Americans get Derby Day, but the British have the Royal Ascot, which is like the Kentucky Derby except it’s a week long and features various royals, carriages, and—well—fancy hats as well. No word on the mint julep situation.
The Royal Ascot is a horse race taking place over five days at Ascot Racecourse in the United Kingdom, and is a highlight of the horse racing calendar each June. The racecourse was founded by Queen Anne in 1711, and the royal family has been attending the event known as the Royal Ascott since 1911, when the first day of the event also marked the beginning of what is now known as Royal Week. This year was no exception: Queen Elizabeth II, who recently discovered the wonders of self-checkout at a supermarket; Kate Middleton; and Prince William were all in attendance this morning with umbrellas in tow.
Camilla Parker Bowles, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Zara Tindall, and more royals and royal-adjacents made their appearance on the first day of the Royal Ascot as well, making it a true family affair. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands joined in on the fun too.
Like the Kentucky Derby, the Royal Ascot has strict style rules for its attendees to abide by each year. For example, you won’t see any men attending without a top hat and a coattail, as demonstrated by Prince William and King Willem-Alexander. And typically, the women attending the Royal Ascot wear hats that rival those worn by preppy Americans on Derby Day every May. The headpieces worn by the British attendees of the Royal Ascot just happen to be much smaller in circumference than the Derby Day accessories.
Dressed in a cornflower blue dress (and matching hat), the Duchess of Cambridge matched with her grandmother-in-law, who wore a powder blue coat and flower hat to the race.
All we’re missing here are the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge—Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who will reportedly not attend the Royal Ascot this year and will spend the time taking care of Master Archie instead. Still, there’s always next year, and as we know, nothing brings a royal family together like a good old-fashioned horse race.