The Queen shares special message for Royal Ascot fans as the event goes virtual

By Heather Cichowski

Royal Ascot is taking place behind closed doors this year, with fans watching it virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the Queen might not be able to attend the racing event like she typically does, Her Majesty has continued with the tradition of writing the introduction in the Royal Ascot 2020 racecards.

Organizers shared her heartfelt message to fans, participants and attendees on Twitter. In her remarks, the 94-year-old monarch said this year's event is "unique," given COVID-19 and its isolation and social distancing measures.

"I send my best wishes to the thousands of racing professionals and enthusiasts who will join me in celebrating this year's Royal Ascot," the note began.

"In these challenging times, we are once again delighted to welcome the best horses and jockeys from across the world and pay tribute to those who have helped make this race meeting possible.

"This year Ascot will feel different for many, as it is so often a chance for friends, families and colleagues to gather together and enjoy a shared passion.

"I am sure however, that with the valiant efforts of the organisers, owners, trainers and stable staff, it will remain one of Britain's finest sporting occasions and a highlight of the racing calendar."

She concluded, "To everyone attending Royal Ascot, in person or virtually, I hope you have a most enjoyable and unique week of racing." It was signed "Elizabeth."

MORE: Zara and Mike Tindall share their amazing Royal Ascot outfits from home

As organizers pointed out, Her Majesty normally writes the racecards for Royal Ascot. This year's full racecard can be seen online. It details race notices, changes due to COVID-19 as well as a rundown of the races.

The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret greet trainer Noel Murless in the unsaddling enclosure at Royal Ascot in July 1955. Photo: © Lee/Central Press/Getty Images

Royal Ascot 2020, which runs from June 16 to June 20, is no doubt a sentimental event this year for the Queen. It is the first time in her 68-year reign that she will not be attending the annual horse racing event. Ascot is one of the highlights of the year for the Royal Family and other attendees.

Other royals are adjusting to the new digital format. For example, Zara and Mike Tindall took to social media on June 16, to show off their elegant Royal Ascot at Home style. And many other fellow "attendees" are following suit by dressing up and supporting #StyledWithThanks, which sees donations going to four frontline charities.

The Queen was last seen on June 13 for Trooping the Colour. The event, which is the monarch's official birthday celebration, also took place in a different format because of the coronavirus. A scaled-down, socially distanced ceremony was held in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle.

Her Majesty taking in Trooping the Colour at Windsor Castle on June 13. Photo: © Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The monarch and Prince Philip have been isolating in Windsor since March. Trooping the Colour typically takes place at Buckingham Palace and is usually attended by many royals.

Like Royal Ascot, it is one of the events to which the Royal Family and royals fans can look forward.

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