Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ascot, England - Royal Ascot 2013

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to attend the Royal Ascot, one of Europe's most famous horse race meetings and a real pinnacle of the British social calendar. I've dreamt about going for ages now and was so thrilled to be invited this year.

We began the day with a tailgate in the prestigious Car Park No. 1. 

"The best picnics before racing are likely to be found in Car Park No 1, where spaces are still handed down through the generations as important family heirlooms. If you are lucky your host will have sent his butler, his family silver and starched tablecloth on earlier in the second Rolls to set up the table under a gazebo should it rain." -The Telegraph

After a few bottles of champagne, we proceeded into the Royal Enclosure, which is a special viewing area reserved for those sponsored by someone who has attended four times in the past. Here's a look at my outfit and my John Boyd Royal Milliner hat: 

These were the two most outlandish hats I saw during the day. I was in the restroom with the woman in the swan wing-looking hat, and the only way she could get in and out of the loo was by walking sideways!

The horses are walked around for viewing before their races:

We stopped for more bubbly at the member's only Turf Club dining club ...

Our lovely hosts for the day included the quintessential British gentleman, Rupert Irby, and his American wife Karen:

Around 2pm, right before the first races began, we went to the race track to see the Royal carriage procession.

The Royal box is the glassed in balcony in the middle:

It really was quite a treat to get within feet of the Royal Family!

Here's a look at the ladies ...

... and the gentleman in top hats and tails:

We spent the rest of the day watching the races and cheering on our horses ... 

Between the people watching, the amazing hats, the company of good friends and the excitement of winning some money on the horse races, it was a truly memorable experience that I can now cross off my bucket list. 

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