Royal Ascot - A Royal History

Royal Ascot’s beginnings are far from humble: in 1711, it was Queen Anne who originally put forward the idea of a Royal horse race at Ascot (which was called East Cote, in those days). Plans were put in motion to design a track for the race, and the first meeting was held on 11th August of that year. Initially, these races were focused on the stamina and strength of the horses, but over the years, the emphasis became less concerned with stamina and more with speed.

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In the Regency era, The Prince Regent was exceptionally fond of the races. In 1813, Parliament passed an Act of Enclosure, ensuring that the area would be kept and used as a racecourse for the public in the future. The Prince Regent was friends with the famous dandy Beau Brummell, a man who shared the Prince's appreciation for fine clothes, excessive food, gambling and womanising.

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In fact, it was the Prince who ordered the construction of a new stand in 1820, to house exclusive guests of the Royal Family at the event. This stand was officially named the Royal Enclosure, in 1845, and was extremely exclusive - one could only attend by invitation from King George III himself.

Famously, Brummell and the Prince Regent came to vicious blows and their friendship was bitterly dissolved, but through the influence of both Beau and the Prince Regent, Royal Ascot became a sartorial affair – and remains one today.

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Since Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952, she has continued the strong Royal links with Ascot. The Queen has a great passion for horses, has had 71 winners and she has attended every Royal Meeting during her reign.

These days, Ascot holds many races each year, but the only time it is referred to as Royal Ascot is when the Queen attends for the five-day race meeting in June. In 2002, The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, and in honour of this event, the race known as the Golden Jubilee Stakes was rechristened as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

If you’re attending Royal Ascot this year and you’re lucky enough to be in Royal Enclosure, you might spot members of the Royal Family and the Queen herself. Most important for this area is the dress code and wearing the right outfit for the occasion is essential. Our Dressing for Ascot guide has all the details you need.

Whichever enclosure you're in, a day at the races is guaranteed to be a sartorial affair. Yardsmen has an exclusive offer available throughout the Royal Ascot event, so book your appointment for a fitting now.

Read more -
Royal Ascot - An introduction
Dressing for Ascot
Dress Codes Decoded