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The Queen could miss Royal Ascot for the first time in her 68-year reign


PHOTO: JAMES BROOKES

The Queen could be forced to miss Royal Ascot for the first time in her 68-year-reign as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.

Her Majesty, who turns 94-years-old next month, has never missed the five-day meeting in the entirety of her reign.

However, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the monarch may decide to stay away from the event as a precautionary measure.

Her Majesty has already cancelled a number of future engagements in what a Buckingham Palace spokesperson describes as being a “sensible precaution.

Due to The Queen’s advancing age, she is at a particular risk from the coronavirus COVID-19 which tends to discriminate against the elderly and those with respiratory problems.

However, the decision over whether Her Majesty attends Royal Ascot may be taken out of her hands entirely.

To try and delay the spread of the disease, it is expected that the British government will cancel large scale public events in line with other European countries.

Royal Ascot isn’t due to take place until the middle June meaning a decision on whether to cancel the race doesn’t have to be made immediately.

However, June is the point in time in which the government is hoping to delay the peak of the outbreak until.

It is hoped that delaying the peak of illness until the summer will alleviate pressure on the National Health Service.

Alternatively, instead of Royal Ascot being cancelled outright, it might still go ahead, but without spectators.

Holding the event ‘behind closed doors’ would mean racing can still go ahead, but only people who are absolutely necessary for the sport to continue will be allowed access.

This means only racing staff, trainers, vets and jockeys will be permitted, with spectators, including The Queen, having to watch the event on television at home.

Her Majesty could potentially still gain access to the event should she have a runner, as a limited number of owners will likely be granted admission.

Royal Ascot’s very history is tied in with royalty. The event was first opened by Queen Anne in 1711, and is now attended every year by Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family.

It’s one of the most important dates on the calendar for any fan of horseracing, fashion and royalty. Spectators enjoy the style and theatre of the show as much as the racing, and the rich history of the event gives a sense of true British culture.

Each race day begins with the royal procession, a horse-drawn ceremony in which members of the Royal Family process along the lap and through the Parade Ring before taking their place in the Royal Enclosure.

She is joined by different members of her family each day in the carriage procession, as well as friends and members of staff.