As Royal Ascot approaches, horse racing fans begin to anticipate the winners and losers of the event. But one of the main features of Royal Ascot is, of course, the attendance of the Queen and members of the Royal family. As the name suggests, this competition has a rich royal history, but it’s only actually called Royal Ascot when the Queen attends – here’s how Ascot’s heritage ties in with the Royals and how it originated.
1711 – Queen Anne’s Pursues her Passion for Racing
The 300-year-old history of racing at Ascot dates back to 1711 when Queen Anne initially came up with the idea in order to pursue her passion for horse racing. Queen Anne’s racecourse appeared near Ascot village which was close to where her hunting hounds were kennelled. In July 1711, the first announcements were made that 50 and 100 guineas would be provided as a prize for the competition at the new course that would be completed the following month. The day before the race was due to commence, author Jonathon Swift wrote that “much company is come to town this evening to see tomorrow’s race”, indicating that Ascot has been popular from the very beginning. Ascot races quickly became a popular social event.
1720 – Ascot Returns
Following the death of Anne, racing at Ascot disappeared under the rule of King George I as he despised sport of any kind. Ascot returned in 1720 and gained popularity once more as one of the most famous racing venues in the country. It was King George IV who initiated the first royal carriage procession on the track in 1825, a tradition that has remained ever since and is now one of the most famous features of this event. It was around this time that Ascot started to become a popular event for those looking to gamble and bet on races.
Modern Day Royal Ascot
Today, Royal Ascot is a hugely popular event with hundreds of thousands of attendees each year. Ascot is well-known for being an extravagant affair as well, and over the years this has become a prominent feature of the races. Visitors and celebrity attendees alike dress up, although those visiting the Royal Enclosure are still the most glamorous of all attendees to Royal Ascot, with stylish gowns and hats.
Every year, the event is attended by the Queen, along with the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and other members of the Royal family in horse-drawn carriages. The Royal Enclosure is the most prestigious of Ascot’s three enclosures and is where the Royals sit to watch the races. Entry to this enclosure is a strictly regularly and monitored area of the racecourse in order to maintain security of the Queen, but if you can’t get into the Royal enclosure, you can always check who won the races at thewinnersenclosure.com. Throughout its history, Royal Ascot has been a popular event with the Royal family and the Queen is no exception – she has yet to miss attending Ascot and actually owns several horses that have competed over the years.