Royal Ascot 2018
This year’s five-day royal meeting was truly blessed as the weather was glorious throughout. It will also be remembered for the appearance on the opening day of the recently married Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the royal procession. The Duchess wore a white Givenchy dress and a black and white Philip Treacy hat in a tribute to Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and presented the trophy in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Royal Ascot is H.M. The Queen’s favourite week of the year. She attends each day and bets are taken on her hat. On the opening day there were three victories for the popular jockey Frankie Dettori. It was also my personal best with bets in over 40 years of attending Royal Ascot as I had one winner at 33-1, another at 10-1 and three places which financed the entire week!
The standard of fashion was, overall, extremely high as the dress code, which included a ban on fascinators, was strictly enforced. The results were excellent. There was also a particularly heavy security presence to ensure safety and good behaviour.
The Royal Enclosure has been gradually expanding and this year the new Rose Bar and the Rose Restaurant, with tables charmingly decorated with a rose, were linked to its lawns by skilled landscaping. A spacious new restaurant, The Balmoral, was opened nearby too.
There were numerous changes to the restaurants in the Grandstand. The Windsor Forest Restaurant, which has also recently opened, had fine floral decorations and superb views of the course as well as offering cuisine by the noted Parisian chef Lenôtre. The prestigious Parade Ring Restaurant also had some wonderful floral displays. There were also changes to the décor of the Panoramic Restaurant at the highest point of the Grandstand.
You could admire special fashion displays from all 53 Commonwealth countries. A selection of fascinating photographs from previous royal meetings on the walls of the Grandstand illustrated the way fashions at the royal meeting have changed over the years.
Each year this showcase for British fashion brings us international racing of the highest standard in a royal event where beauty, excitement and spectacle are uniquely mixed.