LONDON ( Associated Press) – There are hats that are highly feathered, anti-gravity, or just plain wacky: and then there are Royal Ascot hats.
Every June, Britain’s royals, aristocrats and thousands of stylish guests wear their finest hats for the Royal Ascot, a lucrative annual horse racing event that dates back to 1711, when Queen Anne founded Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, southern England. Was.
The week-long Bonanza is Britain’s most popular race meet, with around 300,000 visitors participating over five days. It is a place to see and be seen, and photographers are spoiled for choice every year with show-stopping hats and frocks for women and formal top hats and tails for men.
Queen Elizabeth II, an avid horse lover and owner and breeder of many horses, did not attend the event this year – reportedly the first time the 96-year-old monarch has missed Ascot in 70 years. Instead, Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate and other royals took their places in the traditional carriage procession.
This year’s Ascot coincided with a mini heatwave that scorched Britain and parts of Europe in the scorching sun, with temperatures reaching nearly 33 degrees Celsius on Friday, the hottest day of the year in Britain so far as horses cooled Fans and buckets of ice water were poured over them, while guests were told that Ascot’s famously strict dress code had been relaxed for protection from the heat.
Men were allowed to remove their jackets, ties and top hats – but only in the afternoon, after the traditional carriage procession by members of the royal family had ended.
Long days of sunshine, betting and flowing wine proved too much for some guests, who were pictured kicking their stilettos and lying on the lawn next to empty jugs of Pimms and Champagne bottles.