Racegoers have frocked up to fill the stands at Royal Ascot for the first time since the pandemic.
The event came “back to life” after welcoming thousands of racegoers and the monarchy led by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall crowded in for a day of racing.The Queen was missing from the sporting event she is passionate about but is likely to have watched proceedings on television from Windsor Castle, and been kept abreast of developments by her racing advisor.
The Royal Ascot is as much a social occasion as a sporting event with racegoers wearing summer dresses and flamboyant hats, as well as top hats and tails.
And this year's event was no different, as vivid hues, floral prints and towering headwear filled the racecourse.
The event is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar, but is also a chance for many to dress up in their finest clothes.
Milliner Viv Jenner was wearing an outlandish wide-brimmed hat she had created, and was happy to see the stands filled after last year when numbers were limited to 12,000-a-day as part of the Government’s Events Research Programme.
She said: “It’s amazing to have people back and not having the social distancing – it’s great to see. And it’s buzzing here and I’m loving it.
“It’s been empty the past few years, now finally Ascot is back to life.”
Sisters Anastasia and Maria Tutus wore colourful hats in honour of their mother’s homeland, Ukraine.
Anastasia, 19, from Ascot, said: “We’re both wearing modernised versions of traditional Ukrainian headdresses. We wanted to show we can celebrate Ukraine despite all that is happening in the country.”
The event witnessed a royal theme in the year the Queen marked her Platinum Jubilee.
Princess Beatrice was among the royals attending.
And Zara Tindall was spotted joking and laughing with her uncle Charles and at one point put her arm around the future king as they chatted.
Other racegoers photographed among the crowds included the Duchess of Cambridge’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton.
Later in the royal box, Charles and Camilla stood clutching official programmes as they watched the racing from a balcony with Sophie, and they both looked through binoculars as they followed the horses around the course.
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