Royal Ascot - The Social Event of the Year at Ascot Racecourse

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    Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Arrive at Royal Ascot

    Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip Arrive at Royal Ascot
    Photo courtesy of Britain on View

    More Than a Race Meet, It's Like a Command Performance - And Oh Those Ascot Hats

    • What: The most social of the UK's very social flat racing events when the Queen comes to watch her thoroughbreds compete.
    • When: mid June (June 17-21 in 2008)
    • Where: Ascot Race Course in Berkshire, near Windsor
    • Admission: From £15 up to several hundred for ticket and hospitality packages. Admission to the Royal Enclosure requires application in advance and a sponsor.
    • Website
    They've been racing at Ascot for nearly three hundred years. The racecourse was established by Queen Anne in 1711. The Gold Cup, a famous flat race for four-year-olds celebrates its 200th running in 2007. That race is the main event of Ladies' Day, the Thursday of the Royal Ascot racing meet, when fashion and Ascot hats come out in force.

    There are 25 racing fixtures at Ascot but Royal Ascot is the most famous. The Queen and most members of the Royal Family attend. Unless you have applied in advance and have a sponsor you won't get in to the Royal Enclosure - where the punters wear formal morning dress - tail coats and top hats for men, smart, conservative dresses and suits - with magnificent hats - for women.

    Next: The Paddocks at Royal Ascot

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    Socialites and Horse Owners in The Paddocks Area at Royal Ascot, Berkshire

    The Paddocks Area at Royal Ascot, Berkshire
    Photo courtesy of Britain on View

    The General Admission Area, next to the Royal Enclosure, is the next best thing. Men are expected to wear suits and ties and women look very stylish. Racegoers who show up inappropriately dressed have been known to be turned away. The cheapest tickets are sold for the Silver Ring, for which there is no dress code.

    Next: Hats for Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot

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    Ladies Day at Royal Ascot When It's All About The Ascot Hats

    Ladies Day at Royal Ascot When It's All About The Hats
    Photo courtesy of Britain on View

    Tickets go on sale in January and Ladies' Day, when women wear the most outrageous hats, is always sold out first. Tickets for other days and for the less prestigious areas are usually available to the end of May.

    Next: Formal attire for the Gents

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    Gentlemen in the Formal Attire Required for The Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot

    Gentlemen in the Formal Attire Required for Royal Ascot
    Photo courtesy of Britain on View

    Next: Ladies fashions at Royal Ascot

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    Ladies' Day Fashions at Royal Ascot

    Well Dressed on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot
    Photo Courtesy of Britain on View

    The venerable Gold Cup is run on Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot, when everyone shows off the latest fashions and the loveliest (or most outrageous) hats. In 2007 the Gold Cup race was 200 years old - 100 years younger than the track.