The Royal Ascot meeting is held for traditionally five days every year in the middle of June. This year, it will be held from June 11 to 15, with the following year’s date being decided after the current year’s event is over. It is a major event in the British social calendar and sees the attendance of the royal family and the elite of British society. The annual race meeting, which occurs at the Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England, has continued to be a mix of pomp, tradition, fashion, class distinction, and sport since being established many years ago.
History of Royal Ascot
Queen Anne first saw the potential of a racecourse for Ascot while she was out riding and came across an area of open heath, not far from Windsor Castle. It looked to her like an ideal place for “horses to gallop at full stretch.” So, the first race meeting ever held at Ascot took place on August 11 in 1711. The Royal Ascot meeting evolved from the first four-day race meeting held at Ascot in 1768 but, the meeting as we know it today only started taking shape with the introduction of The Gold Cup in 1807.
Racing at Ascot started becoming very popular and in 1813, the Act of Enclosure was passed by Parliament. This act ensured that Ascot Heath, which was the property of the crown, would be kept and used as a racecourse for the public in the future. Today, the place is managed by the Ascot Authority, created by an Act of Parliament, which was passed in 1913.
The Gold Cup remains the feature race of the third day of Royal Ascot and is traditionally the busiest day of the week. This is the day when high fashion and exquisite millinery take the spotlight along with flat racing’s most elite stayers. The Gold Cup is staged over two-and-a-half miles, which makes it a tough test for even the world’s most accomplished long-distance horses.
Though each of the five days has its highlights, it is the opening day that remains special simply because it attracts a full cadre of royals while also limiting admission to the Royal Enclosure, where members can attend by invitation only.
Royal Ascot timeline
Queen Anne finds the Ascot Racecourse a suitable place for horses to race.
The Royal Ascot meet evolves from the first four-day race meeting held at Ascot.
A temporary stand is established during the Royal Meeting leading to the first reference of a Royal Stand.
The Gold Cup is first introduced to the Royal Ascot.
Royal Ascot FAQs
Does the Royal Ascot get rowdy?
Although it is widely considered to be a classy event, things can still get a little out of hand. Security has been improved in recent years due to fights and drunken brawls during horse races. Officials try their best to ensure that people behave well in the presence of royals.
Can anyone go to the Royal Ascot?
The Royal Enclosure is open to members only, whereas the Queen Anne Enclosure is available for general admission. Tickets to various enclosures are different with each having a separate seating area, view, and dress code.
How do you get invited to the Royal Ascot?
Membership to the Royal Enclosure is by invitation only up to this day and requires a lot of planning. A person needs to be sponsored by two members who have attended the Royal Meeting for at least four years and to reapply each year. Despite this, membership is not guaranteed.
Royal Ascot Activities
Attend the Royal Ascot
Book your tickets to watch the event for yourself! You can choose which enclosures to watch from with the ticket prices varying accordingly. You can attend the entire event or just for a few days.
Watch the races
Watch the race and commentaries live online if you can’t attend the Royal Ascot physically. Call your friends, follow the dress code, get some snacks, bet amongst yourselves, and have a Royal Ascot-themed party.
Get into horse racing
Learn more about horse racing and how betting works to truly enjoy the Royal Ascot experience. Take horse riding lessons yourself if you’re interested!
5 Facts About The Royal Ascot That Will Blow Your Mind
The Black Ascot
King Edward VII, a great supporter of racing, died shortly before the event in 1910 and so it was decided that the races be conducted in mourning, with racegoers all wearing black.
Although the dress code is different for each enclosure, formal wear with the inclusion of a top hat or a headpiece is a staple for all the attendees.
Royal meeting in York
The Royal Meeting was held in York between 2004 and 2006 while the traditional venue underwent a major facelift.
The 11-year-old rider
One of the starters for the Wokingham Stakes was ridden by an 11-year-old boy.
Top hats are a must
Men in the Royal Enclosure must wear top hats during the event and can only remove them at a restaurant, a private club, a private box, or the facility's terrace, balcony, or garden.
Why We Love Royal Ascot
It has a long history
The Royal Ascot can easily be called one of the oldest continuously running sporting events —-one that even boasts of patronage from the Royal household. A British monarch attends the event every year. The tournament counts several famous historical figures as its attendees and continues to attract many important personalities.
It’s a cultural event
More than just a sports showcase, the Royal Ascot has become an important symbol of British heritage. It is a must in the world of high-society Britain and serves as the place where many cultural and fashion trends have emerged.
It’s important in the horseracing world
The Royal Ascot is undoubtedly the most valuable race meeting in Britain and attracts some of the world's finest racehorses to compete for millions of pounds worth of prize money. Around 500 horses race over five days.
Royal Ascot dates