King and Queen arrive to begin new era for Royal Ascot

The King and Queen arriving on day one of Royal Ascot. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The King and Queen heralded a new era for Royal Ascot when they attended the sporting event for the first time in their new roles, wishing racegoers luck.

Charles and Camilla swept on to the Berkshire course in the traditional carriage procession, and in a joint foreword for the official programme paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s “lifelong interest” in Royal Ascot.

The couple, both fans of racing, waved to the crowds who filled the grandstand on the first of five days of racing and were joined by the Duke and Duchess of Wellington in their carriage.

Behind them travelled the Princess Royal with Camilla’s younger sister Annabel Elliot, the Queen’s nephew Sir Ben Elliot, former co-chair of the Conservative Party knighted in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list, and his wife Lady Elliot, daughter of musician Steve Winwood.

The carriage of the King and Queen, the Duke of Wellington and the Duchess of Wellington arrives Credit: David Davies/PA

The late Queen was a passionate racehorse breeder and had more than 20 Royal Ascot winners during her 70-year reign, and in memory of her commitment to the event the Platinum Jubilee Stakes has been renamed the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee stakes.

Before the carriage rides possession footage from the Queen’s most memorable Royal Ascot moments was played on the big screens and was applauded by the crowds at the end.

Charles and his wife, who have taken on the late monarch’s thoroughbreds, will be carrying on her tradition and have entered a string of horses over the next five days.

The official programme featured Charles and Camilla’s intertwined cyphers on the cover and in their joint foreword said: “We are happy in the knowledge that this historic race meeting continues to be a key influence on the global racing and breeding industries.

“The royal meeting always played a central role in her late majesty Queen Elizabeth’s calendar and the naming of the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes will be a most appropriate way to mark this lifelong interest.

“A photographic exhibition in the Grandstand will also celebrate the late Queen’s close association with Royal Ascot, including images of some of her 24 winners.

“We are sure that this exhibition will prompt many happy memories.”

The King arrives at Royal Ascot Credit: David Davies/PA

They went on to say: “Finally, we wish the very best of good fortune to all the owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys and hardworking stable staff with runners this week.

“It is a huge and rare achievement to have a runner at Royal Ascot and we very much hope that you all enjoy the experience.”