For the first time since her coronation, Queen Elizabeth missed the Royal Ascot racehorses, one of her favorite events of the year and where she’s been a fixture for the last seven decades with many of her horses often competing.
In her stead, Kate Middleton and Prince William, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, made a surprise appearance on day four of the 2022 iconic Royal Ascot races, leading the royal family in the carriage processional that traditionally travels along the famous track before the beginning of the races.
Prince William dressed in a top hat and tailcoat, while Kate was radiant in a brown- and-white polka dotted dress by Alessandra Rich paired with a hat featuring floral details on top by Sally-Ann Provan and accessorized with the South-Sea pearl earrings that belonged to Princess Diana.
The sweltering heat was one of the fixtures of the 2022 Royal Ascot as temperatures hit close to 90º which was reported as a possible reason for the queen’s absence given her age and frail constitution.
Too hot for dress code
The event welcomes some 300,000 racegoers, including members of the British royal house and national and international celebrities, over five days, all gussied up in their finest clothes and hats. In the Royal Enclosure, men must wear a top hat, a vest or waistcoat and tailcoat. Women must wear hats and make sure their dresses are of modest length and comply with required formal day wear.
This year, the hot weather triggered unexpected changes at Ascot and for the first time, event officials relaxed the dress code by allowing men to remove their jackets and ties and allowing people to bring water and soft drinks to the arena.
Flamboyant show of fashion and horses
The strict dress code at that most quintessentially English racing event gives way to a flamboyant show of fashion eccentricity, wacky hats, fun and glamor that are as much a feature of the races as the horses themselves.
Since its inauguration in 1711, Royal Ascot is one of the world’s most important races, attracting many of the finest racehorses from around the globe competing for millions in prize money.
The equine competition is one of the top fashion events on the British calendar, with celebrities, supermodels, aristocrats and other racegoers parading in their most extravagant sartorial splendor.