High Society, Curtsies and Glamorous Hats – Royal Ascot is back

Royal Ascot Hats (Image via Royal Ascot)

SuperStylist and Etiquette Coach Kate gives us an insight into the secret rules of the prestigious annual social event:

Although Ascot in the UK hosts 26 days of racing a year, it is only the five-day meeting in June that is termed ‘Royal Ascot’.

That’s because before the racing begins, the royal party rides through the gates of Windsor Great Park in open carriages through cheering crowds to the Royal Enclosure.

Be on your guard, however! These 5 special days are a gold mine or rules and etiquette regulations.

Here’s what you need to know in order to pass as a lady on Ladies’ Day:


– Call it ‘horse racing’, whatever you do. It’s just ‘racing’ – why on earth would you race anything else? Cars, yachts, motorbikes or (God forbid!) dogs, is simply not done.

– Dress incorrectly. Dress for the Royal Enclosure is Morning Dress, which is not to be termed ‘Morning Suit’. Not to be worn by the ladies are: spaghetti straps, halter necks, off-the-shoulder outfits or exposed midriffs.

– Don’t wear a fascinator. Royal Ascot is synonymous with hats: top hats for the men, and often elaborate hats for the women. The rules have changed in the last two years, and those fascinating fascinators are out!

Glamorous Hats


– Bring your man to Ladies’ Day. Each year Thursday is Ladies’ Day, although this is a misnomer, as men are also allowed entry.

– Find a good parking spot. You will be judged socially by it: Number 1 Car Park is arguably the best, and most certainly the smartest place for your luxury picnic. Number 7 Car Park is reserved for Royal Enclosure members only, so also a perfect choice if you are lucky enough to be invited.

– Place a bet by informing the staff. You simply inform a functionary which horse you ‘fancy’ and tell him/her to find you the best odds and place your bet.

Couldn’t be easier? Enjoy!

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