champagne, socialising throughout the day and watching races in between. For those who appreciate traditional British sporting events Royal Ascot is a most enjoyable experience and a highly recommended outing.  Shall start thinking about what to wear next year!

©Article/photos by Gina Chrysanthou

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HRH Princess Anne & Willie Carson   HRH Princess Michael of Kent

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Amita Chatterji                              Gina Chrysanthou, Pukka PR

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Gina by 'The Mighty Head' sculpture      Guest at Parade Ring

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Her Majesty The Queen and HRH Prince Phillip

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Top left Princess Beatrice, right HRH Princess Anne, bottom left HRH Prince Phillip, bottom right HM The Queen

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Rishi Persad interviews Frankie Dettori

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                                                   Jockey Frankie Dettori

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Parade Ring

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Band playing in Parade Ring

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Royal Encosure Gardens

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Royal Enclosure Concourse

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Gina with friends in Royal Enclosure Gardens

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Please click link to view full collection of Gina's photos in Gallery:  http://www.pukkapr.com/gallery/

Invite you to also read poem A British Tradition - Ladies Day Royal Ascot '89 by Amita Chatterji http://www.pukkapr.com/news/view.aspx?id=10

 

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