If there’s one horse racing festival in the country that loves tradition more than any other it has to be Royal Ascot. The pomp and ceremony that takes place during this glorious week of racing each June really is a spectacle to behold.
Horse-drawn carriages, champagne aplenty and orchestral music playing under a dazzling blue sky is a long way off the wet and windy conditions of Musselburgh, Ayr and Doncaster in the depths of winter.
Ascot is full of traditions and one of the longest is the Royal Procession. If you’ve never seen it before you might wonder what on earth all the fuss is about. Well, Paddy Power is here to explain all in our latest Demystifying Racing guide!
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What is the Royal Procession at Royal Ascot?
The Royal Procession is a tradition at Ascot that goes back to 1985, when King George IV paraded in front of racegoers before taking his position to watch the festival. In modern times the Queen would arrive for the start of all five racedays at 2pm on a horse-drawn carriage from the Royal Gates at one end of the racecourse.
The carriages, known as Ascot Landaus, seat four people and the Queen’s was drawn by Windsor Grey horses. Usually another member of the royal family accompanied the Queen, such as Charles or Camilla, along with two other members of the aristocracy.
The carriages go along the Straight Mile and stop at the parade ring. The procession starts at 2pm each day.
It is not yet known if King Charles will attend all five days of Ascot in 2023.
There was concern in 2021 that the Queen would miss the entirety of Ascot and indeed wasn’t present for the first four days of the festival, including Ladies Day. But she did attend on the fifth day with crowds limited due to Covid-19 restrictions. She didn’t, however, attend any of the five days in 2022.
Can you bet on the King at Royal Ascot?
Yes! You can place a bet on the King at Royal Ascot but it’s not quite the same as racing betting. Rather, markets open on what colour the King’s tie will be on day one of the festival. It’s hardly an exact science but in 2019 punters could get a price of 14/1 on the late Queen’s hat being orange. As it happens she wore blue – the pre-Royal Procession favourite at 11/10.
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