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Kate Middleton joins the Queen’s carriage procession at Royal Ascot

The Duchess of Cambridge was the picture of elegance in a delicate designer ensemble as she joined the Queen at Royal Ascot this afternoon.

Kate, 37, donned a blue lace creation by A-list favourite Elie Saab as she joined the Queen, 93, husband Prince William, 36, and Prince Charles, 70, and the Duchess of Cornwall, 70, for the traditional carriage procession, which marks the official start of the day’s races.

Also in attendance were Princess Eugenie, Zara Phillips, Sophie Wessex and Queen Maxima and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who yesterday attended the Order of the Garter Service at Windsor Castle.

In typically good spirits, Queen Maxima beamed as she waved through the window to well-wishers as the carriage trundled past. 

Royal Ascot, the jewel in the crown of the UK racing calendar, starts today with the Queen Anne Stakes and will run until Saturday.   

The five-day racing festival is one of the most glittering events in the summer social calendar, and guests did not disappoint in the fashion stakes as they arrived at the Berkshire course dressed to the nines in vibrant dresses, dapper morning suits, and extravagant hats adorned with flowers, racehorses and bees. 

Royal blue! The Duchess of Cambridge joined Prince William and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, left, at Royal Ascot 

Royal arrival: The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in a carriage with William and Charles

Royal arrival: The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in a carriage with William and Charles

Family outing! The Queen was joined by senior royals including Sophie Wessex at Royal Ascot this afternoon

Sophie, Countess of Wessex arrives at Royal Ascot today

Family outing! The Queen, left, was joined by senior royals including Sophie Wessex, right, at Royal Ascot this afternoon

Race day ready: Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge both smiled as they arrived for Royal Ascot this afternoon

Race day ready: Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge both smiled as they arrived for Royal Ascot this afternoon  

Light-hearted moment: The Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex share a joke

Kate in Elie Saab

Light-hearted moment: The Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex share a joke, left. Right, Kate in Elie Saab

VIP: Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, right, was given the honour of sitting beside the Queen in her carriage this afternoon

VIP: Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, right, was given the honour of sitting beside the Queen in her carriage this afternoon

Touchy feely: Zara puts an affectionate arm around her uncle Prince Charles shoulders

Zara chats to Kate at Royal Ascot

Touchy feely: Zara puts an affectionate arm around her uncle Prince Charles shoulders, left, and chats to Kate, right

Catching up: Princess Eugenie, Zara Phillips and the Duchess of Cambridge spend time together at Royal Ascot today

Catching up: Princess Eugenie, Zara Phillips and the Duchess of Cambridge spend time together at Royal Ascot today

Plenty to smile about! King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Mike Tindall was in high spirits and teased Prince William as their wives looked on

Plenty to smile about! King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, left, looked in typically good spirits. Right, Mike Tindall was in high spirits and teased Prince William as their wives looked on

Royal hosts: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak to King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Royal hosts: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak to King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

 

TV presenters, models and society beauties led the glamour as Royal Ascot kicked off in style today. 

Lady Kitty Spencer, Kirsty Gallacher and Charlotte Hawkins were among the well-dressed racegoers who pulled out all the fashion stops and refused to let a bit of rain dampen their fun. 

Crisp white summer dresses, statement jumpsuits and hats decorated with bees were all on display as thousands of revellers descended on the Berkshire racecourse this morning.  

Lady Wilnelia Merced with a guest

Summer style: Suits and dresses were both on show as racegoers arrived

Summer style: Lady Wilnelia Merced attended with a guest, left. Right, women give a masterclass in summer style

Sticking to the theme! Rebecca Johnson flashes a beautiful smile in her customised Royal Ascot hat at the course today

Sticking to the theme! Rebecca Johnson flashes a beautiful smile in her customised Royal Ascot hat at the course today

Feathered fancies: Feathered fancies: Head-to-toe orange was one racegoer's bold look

Zara Sassoon in a frothy white ensemble

Feathered fancies: Head-to-toe orange was one racegoer’s bold look, left. Right, Zara Sassoon in a frothy white ensemble

More is more! Ines Hernandez from the Dominican Republic, left, wore a gloriously eye-catching hat for the occasion

More is more! Ines Hernandez from the Dominican Republic, left, wore a gloriously eye-catching hat for the occasion

Time for a selfie! Glamorous racegoers arrive for the first day of Royal Ascot as the five-day festival gets underway

Time for a selfie! Glamorous racegoers arrive for the first day of Royal Ascot as the five-day festival gets underway

Dream team! Racegoers pose for a snap on their way in

Rebecca Johnson matches with her Royal Ascot date

Dream team! Racegoers pose for a snap on their way in, left. Right, Rebecca Johnson matches with her Royal Ascot date

Starting young! Dapper Chase Spranklin, 10, from Florida, was dressed to the nines for his outing to Royal Ascot today

Starting young! Dapper Chase Spranklin, 10, from Florida, was dressed to the nines for his outing to Royal Ascot today

Think pink! Whether it was floral (as seen on interior designer) Anouska Lancaster

FLoral fancy: A racegoer in a garden-inspired hat

Think pink! Whether it was floral (as seen on interior designer Anouska Lancaster, left) or feathers, pink was popular

Bringing a splash of colour: Elegant racegoers beam for the cameras as they soak up the atmosphere at Royal Ascot

Bringing a splash of colour: Elegant racegoers beam for the cameras as they soak up the atmosphere at Royal Ascot

Setting up camp: One of the favourite bits about Royal Ascot for many people is the picnic that takes place outside, pictured

Setting up camp: One of the favourite bits about Royal Ascot for many people is the picnic that takes place outside, pictured

Watch the hat! Designer Amanda Wakeley whips out an umbrella

Zara Sassoon uses a hat box as a rain shield

Watch the hat! Designer Amanda Wakeley whips out an umbrella, left, and Zara Sassoon uses a hat box as a rain shield 

Cheers to them! A group of well-dressed racegoers toast to the start of a fun day with a picnic near Ascot Racecourse

Cheers to them! A group of well-dressed racegoers toast to the start of a fun day with a picnic near Ascot Racecourse

The ultimate accessory! Umbrellas were needed to help keep racegoers dry as they made their Royal Ascot entrance

This fabulous woman made an entrance in orange

The ultimate accessory! Umbrellas were needed to help keep racegoers dry as they made their Royal Ascot entrance

It won't rain on their parade! Extra umbrellas were needed inside Ascot Racecourse but the spirits were still high

It won’t rain on their parade! Extra umbrellas were needed inside Ascot Racecourse but the spirits were still high

Royal Ascot is a much a social occasion as a sporting event and racegoers take the opportunity to turn on the style, from chic hats and summer dresses to sharp suits. 

Visitors to the high-profile racing event this year also have a wider choice of garb, as organisers say they are free to choose a gender dress code they ‘feel most comfortable’ with.

Under the changes, women will be allowed to dress like men and vice versa – as long as they stick to the rules.

This year’s Royal Enclosure dress code says ‘Gentleman’ must wear black or grey morning dress with a waist coat and tie. 

Picnic in the rain: Racegoers didn't let a spot of damp weather put an end to their pre-Royal Ascot picnic

Picnic in the rain: Racegoers didn’t let a spot of damp weather put an end to their pre-Royal Ascot picnic

Ominous skies: Racegoers cross the course beneath cloudy grey skies

And take out umbrellas once inside

Ominous skies: Racegoers cross the course beneath cloudy grey skies, left, and take out umbrellas once inside, right

Time for a refreshment! Umbrellas in hand, revellers sat down to enjoyed a chilled drink inside the racecourse

Time for a refreshment! Umbrellas in hand, revellers sat down to enjoyed a chilled drink inside the racecourse

Girls' day out! Tangerine dresses were the order of the day for this gaggle of glamorous women at Royal Ascot

Girls’ day out! Tangerine dresses were the order of the day for this gaggle of glamorous women at Royal Ascot

Strike a pose! Australian model Georgia Fowler made sure to give the photographer different angles as she arrived

The brunette beauty wore a blush pink dress and mint bag

Strike a pose! Australian model Georgia Fowler made sure to give the photographer different angles as she arrived 

Great British summertime! A tablecloth, wine and silver ice bucket made this Royal Ascot picnic a very civilised affair

Great British summertime! A tablecloth, wine and silver ice bucket made this Royal Ascot picnic a very civilised affair

Turning heads: Ines Hernandez

And Rebecca Johnson were among the standout arrivals at Royal Ascot

Turning heads: Ines Hernandez, left, and Rebecca Johnson, right, were among the standout arrivals at Royal Ascot

Pushing the boundaries: One woman dons a suit, left, following the relaxing of the Royal Ascot dress code this year

Pushing the boundaries: One woman dons a suit, left, following the relaxing of the Royal Ascot dress code this year

Can you ever have too many hats? Jodie Kidd makes a statement with a teetering tower of top hats at Royal Ascot

Jodie Kidd arriving at Royal Ascot today

Can you ever have too many hats? Jodie Kidd makes a statement with a teetering tower of top hats at Royal Ascot 

‘Ladies’ are not allowed to wear strapless and off-the-shoulder dresses, while mid-riffs have to be covered and fascinators are also banned. 

In previous years, it has insisted attendees cover their midriffs and avoid wearing fascinators and that still stands.

While in previous years there has been no official style guide for the Windsor Enclosure, except to dress for a formal occasion, now female attendees are requested to wear fascinators, like those in the rest of the enclosures.

Royal Ascot has put in place strict dress codes since the early 19th century .

The race gathering’s famously strict clothing rules hark back to sartorial trailblazer Beau Brummell, who dictated the dress for men in the Royal Enclosure at the turn of the 19th century and was fond of cleaning his shoes with champagne.

Old fashioned glamour: A group of women in orange dresses strike a pose on their way into Royal Ascot

Old fashioned glamour: A group of women in orange dresses strike a pose on their way into Royal Ascot

Retro glamour: A wicker Fortnum & Mason hamper completed the look for this stylish couple ready for a day at the races

Retro glamour: A wicker Fortnum & Mason hamper completed the look for this stylish couple ready for a day at the races

Top hats and tails: Men weren't left behind in the fashion stakes and pulled out their very best clothes for the occasion

A man walks into the enclosure hand-in-hand with a smartly-dressed boy

Top hats and tails: Men weren’t left behind in the fashion stakes and pulled out their very best clothes for the occasion

Perfectly polished: The well-turned out Royal Ascot staff pose for a photo before festivities get into full swing at the course

Perfectly polished: The well-turned out Royal Ascot staff pose for a photo before festivities get into full swing at the course 

Flower power! Ines Hernandez from the Dominican Republic

Victoria Muir

Flower power! Ines Hernandez from the Dominican Republic, left, and Victoria Muir, right, plump for floral hats 

Ready for the fun! Racegoers beamed as they arrived at Royal Ascot for the start of the five-day race meet today

Ready for the fun! Racegoers beamed as they arrived at Royal Ascot for the start of the five-day race meet today

Flora MacDonald Johnston

Fun and fabulous: Racegoer Edite Ligere from London plumped for an impressive feathered hat for her Royal Ascot outing

Fun and fabulous: Journalist Flora MacDonald Johnston, left, and Edite Ligere show off extraordinary hats at Royal Ascot

Final touch-ups: A racegoer helps secure her friend's navy fascinator as the pair kick off a day of fun at Royal Ascot

Final touch-ups: A racegoer helps secure her friend’s navy fascinator as the pair kick off a day of fun at Royal Ascot

Getting excited! Elegant racegoers arrive by train

Before making their way on foot to Ascot Racecourse

Getting excited! Elegant racegoers arrive by train, left, before making their way on foot to Ascot Racecourse, right

Quick change! Looking to save their feet, many women arrive in flats before swapping into heels on arrival, pictured

Quick change! Looking to save their feet, many women arrive in flats before swapping into heels on arrival, pictured

On their way! Racegoers snap a picture en route to the courseOn their way! Racegoers snap a picture en route to the course

Two friends arrive in co-ordinating outfits

On their way! Racegoers snap a picture en route to the course, left, while two friends arrive in co-ordinating outfits, right

Time for tea! Racegoers enjoy a carpark picnic before heading in to start the fun inside Ascot Racecourse this morning

Time for tea! Racegoers enjoy a carpark picnic before heading in to start the fun inside Ascot Racecourse this morning 

Capturing the moment! Women pose for selfies

And arrive arm-in-arm for the first day of Royal Ascot this morning

Capturing the moment! Women pose for selfies, left, and arrive arm-in-arm for the first day of Royal Ascot this morning

Quiet moment: A well-dressed gentleman offers a flash of his Union Jack socks as he reads the newspaper in the carpark

Quiet moment: A well-dressed gentleman offers a flash of his Union Jack socks as he reads the newspaper in the carpark

Bubbles for two: With two glasses and a bottle on hand, this couple enjoy a civilised drink before heading into the racecourse

Bubbles for two: With two glasses and a bottle on hand, this couple enjoy a civilised drink before heading into the racecourse 

Well prepared: A picnic table, chairs and several cool boxes are laid out as one group get ready for Royal Ascot

Well prepared: A picnic table, chairs and several cool boxes are laid out as one group get ready for Royal Ascot

Making an entrance! A carriage is the traditional way to arrive for a day at the races - and shows no signs of going out of style

Making an entrance! A carriage is the traditional way to arrive for a day at the races – and shows no signs of going out of style

Off they trot! A group elected to arrive by horse-drawn carriage on the first day of Royal Ascot this morning

Off they trot! A group elected to arrive by horse-drawn carriage on the first day of Royal Ascot this morning

Great British past-time: Polite racegoers wait in line in their Ascot finery as they arrive at the Berkshire racecourse today

Great British past-time: Polite racegoers wait in line in their Ascot finery as they arrive at the Berkshire racecourse today

Guess where they’re going! Royal Ascot racegoers bring a splash of colour to London’s Waterloo station 

Two years ago, the event broke with convention by allowing racegoers to wear jumpsuits in the Royal Enclosure for the first time.

Organisers also announced they would try to draw in a new breed of visitors by putting on a ‘party atmosphere’ and a ‘more vibrant feel’. 

Meanwhile, no changes have been made to rules for ‘Gentlemen’.

Juliet Slot, commercial director of Ascot, said: ‘Fashion and style are an important part of the Royal Ascot experience for all of our customers.’

The boys have arrived! Well-dressed gents clutching an edition of Racing Post arrive ready for the day at Royal Ascot

The boys have arrived! Well-dressed gents clutching an edition of Racing Post arrive ready for the day at Royal Ascot

Security checks: Searches are carried out at the entrance to the Queen Anne Enclosure at Ascot Racecourse this morning

Security checks: Searches are carried out at the entrance to the Queen Anne Enclosure at Ascot Racecourse this morning

Bag checks: Security checks were in place for all racegoers as they made their way into the grounds this morning

Bag checks: Security checks were in place for all racegoers as they made their way into the grounds this morning

On alert: A security officer and her sniffer dog move through the crowds at the entrance to Ascot Racecourse this morning

On alert: A security officer and her sniffer dog move through the crowds at the entrance to Ascot Racecourse this morning

Ready to go! Impeccably dressed stewards are briefed as they prepare for the first day of Royal Ascot this morning

Ready to go! Impeccably dressed stewards are briefed as they prepare for the first day of Royal Ascot this morning

Safety checks: Police officers with sniffer dogs patrolled the grounds ahead of the arrival of racegoers at Royal Ascot

Safety checks: Police officers with sniffer dogs patrolled the grounds ahead of the arrival of racegoers at Royal Ascot

Patrol: Teams of police officers and sniffer dogs were dispatched to secure the racecourse ahead of the festival today

Patrol: Teams of police officers and sniffer dogs were dispatched to secure the racecourse ahead of the festival today 

Calm before the storm: The entrance to the Ascot Racecourse, where guest bag searches will take place during the day

Calm before the storm: The entrance to the Ascot Racecourse, where guest bag searches will take place during the day

Before the excitement: The beautiful parade ring at Ascot Racecourse ahead of the start of Royal Ascot today

Before the excitement: The beautiful parade ring at Ascot Racecourse ahead of the start of Royal Ascot today

How To Dress Well For Ascot  

Royal Enclosure 

Dresses and skirts should fall above the knee or longer 

Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater

Jumpsuits are welcome, but should fall below the knee

Trouser suits welcome, but should be full length and of matching colour

Headpieces must have a solid base of four inches or more

Queen Anne Enclosure

Strapless dresses or tops are not permitted

A hat, headpiece or fascinator should be worn at all times

Trouser suits must be full length, jumpsuits should fall below the knee, shorts are not permitted

Village Enclosure

One shoulder dresses, strapless tops and bardot are nor permitted 

A hat, headpiece or fascinator must be worn at all times 

Trouser suits are welcome, they should be of full length and matching colour 

Jumpsuits are permitted but should be below the knee  

Windsor Enclosure 

Dress for a formal occasion, with a hat or fascinator

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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