Prince Harry joins the Queen for Royal Ascot

Prince Harry in his traditional Ascot headgear. Credit: Press Association

Prince Harry joined the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh today for the start of the Royal Ascot racing week.

The Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and the Countess of Wessex were also in attendance.

Prince Harry studies his race card, next to his cousin Princess Beatrice. Credit: Press Association
Prince Harry takes a break. Credit: Press Association

The Royal Meeting, held annually in the third week in June, is steeped in tradition and pageantry.

Each day begins with the Royal Procession - the arrival of The Queen and the royal party in horse-drawn landaus, which parade along the course in front of the race-goers.

The procession dates back to the 1820s and the reign of King George IV.

The Queen arrives with Princes Harry, Andrew and Philip. Credit: Press Association

The centre of the meeting is the Royal Enclosure, where ladies are required to wear formal day wear and gentlemen top hats and morning dress.

The Queen takes a personal interest in proceedings on the course: she has owned 22 Royal Ascot winners.

Royal Ascot's most famous racehorse owner arrives with her husband. Credit: Press Association
Crowds packed Ascot's grandstand. Credit: Press Association
Ascot's dress code is famously strict. Credit: Press Association
Ladies in the Royal Enclosure must wear a hat: beyond that, the choice is theirs. Credit: Press Association