Royal Ascot: What is Ladies Day and why is it celebrated?

Gold Cup Day is the official name, but many refer to it as the colloquial term 'Ladies Day.' Credit: Pathe

Across the years, the third day of Royal Ascot has become one of, if not, the most popular and well-attended of the five day racing event.

Gold Cup Day is the official name, but many refer to it as the colloquial term 'Ladies Day.'

Traditionally Ladies Day was when women were given free or discounted tickets, but nowadays it's where the worlds of fashion and horse racing collide.

Credit: Pathe

Royal Ascot Commercial Director Felicity Barnard said: "Because of the world-famous and

fantastic racing we have on that day, I think it really becomes a focus for people during the week, to use that day to showcase what they're all about fashion-wise.

"So we always see some incredible millinery and of course now it isn't just for ladies to show how they're expressing themselves.

"We encourage everybody to use that and really go big and have some enjoyment."

Credit: Pathe

The earliest mention of the name Ladies' Day actually dates back to an early 19th-century poem which referred to: "Ladies' Day… when the women, like angels, look sweetly divine".

The poem's author remains unknown, but their words have endured.

Royal Ascot Race Director Nick Smith said: "Royal Ascot is as much a fashion event as it is a racing event and that's something we say with unashamed pride.

"We're very fortunate that none of the fashion is forced, there are no competitions for best-dressed lady or gentleman.

"It's all one organic, genuine fashion show of everybody wanting to dress up for the occasion."

From the very first Royal Ascot, the fashion on offer has presented a mix of the traditional and the eccentric.

And although the discount for ladies no longer exists, the desire to dress to impress most certainly does.