The Queen’s attendance continues to be a highlight at Royal Ascot

PUBLISHED: 14:17 05 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:17 05 June 2018

Ever since Queen Anne claimed in 1711 that a field not far from Windsor Castle would be “a fine place for a race”, Royal Ascot has grown in prestige as one of the UK’s most celebrated horse racing festivals. It now welcomes an estimated 300,000 visitors, who travel the length and breadth of the British Isles just to feel a part of history.

The Royal Ascot festival sets itself aside from others through its royal element, with HM The Queen visiting on an annual basis. Her Majesty attends a lot of the UK’s biggest horse racing events, but Royal Ascot is famed for its elaborate royal procession – which some rank as being more desirable to watch than the actual racing.

History behind the Monarchy’s influence

The first race took place in the same year of Queen Anne’s decision to build a racecourse. It was named Her Majesty’s Plate. By the start of the 1800s, the British parliament pushed an act which would assure Ascot as a public racecourse. A new £10,000 grandstand was built, offering more space to a greater number of visitors. Over time more legislation was approved, guaranteeing far more accessibility to the racecourse and improvements to the races it held.

Since day one, Royal Ascot has been a massive part of the racecourse. Members of the royal family, including The Queen, attend every year. The royal procession starts each day’s racing, with horse-drawn carriage, full of British royalty, parading through the racecourse and riding across the racetrack. The chance to see The Queen is enough to attract a swarm of tourists into Berkshire, which benefits both Royal Ascot’s organisers and the surrounding area. 

The Queen, unsurprisingly, has the final say

The Queen herself has been accredited with having the final say on absolutely everything at Royal Ascot. She works alongside chairman Johnny Weatherby to get an understanding of Ascot, and gives the word on any changes. Her influence covers how visitors must act in terms of conduct and specifications of the enforced formal dress code.

The Royal Family is still one of the most celebrated reasons to visit the UK, Royal Ascot and the county of Berkshire. Back in 2013, the British Tourism Agency reported that an estimated £500 million is brought into Britain every year by visitors wishing to see both the Royal Family and historical sites linked to them such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. As Royal Ascot brings in such a hefty number of visitors and an even larger sum of money to the country, it’s only right that the Royal Family is seen as a big part of what makes the festival so timeless.

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