Fresh from her 90th birthday celebrations in London, the Queen headed to Berkshire on Tuesday (Jun. 14) to officially kick off Royal Ascot. Dressed in a bright mustard yellow ensemble, the monarch brought a much needed dose of sunshine to the annual racing event, as rain threatened to wash out festivities.
Joined by her husband Prince Philip, son Prince Andrew and grandson Prince Harry, Her Majesty waved to onlookers as she arrived to the grandstand in a horse-drawn carriage. Other royals in attendance included Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Anne.
The Royal Family are expected to attend numerous events during the five day equestrian event. And even though Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Zara Tindall, are regulars in the royal box, no one in the family loves Royal Ascot more than the Queen. A day at the races is hardly work for the monarch as it blends her duty and passion better than any other event in her busy calendar.
This year's Gold Cup has even been renamed in the Queen's honour. The racing fan took note of this kind gesture in a personal foreward she wrote in the official programme. "I have been deeply touched by the kind birthday wishes I have received this year and to have this milestone commemorated in the title of Royal Ascot's centrepiece race, The Gold Cup," said the Queen, adding that her most cherished memories of Ascot are those she has shared with her family.
The Queen is also part of an exclusive club of horse owners who have seen their animals race to victory multiple times. She has owned 21 winners, and takes a close personal interest in the running of the racecourse's annual program. Her horse Dartmouth will run in a race on Thursday.
One royal who has yet to experience the thrills of Ascot is the Duchess of Cambridge. The mother of two has never attended the event, spiking speculation that 2016 might see her debut.