Fashionistas under starter’s orders as Royal Ascot begins

The Queen will join thousands of racegoers for the start of Royal Ascot – a firm fixture in the royal calendar.

The event is regularly attended by the Queen who is a keen horse owner and passionate breeder of thoroughbreds, with more than 20 Royal Ascot winners.

A carriage procession, with the Queen at its head, signals the start of each day of the event, and racegoers are always keen to see the monarch’s guests riding in the coaches.

There is speculation the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge may join the head of state in the royal box this week but with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex looking after six-week-old baby Archie, it remains to be seen if they will attend.

Royal Ascot is a much a social occasion as a sporting event and racegoers take the opportunity to turn on the style, from chic hats and summer dresses to sharp suits.

Punters traditionally have a bet on the colour of the Queen’s hat with pink the favourite with bookies William Hill for the first day.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: “The Queen’s hat is one of the public’s favourite fun bets and with the rain expected to hold off, the money says she will be pretty in pink.”

Royal Ascot is the Olympics of flat racing and William Hill predict as much as £150 million will be wagered across the industry this week.