The Queen was greeted by huge cheers as she attended the first day of Royal Ascot, dressed in an elegant peach coat and dress by Stewart Parvin. Her thoughts were also with Prince Philip, who was unable to attend due to his recent stint in hospital.
Throughout the week, bookmakers were taking bets on the choice of colour for the Queen”s hat. Pink was the favourite at 4/1, while blue was also a popular choice with betting at 6/1.
PHOTOS TO SEE FULL GALLERY
Last year the Queen sat beside Prince Phillip in the royal procession at Ascot, dressed in an elegant mint green suit. The couple looked in good form, smiling and joking, despite Prince Phillip having been admitted to hospital two weeks before. The Royal Parade dates back to the 1820s and the Queen has attended the racing competition every year since 1945.
Following the royal procession along the Berkshire course, a moment”s silence was held in honour of Sir Henry Cecil. The Queen led the mark of respect for the legendary trainer who died aged 70 last Tuesday. During his lifetime, Sir Henry trained a record 75 Royal Ascot winning horses. Sir Henry Cecil will also be remembered on Friday with the Queen”s Vase race being run in his honour.
“Sir Henry was an intrinsic part of Royal Ascot with 75 winners over more than four decades,” said Johnny Weatherby, the Queen”s representative at Ascot.
The Queen is a keen supporter of Royal Ascot and is constantly kept informed of the order and the development of the racing programme throughout the year. She has owned 20 winning horses including Estimate, last year”s winner of the Queen”s Vase race and the hotly tipped favourite for the Gold Cup on Thursday. A win would be another celebration for the her majesty, who recently marked the 60 anniversary of her coronation.
For more than 300 years, Royal Ascot has become an integral part of the British social calendar. Immersed with tradition and pageantry, the event is attended by thousands of race-goers who are all dressed to impress. The five-day meeting commences with the Royal Procession through the Berkshire course. The arrival of the Queen and the royal party in horse-drawn landau carriages is televised each year.