Royal Ascot 2018

A Royal Thread

The 18th century was good for horseracing

The racehorse itself - the English Thoroughbred - was crafted from blending Arabian stallions with English “running horses”. The governing Jockey Club emerged. Richard Tattersall started selling horses at Hyde Park Corner. The first Derby was run. Weatherbys began and James Weatherby was appointed Secretary to The Jockey Club in 1770.

Much earlier, horses first raced at Ascot. Queen Anne declared it perfect, “for horses to gallop at full stretch,”and that first day set the tone:

“The Queen, with a brilliant suite, drove from Windsor Castle to Ascot Common on 11th August 1711 to inaugurate Ascot Races”.

A similar show is certain when Elizabeth II arrives on 19th June 2018.

The 10 monarchs separating Elizabeth and Anne varied in their passion for the Turf.

Georges I and II showed little interest.

George III built the first permanent stand at Ascot in 1793 and in 1813 Ascot Heath was put into Crown ownership in perpetuity, “as a Racecourse for public use at all times”.George IV made Ascot a fashion focus, and in 1825 introduced the Royal Procession, cheered as now, “by the mob”.

Poor William IV found horseracing dull, and worse, at Ascot in June 1832, a stone was lobbed at his head by a one-legged assailant.

Queen Victoria, enjoyed Ascot, and in her June 1838 diary used the term “much amused” about her day at the
races. The Royal Enclosure was created in 1845 so that Her Majesty “may inspect the horses without being annoyed by the pushing of the mob”.

Her son, Edward VII, was a Racing obsessive. Victoria wryly remarked that if Racing made him happy, it was “a better excitement than others”. He made Royal Enclosure membership ferociously exclusive, forbidding those “not presented at Court”.

George VI was a Racing fan, and imbued his daughter Elizabeth with lifelong passion for the sport.
Her Majesty has never missed a day of Royal Ascot since her Coronation.

Not even in 2017, when dullard politicians contrived a clash between State Opening of Parliament and Second day of Royal Ascot. Famously, she made both.

She has owned 24 Royal Ascot winners.

Framed by two Racing Queens, a royal thread runs through three centuries of The Sport of Kings at Ascot.

Each day of this year’s Royal Meeting will start with the traditional Royal Procession, when Her Majesty the Queen and accompanying Members of the Royal Family arrive at the racecourse from Windsor Castle on the stroke of 2.00 p.m. in horse-drawn landaus.



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