ROYAL ASCOT, 2011, (Day One)
The London Season is in full swing. One of the most famous and prestigious race meetings in the horse racing world is Royal Ascot. Held annually at Ascot in Berkshire, not far from Windsor Castle, Royal Ascot is attended by royalty, celebrities and commoners. Queen Elizabeth II, who is a keen expert on racehorses, heads the list of luminaries who descend upon Ascot Racecourse every year. Royal Ascot is also well-known for the elegant frocks and sometimes outlandish hats worn by many of the ladies in attendance.
This year, on day one, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended, as did the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence. Also in attendance were Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York.
Royal Ascot is memorably depicted in the delightful film, “My Fair Lady.” Audrey Hepburn, as Eliza Doolittle, gracefully donned an elegant black-and-white gown and hat for the Ascot scene, which the designer Cecil Beaton created in shades of black and white. This year marks Royal Ascot’s 300th anniversary. To celebrate that milestone, model Anneka Tanaka-Svenska sported an elaborate costume with towering wig reminiscent of the days of Queen Anne, who in 1711, officially opened Ascot.
London’s ‘Daily Telegraph’ has aptly described the mystique attached to Royal Ascot: “To see and, more importantly, to be seen; that is one of the credos that has sustained Royal Ascot’s position as one of the ‘majors’ in the ‘season,’ the annual English summer social calendar that begins with the opening of the Royal Academy summer exhibition and ends after Cowes, when the landed gentry disappear north to bother the grouse.”