Queen Elizabeth hails thrill of Royal Ascot as racegoers hope for visit

Queen said it was 'thrilling' that meet was back after 'challenges of recent times'

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Racegoers at Royal Ascot are hoping Queen Elizabeth II will make a special visit to the grounds this week.

She was not there on Tuesday for the traditional pre-race parade over the course but spectators still hope to see her at some point during the festival.

Writing in the official programme, the queen — a dedicated racehorse owner and breeder — said it was “thrilling” that the meet was back after “the challenges of recent times”.

The country has marked her platinum jubilee with a series of celebrations and parties, but the 96-year-old monarch has been suffering from mobility issues and has had to pull out of some high-profile events, sending her son, Prince Charles, to appear in her place.

The queen has more than 10 horses entered in various races over the five days of the event and her Windsor Castle home is only a 15-minute drive away.

Racegoers wait for the royal procession at Royal Ascot 2022. Getty Images

So far, it seems that royal substitutes will be at the event this week, but that has not stopped spectators hoping for a change in the programme.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall led the royal party on Tuesday and took part in the traditional carriage procession along the course before racing begins.

They were followed by the Princess Royal and other members of the royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Royal Ascot is as much a social occasion as a sporting event. Getty Images

Princess Beatrice and her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, also attended.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, was also at the event.

Writing in the official programme, the queen said: “After the challenges of recent times, this year's royal meeting provides a long-awaited opportunity for supporters of racing from all over the world to come together for five days of outstanding sport.

“Once again, it is thrilling that horses from around the globe have travelled to Royal Ascot to compete at the highest level.”

Reach For The Moon, the queen’s horse which missed out on being entered for the Epsom Derby, is the favourite to win the Hampton Court Stakes on Thursday, with jockey Frankie Dettori taking the reins.

Royal Ascot is as much a social occasion as a sporting event and racegoers wore summer dresses, flamboyant hats and tails.

Sisters Anastasia and Maria Tutus wore colourful hats in honour of their mother's homeland, Ukraine.

Anastasia, 19, from Ascot, said: “We're both wearing modernised versions of traditional Ukrainian headdresses. We wanted to show we can celebrate Ukraine despite all that is happening in the country.”

Updated: June 14, 2022, 6:31 PM
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