What is Royal Ascot?
Royal Ascot is a five-day Flat racing meeting staged annually in June at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, South East England. Situated approximately six miles from Windsor Castle, Ascot Racecourse has long been associated with the British Royal Family. Every day of the Royal Meeting, from Tuesday to Saturday, at two o’clock sharp, the Royal Procession, headed by Her Majesty The Queen, arrives at the Royal Gates and makes its way up the straight mile course to the Royal Enclosure.
In 2020, Royal Ascot took place behind closed doors and, for the first time in her 68-year reign, the Queen did not attend. The schedule was expanded to include 36 races, six more than a ‘normal’ year, but still included eight of the 32 Group One races staged annually in Britain. The highlight was, as usual, the historic Gold Cup, first run in 1807 in the presence of King George III and Queen Charlotte. Under normal circumstances, Royal Ascot offers in excess of £8 million in total prize money, making it the most valuable race meeting in the country. Indeed, while only around 500 jockeys, trainers and support were allowed entry to the racecourse in 2020, the usual attendance is around 300,000 over the five days, making Royal Ascot one of the highlights of the British sporting and social calendar.